Thursday, June 17, 2010
I finished Pretty Dead by Francesca Lia Block on 6/6/2010. I was looking forward to reading this book as Block has been one of my favorite authors for years. Her books Violet and Claire and The Hanged Man left me astounded and I immediately fell in love with her imagery. Her insight into the characters she creates always made me feel as I knew each one personally- I had seen into their deepest, darkest secrets. I was hoping Pretty Dead would have the same depth of character and vibrant imagery that I had first come to expect from Block's work.
As predicted, Pretty Dead was a very short read- a few hours at best. The story revolves around a beautiful girl named Charlotte who loses her twin brother and is so devastated by that loss that she chooses to become a vampire in an attempt to feel less. Although she now has immortality as well as beauty and wealth, she is never the same again and is always searching to fill the void left by her brother's death. Her decision to live forever plagues her as she feels no connection to the world around her... Until one day when she finally befriends a girl named Emily. Everything is fine and dandy until Emily dies too (ostensibly a suicide), leaving her alone once again. The story unfolds from there, and Amazon actually reveals more about it if you're curious but I won't blow it all (I feel like they give a lot away)... Suffice it to say that there are a few twists and turns.
The narrative of the story does read much like poetry, which is typical Block and one of the things I appreciate about her so much. The characters are generally well developed, although I didn't find them to be quite as "round" as I had hoped and found some of the characters in her other novels to be... But the biggest fault I found with this novel was that the plot itself sort of fell flat. It was somewhat predictable overall and to me, definitely not one of her best. That's not to say I didn't enjoy reading it; I still did, and I think I would still recommend it to those tweenage girls out there looking to read something fun and cool and beautiful sounding. But for intensity's sake, and for those adults who enjoy delving into young adult fiction like myself, there is something lacking here. If I had a friend who was interested in Block, I would definitely point them in the direction of- again- my two favorites by her... The Hanged Man and Violet and Claire. Each of those books gave me goosebumps when I read them and have such intense imagery that some of it has stuck with me over the years.
Maybe I'm just getting old and slowly outgrowing this genre, and if I went back and re-read either of those books, they wouldn't feel as meaningful now as they did when I read them ten years ago. It's possible. Maybe I'll have to test that theory one of these days. Next up... Book 2! Which will either be Thai cooking, or The Woods. Not sure yet!! :)