Baby Be-Bop

[openbook booknumber=”0064471764″][rating:4/5]

In this novel set prior to Weetzie Bat, teenager Dirk McDonald, Weetzie’s best pal, has always known he is gay. What he doesn’t know is how to tell his grandma Fifi – until one night, when all the wild and powerful story-images from the past begin to flow out of a magic lamp.

With the three deaths that have happened recently, young people driven beyond the brink from being bullied due to their homosexuality, I was glad when I picked up the final book in the Dangerous Angels series. It gave me some hope.

Grandma Fifi had two friends named Martin and Merlin who were afraid in a way Dirk didn’t want to be. They were both very handsome and kind and always brought candies and toys when they came over for tea and Fifi’s famous pastries. But as much as Dirk liked Martin and Merlin he knew he was different from them. They talked in voices as pale and soft as the shirts they wore and they moved as gracefully as Fifi did. Their eyes were startled and sad. They had been hurt because of who they were. Dirk didn’t want to be hurt that way. He wanted to be strong and to love someone who was strong; he wanted to meet any gaze, to laugh under the brightest sunlight and never hide.

Baby Be-Bop is a prequel of sorts to Weetzie Bat and tells the story of Dirk McDonald throughout his childhood and entering into adolescence. This is a coming out story of the first order. Dirk realizes from a very young age that he is different and later realizes that he is gay and the ramifications that is going to have for himself and his family.

He agonizes over telling his grandmother Fifi who he worries it will hurt. He struggles with his feelings for his best friend Pup and worries about the effect it will have on their friendship. He gets into trouble, smokes weed, gets a fake ID and sneaks into clubs, dresses as a punk rocker so that no one will mess with him, falls in love and deals with heart break. Baby Be-Bop pulls no punches as Dirk deals with everything from friends that are too afraid to come out of the closet, to finding out that others that are out were not careful and are now suffering from HIV or AIDS.

Finally Dirk ends up struggling with thoughts of suicide and has to find a reason to live, a story that will make him want to live. That’s when the magic that is in all of the Dangerous Angels books comes to life and the genie in the lamp appears to give Dirk hope. Baby Be-Bop can be read as a standalone book and if you want to read a magical, fantastical GLBT story then I recommend you read this one. It’s short, but to the point. It shows someone being driven to the brink by hatred and being saved by love, hope and understanding.

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