I adore anything written by Francesca Lia Block, especially Weetzie’s lyrical world of art, magic and love. It was interesting to see Weetzie before she became a confident woman. In Pink Smog, she is a insecure 13-year-old named Louise whose father just left and her mother has a serious drinking problem. She is bullied by mean girls and her best friends have moved away. A mysterious family lives in her apartment complex. The boy is like an angel who saves Weetzie and claims to know her dad. The boy’s sister on the other hand is more of a demon with powers of voodoo with her creepy Barbie dolls. What does this family have to do with her dad’s abandonment and who is leaving her cryptic notes that lead her to her favorite places in L.A.? Again Block shares her love of Los Angeles and makes you feel like you are there. I get lost in the author’s mixture of words, magic and setting. One of my favorite moments is when Louise befriends other outcasts and creates her own group of true friends. Block does a beautiful job of sharing Weetzie’s insecure, scared side and shows us what Louise went through to become the strong character I love.
Some ideas for discussing with teens:
Compare 13-year-old Louise Bat with her older more magical character, Weetzie. If they are not familiar with the books, have them take turns reading out loud the blurb in the back.
Discuss “the magic of forgetting.”
Discuss “The senses can give you magical gifts, no matter what else is happening. Especially if you know how to use them selectively.”
Discuss the spell Anna put on her brother and Casey. Have you ever wanted to do something like that to someone? What would you have them do?
Talk about how Weetsie made her own group with Lily and Bobby.
How do mean girls bring other groups of people together?
How do our experiences as teens shape who we are as adults?