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Baby Be-bop Summary

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

In Baby Be-Bop, sixteen-year-old Dirk McDonald details his difficulties in coming to terms with his homosexuality. Readers first meet Dirk in the novel Weetzie Bat, when he and his lover, Duck, become central cogs in Weetzie's eccentric and loving extended family. In Baby Be-Bop, Block goes back to explore Dirk's childhood and early adolescence before he meets both Weetzie and Duck. As the novel opens, Dirk's idyllic childhood, which he spends living with his grandmother Fifi, ends when he enters adolescence and recognizes homosexual feelings. As Dirk realizes that his fantasies contrast with those of his heterosexual peers, he finds it difficult to voice his desires even to those he loves.

When Dirk is painfully rebuffed by his first lover, he changes his appearance and joins the punk scene where he encounters rough violence and hatred. Unlike Weetzie Bat, where homosexual themes are significant but subdued, in Baby Be-Bop Dirk's experiences as he comes to accept his homosexuality form the very core of the novel. Throughout the 1990s, a number of adolescent novels have described homosexual self-loathing and a struggle to fit in, but few have offered such a frank discussion of those areas and the sometimes violent reactions of others to those who are gay. Ultimately, by using the magic lamp given to him by his grandmother, Dirk discovers his parents' past, which helps him find a path of love and acceptance.