Tuesday, January 27, 2009

how to (un)cage a girl by francesca lia block

I know she's not everyone's cup of tea, but I am fond of Francesca Lia Block. My love for Weetzie Bat goes far back and runs deep. I haven't read all of her books, but I do get excited when I see that she has a new one out.

how to (un)cage a girl is not a novel but a collection of poems. Reviews have mentioned that there are poems about adult life that may not connect with teen readers. While there are poems about divorce, infertility, marriage infidelity and children (narrated with an adult voice), their themes of rejection, rebirth, and empowerment may bridge the age divide. The success will depend on the reader connecting with (or tolerating) FLB's emotionally raw, magic realism-y style. Established fans will be in familiar territory. New readers may stall over these poems, but will hopefully continue on, curious as to what else lies ahead.

The book jacket contains this description, "It is a call to embrace the girl within, to heal her and set her free." This is prime FLB stomping ground, her YA calling card, her mission. We all need reminders to accept our beautiful selves just as we are and this volume of poetry affirms that over and over again. Sometimes fierce, sometimes heartbreaking, but always pure Francesca Lia Block.
My 2 favorite poems are "vampire in the city of lost" and "valentina screma"
favorite lines form the latter:
torn black jeans and a joey ramone t-shirt
her more casual moments
valentina also comes with a tiny silver pistol
that shoots red glitter hearts
like a glam goth cupidette

A final note: the cover image was submitted by a fan on her website.

joanna cotler books September 2008

author website

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