Where were the kisses Weetzie Bat wondered. And so begins a magical journey of discovery. As she turns forty and the relationship with her secret-agent lover-man Max falls apart, Weetzie packs up her lime green and bright orange bikini, orange suede sneakers, and Pucci tunic, jumps in her '65 mint green Thunderbird, and leaves. Weetzie finds herself at the enchanted pink hotel in sparkling Los Angeles, where she once shied away from a kiss that may have led her to the love of her life. Now she returns, perhaps in search of her lost passion, and meets an otherworldy cast of characters, among them a blue-skinned receptionist, an invisible cleaning lady, a seductive fawn, and a sushi-eating mermaid who gives her a kiss that sets the wheel of self-discovery in motion.
Readers who remember Weetzie Bat and My Secret Agent Lover Man's first kiss (a "kiss about apple pie a la mode with the vanilla creaminess melting in the pie heat") from their YA incarnation may be crushed to learn that they've shared no kisses since September 11, 2001. My Secret Agent Lover Man, though Weetzie's long-time lover, "was now just Max"; Weetzie, whom readers first met in 1989's Weetzie Bat, is now 40. As the novel opens, Weetzie packs a small bag and checks herself into a pink hotel in L.A., "seeking the kiss she had lost." There Weetzie embarks on a quest of sorts. She meets Shelley, whose kiss reveals that she is a mermaid and is the first of the title's necklace of kisses. Each kiss injects a bit more enchantment into Weetzie's life. Block carefully construes the kisses as complete in and of themselves. Weetzie never betrays Max; this is a novel of healing. Weetzie's many fans will most appreciate this reunion with the heroine and her Secret Agent Lover Man, Dirk and Duck and many more. But those just meeting Block's whimsical entourage and sparkling prose will also appreciate the book's message: that magic can be found in stolen moments and, in Dirk's words, though "love is a dangerous angel," it's well worth the risk. (Aug.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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August 08, 2006
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Excerpt from Necklace of Kisses by Francesca Lia Block
Where were the kisses? Weetzie Bat wondered.
Even after almost twenty years, Weetzie and her secret agent lover man still threw each other against walls, climbed up each other's bodies like ladders, and attacked each other's mouths as if they were performing resuscitation. The kisses had been earthquakes, shattering every glass object in a room. They had been thunderstorms, wiping out electricity so that candles had to be lit; then, those kisses extinguished the candle flames. They had been rainstorms on the driest, thirstiest desert days, causing camellias, hydrangeas, agapanthus, and azaleas to bloom in the garden. Those kisses, Weetzie remembered -- they had been explosions.
Now there were no kisses at all.
Weetzie dressed in a pair of cropped, zippered, pale orange pants, a silver-studded black belt, a pair of high-heeled ankle-strap sandals, a black silk-and-lace camisole, a white satin trench, a pink Hello Kitty watch, and a pair of oversized rimless pink glasses with her name written in rhinestones on the lens. Then, carefully, thoughtfully, one by one, Weetzie took out of her closet:
a lime green, pink, and orange kimono-print string bikini she had made herself
two fresh, unopened packs of men's extra-small white tank tops from the surplus store
new-fallen-snowy-white Levi's 501 jeans
men's black silk gabardine trousers from the Salvation Army, tailored to fit
a pair of orange suede old-school trainers with white stripes
orange-leather, silver-studded slides
some bikini underwear and bras in black, white, pink, lime green, and orange
a pink-and-green Pucci tunic from her best friend Dirk's Grandma Fifi
Weetzie put everything into a small white suitcase covered with pink roses and fastened with gold hardware. It was very important that everything was just right -- fabulous, actually. She'd read an article in a fashion magazine, "Aceness at Any Age," and realized that she had already zipped through her twenties and thirties -- only ten short years each -- wearing Salvation Army finery mixed with her own wacky creations. She liked the jacket made of stuffed-animal pelts and the necklace of plastic baby dolls, but at forty she wasn't sure that either looked particularly ace. And there was less and less time left to be fabulous now.
Why was fabulousness important? The world was a scary, sad place and adornment was one of the only ways she knew to make herself and the people around her forget their troubles. That was why she had opened her store almost five years ago. Everyone who entered the little square white house with miniature Corinthian columns, cherub statues, and French windows seemed to leave carrying armloads of newly handmade and spruced-up recycled vintage clothing, humming sixties girl-group songs, seventies glam and punk, eighties New Wave one-hit wonders, or nineties grunge, doing silly dances, and not caring what anyone thought.
Weetzie loved the old dresses she found and sold, because they had their own secret histories. She always wondered where, when, and how they had been worn. What they had seen. Old dresses were like old ladies. Except that the Pucci tunic, Emilia, still shone like a young girl.
In her white purse, Weetzie put her tiny pink Hello Kitty wallet, her huge black sunglasses case, a toothbrush, toothpaste and floss, deodorant, a bottle of jasmine-and-gardenia perfume, a tube of pink lipstick, a heart-shaped powder compact, travel-size bottles of sunscreen, moisturizer, hair gel, and shaving cream, a razor, a comb, and her cell phone. She smacked on some pink lip gloss and dumped that in, too. Then she went to look at Max, who was asleep with a newspaper covering his face.