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Baby Be-Bop [Paperback]

Francesca Lia Block , David Diaz
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Book Description

May 1 1997 Weetzie Bat Books

Everyone has a story to tell ...

Dirk McDonald's life was almost perfect. He lived with this grandmother, Fifi, in a beautiful gingerbread cottage in Hollywood. He had the beach, and his surfboard, and Fifi's red-and-white 1955 Pontiac convertible.

But Dirk wasn't happy. Inside, he was harboring a deep, dark secret. And he was afraid that if he admitted it to anyone - even Fifi - he would never be accepted again.

Then one night, Dirk's magic lamp came to life. Suddenly, all the stories from Dirk's past came flowing out of it. On that night, his life changed forever. At last, Dirk learned who he really was, and that any love that is love is right.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Embroidering her prose with lushly romantic imagery, Block returns to the world of Weetzie Bat for this keenly felt story. A prequel of sorts to Weetzie Bat, the novel opens while Weetzie's best friend Dirk is still a child, lying on his mat at naptime. "Dirk had known it since he could remember"-known, that is, that he is gay. Tenderly raised by Grandma Fifi, famous for her pastries and her 1955 Pontiac convertible, Dirk struggles with love and fear: "He wanted to be strong and to love someone who was strong; he wanted to meet any gaze, to laugh under the brightest sunlight and never hide." After his first heartbreak, with his closest friend (who cannot accept Dirk's love nor his own for Dirk), Dirk battles more fiercely for identity; beaten up by a gang of punks, he slumps into semiconsciousness and is visited by his ancestors, each telling a haunting, lyrical tale of love, faith and self-acceptance. What might seem didactic from lesser writers becomes a gleaming gift from Block. Her extravagantly imaginative settings and finely honed perspectives remind the reader that there is magic everywhere. Ages 12-up.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Grade 10 Up?A prequel to the popular books about Weetzie Bat and her circle of quirky friends and relatives. This novel is about her best pal, Dirk, in his pre-Weetzie days. He's in high school (in L.A., of course), living with Grandma Fifi and struggling with how to come out to his best friend and soulmate. Although Dirk never does tell Pup he's gay, Pup feels the sexual tension between them: "'I love you, Dirk,' Pup said. 'But I can't handle it.'" In reaction, Dirk takes to slam dancing in punk joints. When a gang of gay bashers beats him up, he drags himself home and passes out. While he's unconscious, long-dead relatives he's never known come to him in what seem to be dreams; when he wakes in the hospital, he realizes that his grandmother has been telling him stories. Out of her comforting words about how others in his family have insisted on being themselves, his battered brain fashions hopeful hallucinations, including one of his future lover. His visions assure him that "There was love waiting; love would come." Block writes distinctively and convincingly, interweaving the hallucination scenes smoothly. She makes the power of stories felt?and here, more purposefully than ever before, she weaves a safety net of words for readers longing to feel at home with themselves. Gay teens in particular need this book. All fans of the series will relish meeting nice-guy Dirk as the tender Baby Be-Bop.?Claudia Morrow, Berkeley Public Library, CA
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Good plot...if only the writing were better. June 9 2003
By A Customer
Format:School & Library Binding
The book is about a boy coming to terms with the fact that he is gay. Or rather, that he wishes the world could come to terms with this. Fair enough. But is it too much to ask that a book be grammatically correct and that syntax and diction make sense? Yes, I can understand that dealing with a "different" sexual orientation in a world that is mostly intolerant and abusive is hard, and that there are worse sins than choppy incoherent sentences. And please do both of us (you and me) a favor and do not accuse me of being homophobic, because I am not. Trust me, I am no more merciful than this with heterosexual protagonists.
There are just plain too many teenager-aimed books nowadays that have this sort of choppy, half-conscious, half-delirious, not quite stream of consciousness style (if you can call it that) of writing. It's been done so often, starting from years ago, that it is no longer shocking, surprising, dynamic, breathtaking, etc. It's just bad writing. I'll have to disagree with any of the reviews on this page that say that Block's writing is beautiful imagery or prose, etc. It's not.
There are a great many coming-of-age books that deal with people and sexuality that actually have intelligence and heart, and still manage to have good grammar and sentences that flow logically from one to the next. Read one of those instead.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't get better than this... March 29 2003
By Emma
I love everything Francesca Lia Block has written (except maybe The Hanged Man), but this one has to be my favorite. I could read it forever. Aboslutely heartbreaking and soul-wrenching. Dirk and Duck were my favorites in the Weetzie Bat series, and this was the story I always wanted to hear, exactly the way and wanted to hear it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, by far one of her most touching April 25 2002
By A Customer
Format:School & Library Binding
this is by far my favorite FLB book, i think she captures the feelings of isolation and loneliness that comes with coming out and coming to terms with homosexuality so well and in her beautiful poetic prose style. Great book to read when your going through a hard time and want to know that love and acceptance is out there.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Sort-of weird... sort-of interesting.... June 25 2001
By Cassy
I thought this book was going to be a love story... it's not! I guess that kind of disappointed me. The first half is about Dirk growing up, some of it's really sad, it made me cry. The second half of the book, where "ghosts of Dirk's ancestors, including the mother and father he never knew, share tales of his past, present, and future through magical images, setting him free to know that true love in any form is right" is really confusing. The characters have a lot of hallucinations which I found to be really weird, and the simple message is kind-of hard to grasp through the writing. The 12 and up age recommendation for the book is crazy, I would say at least ages 15 and up. The writing is filled with flowery descriptions, but at the same time I feel like she could have showed more instead of telling the story. And I feel like the story isn't finished.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Curious Venture June 6 2001
In Block's latest venture, she explores the very core of human sexuality through the story of the embracable Dirk. His stunning pride and unshatterable spirit propel him through his confrontation of his homosexual self. Dirk is an amazing character and captures the reader's heart immeadiatly. His heartbreaking loss of his love interest, Pup, his turn to a "punk" nature and his suicide attempt guide the audience through a startlingly beautiful sureal journey as Dirk's ancestors come to his aid to help him accept who he is. The frightening veins of fantasy collide with stark (in)humanity through his confrontations with homophobics, hate and the neo-nazi. This is possibly Block's most triumphant work, encasing skillful characterization artfully blended with a lightspeed plot. For any fanatics of the highly reccommended Baby Be Bop, try Flemming's Mind's Eye.
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