Monday, August 2, 2010

Favourite Author Focus: Francesca Lia Block

Your whole life you can be told something is wrong and so you believe it. Why should you question it? But then slowly seeds are planted inside of you, one by one, by a touch or a look or a day skateboarding in a park, and they start to burst out of old hulls shells and they start to sprout. And pretty soon there are so many of them. They are named Love and Trust and Kindness and Joy and Desire and Wonder and Spirit and Soulmate. They grow into a garden so dense and thick that it starts to invade your brain where the old things you were once told are dying.

I never really “grew out of” fairy tales, I still love them. I love the real ones, Hans Christian Andersen, Grimm, et al, but I admit to loving the Disney-fied versions too. I love happy endings and everything falling perfectly into place. It’s in such contrast to real life and that is a significant part of why I loved stories that I could get lost in while I was growing up. I could forget about other scary things like surgery and pain (in the past, present or future) and live someone else’s life for a while. My love for fairy tales is primarily what brings me to write about the beautiful stories of Francesca Lia Block.

Magic can be found in stolen moments.

I started reading Francesca Lia Block in 2001 after reading her name being mentioned by some people on a band’s message board. I may have been a little ‘old’ at 16 to start reading her books, but I have never been bothered by reading books intended for audiences older or younger than myself: as long as they are well-written. It’s probably why I was reading George Orwell's 1984 at age 12, but also read Lauren Oliver's amazing Before I Fall at age 25. Francesca Lia Block’s books were (and are) virtually impossible to find in Australia, so I ordered The Rose and the Beast from Amazon because the subtitle, “Fairy Tales Retold” intrigued me. To this day, I consider this to be my favourite book of hers partly because it was the first I read and partly because it is literally fairy tales retold, which naturally I loved.

Sometimes you fall, spinning through space, grasping for the things that keep you here. Sometimes you catch them. Sometimes you don't. Sometimes they catch you.

Through The Rose and the Beast, I fell in love with Francesca Lia Block’s incredible use of language. It is fluid like poetry and the imagery is stunning. I went on to read the Weetzie Bat books (now in a collection called Dangerous Angels) within a month or so and she became one of my top five favourite authors of all time. The way she writes about love, family, sexuality, life, happiness, depression, self-injury, suicide, anything and everything, is done in such an original and creative way that I am yet to come across another author like her. I also admit to adoring the cover art of her books; this a significant part of what drew me in to want to know more about this author and her stories.

You make me feel like I have wings when you touch me.

I think Francesca Lia Block is an important author for teenage girls; I think it’s an incredible shame that her books are not really known here. I really believe that reading her books earlier in my teenage years would have helped me cope with some of the things I went through, largely due to the significant topics she covers in her books without being too opinionated. The stories she creates are, simply, beautiful.

Love is a dangerous angel.


  1. Ohhh I haven't heard of her. Shame on me. This is a great post :)

  2. Did you like the link I posted to your review? Hahaha. <3

  3. Haven't heard of this author before...but you're never too old for fairy tales ;-)

    btw I’ve given you an award. You can collect it here!

  4. Oh wow, thank you so much! That is really lovely of you :)

  5. This post has made me regret selling my Francesca Lia Block books! I still have Dangerous Angels, at least.