Love in the Time of Global Warming, by Francesca Lia Block
I expected to immediately bond with the main character. I always do when I read Francesca Lia Block. Her girls are magical, bruised by life, prone to bad decisions, but full of hope. I see myself in them. I can still remember reading Weetzie for the first time years ago, as taken by the Los Angeles landscape as the narrative. It was one of the first times I had a hero presented to me who had been neglected or abused. I hadn’t had a hero with substance abuse issues, and certainly there were no GBLT heroes.
I had never been to anywhere remotely tropical, and it was enchanting to imagine a place where I would be warm surrounded by jacaranda blossoms. I would have complicated friends who knew what it was like to be the outsider. We would roller skate everywhere. I would set down my book and be back in the north, staring out a window covered by snow drifts. Everything was gray, made more gray by the vivid descriptions of a lush fairy tale city.
In Francesca’s recent book Love in the Time of Global Warming, I saw her beautiful city be annihilated. The apocalypse had happened. Giants were a danger. After falling in love with L.A. through her books, it was hard watching it be destroyed… Turning gray….
The main character, Pen, is trying to find her family after the Earth Shaker. She was different from the other main characters in previous books. The Earth Shaker was her first real trauma; she was a fairly passive person in the beginning. When she met Hex, I was gathered right back into the story. This was the character I bonded with, a tough on the exterior guy who had “non sum qualis eram” tattooed on his body. “I am not who I once was” resonated with me. I felt right there when Hex exposed his vulnerabilities, when he put on his bravado. I have done this. I am not who I once was. Hex carried a copy of Homer’s Odyssey, using it as a guide. It reminded me of when I would carry my books on philosophy, referring to them with a desperate reverence during my adolescence.
The beauty of Francesca’s stories was still there. It just wasn’t so wrapped up in Los Angeles’ trees, canyons, and flowers. It became more and more evident as I read that the beauty was in the relationships formed between the characters. After everything else is gone, the book reminded me of what was the most important. Love.