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Dangerous Angels: The Weetzie Bat Books (Weetzie Bat Books)by Francesca Lia Block
Reading Group Guide
1. The title of this book comes from a quote from Weetzie Bat: "'Love is a dangerous angel,' Dirk said." [p. 11] What does Dirk mean by this? How would you apply this quote to the four other Weetzie Bat books?
2. According to The New York Times, "Ms. Block writes about the real Los Angeles better than anyone since Raymond Chandler." Discuss some of the ways in which the author brings such vivid life to her setting.
3. Missing Angel Juan takes place in New York. Does this change of setting make the novel significantly different from the other Weetzie Bat books? This is also the only Weetzie Bat novel to be told in a first person voice, that of Witch Baby. In what ways does this change the experience of reading the book?
4. In such phrases as "lanky lizards," "duck hunt," and "slinkster cool," Block invents a "slanguage" for her characters. Can you find other examples? How do these compare with slang that you use in talking with your friends?
5. Francesca Lia Block is also a poet. How has this influenced her style as a fiction writer?
6. The author says that Witch Baby is the character with whom she most closely identifies. How would you describe Witch Baby as a person? How does she change over the course of the two books about her (Witch Baby and Missing Angel Juan)?
7. Witch Baby "outs" Duck to his mother [p.110]. Why do you think she does this? Is it wrong for her to do this?
8. Block's characters love not only one another but the natural world as well. How do they demonstrate this? How does the character of Coyote Dream Song embody this? How and why do the four magical animal "gifts" in Cherokee Bat and the Goat Guys change the band members?
9. At the end of Baby Be-Bop, Dirk thinks, "Our stories can set us free. When we set them free." [p. 478] Discuss what he means by this.
10. Magic is a regular part of all of the Weetzie Bat books. Genies, magic lamps, ghosts, tree spirits, and more are part of the characters' daily lives. Why do you think Block adds these magical elements to her stories? Are they enriched by this intermingling of the magical and the realistic? And what do you think Block meant when she told an interviewer, "Magic and love. That's the equation, finally. Out of love there emerges transformation and transcendence." Finally, how does she demonstrate this in her use of myth and fairy tales in her novels? (E.g., the Orpheus myth in Missing Angel Juan.)
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