Francesca Lia Block
"I don't know if I can do this myself," I said, meaning everything, meaning life.
"Yes you can. You can do anything you put your mind to. You just needed a little help through adolescence..."
Ever wonder how Weetzie Bat became so slam glam fabulous and in love with the world?
Well it turns out she wasn't always a life-loving city goddess, she was once just Louise Bat, a shy brunette who skated to school, got picked on, and never felt sure of herself.
But after her dad leaves home, Louise has to find a way to bring herself up to the top. There's a strange new family in her building, with a chic purple-eyed woman, a devilish girl who terrorizes Louise, and an Angel Boy who watches over her. At school the popular girls tease her and put gum in her hair. Her mother stays at the bottom of a bottle. And her dad is nowhere to be found.
"I realized that mean people had their purpose, too. They brought you together. They unified you. They made you find your friends."
Now Weetzie has to figure out how to navigate through it all and make herself happy even when everything is going wrong.
"I had this city and I decided I had better fall in love with her again because she wasn't going anywhere and neither was I.
The black pavement, dark to hide the dirt, sparkled with diamond chips in the burning sun."
This quick novel isn't the burning, flashing, life-changing manifesto of life and love and beauty that the original Weetzie Bat book(s) was, but it is still amazing in its own way.
We don't pop out of the box cool and glam like Weetzie Bat. And the more we struggle to "be like Weetzie", the more we tend to forget that. This story shows that even Weetzie didn't start out as Weetzie, she had to create herself. And we all start off as Louise, struggling to make sense of a world that is constantly against us. And seeing that transformation, from Louise to Weetzie, is a very simple but beautiful story that still manages to resonate with the reader who's been there; young and alone and unhappy.
"And smog is like sadness. It slips stealthily inside of you, with every breath, poisoning you before you realize it..."
Hell, at 23, it resonates perfectly with me now. That empty, alone feeling that crawls into your stomach and up into your brain and whispers and scratches at you, reminding you of all the things that keep going wrong. That will always go wrong.
But Pink Smog reminds us that sometimes we need to push that feeling away, find the beauty in our lives, and even reinvent ourselves to find who we really are, and what we really want.