The Frenzy

By Francesca Lia Block

When Liv was thirteen years old her mother came home with a wolf she shot. Liv’s immediate anger could not be controlled, she lashed out then ran into the woods and since that day she hasn’t felt the same. Four years later, Liv is dating the love of her life, but pretending to date her gay best friend into in order to limit questions and appease her family. Everything seems like it’s for a show. She’s on Lexapro and pops Xanax when she feels the need to calm anxiety that will lead to a burst of anger that she fears will cause her to freak out like she did when she was thirteen. But things start to change that she can’t ignore, there have been murders in the woods, she’s seen a few faces that she doesn’t recognise staring at her and now Pace, her best friend, isn’t acting like himself.  When Liv finally finds out who she really is, her world isn’t made simpler, in fact the complexities are enough to tear her apart.


When I finished reading The Frenzy, my first real thought was, “Finally, a complete story.” I hate to even have those thoughts, I’ve been so loyal to Francesca Lia Block the entire time I’ve been reading her that it pains me to even think her incapable of writing something amazing. Her prose is always amazing, and her words are lush with description. She writes about food you wish you were eating, songs you were you were listening to and places you wish you could go to while you read. Unfortunately I have felt like some of her latest works were lacking; they felt incomplete or just too short.


So I went into reading The Frenzy prepared to be disappointed. I admit to having read a couple of reviews on Amazon before I received my own copy. Some reviews claimed the novel too short and seriously lacking. I’m happy to report that I did not find the novel either of those things (except seriously lacking in food creative descriptions!). Sure, it was short. At 276 pages, The Frenzy is smaller than “normal” sized novels, and the words don’t take up as much of the page. But at the same time, it is much longer than Waters & The Wild and Pretty Dead (probably combined, though that’s only an estimate). What’s important is that, despite the “shortness” of the novel, when you finish it feels complete. Sure it was a little predictable, but reading a Francesca Lia Block novel isn’t always about what happens. It’s about how you get there and how her words make you feel like you are part of something much larger than the world around you.


If you want to read the first fifty pages of The Frenzy, click below. Let me know what you think!

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2 thoughts on “The Frenzy

  1. Exactly how I felt. The only way the story would have been more complete for me is if FLB kept in her usual description writing style. The sentence structure and wording seemed very amateur to me and dumbed down. It was as if she was writing for twelve year olds. But the plot was complete. Overall, I really enjoyed it.

    • I personally think she was trying to dumb it down to be more mainstream, but that’s just me. (You know, hardly anyone ever seems to get/ understand/ want to read her beautiful descriptive writing). I remember a comment somewhere (by her, I think) about Pretty Dead being more mainstream but I don’t think it was. I think Pretty Dead was “mainstream” because it was vampire, but it was more like an FLB novel that was incomplete. Either way, I happy that it was so complete and I really enjoyed it, too.

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