Saturday, May 8, 2010

Book Review: Wintergirls

Lia and Cassie were best friends, wintergirls frozen in matchstick bodies. But now Cassie is dead. Lia's mother is busy saving people's lives. Her father is away on business. Her stepmother is clueless. And the voice inside Lia's head keeps telling her to remain in control, stay strong, lose more, weigh less. If she keeps on going this way - thin, thinner thinnest - maybe she'll disappear altogether.

--From the front book flap

Cover Inspection:
This cover is fantastic. Looking at the girl, trapped beneath this ice like substance, it completely goes with the title.

First Thoughts:
This is going to be a hard read. Page 3 and I'm already in shock.


My Review:

This book is heart wrenchingly, blindingly true to real life. Lia and Cassie have problems that I have seen in real life girls, and both parties deal with them the same way. Lia struggles with an eating disorder yes, but this book gives us a glimpse into Lia's past and shows us where it all started. It tackles the heart of her disorder. Lia has a crazy life, complete with split parents who work too much, and talk too little. Lia uses her eating disorder to "take control". After all, what do we have control over if not our own bodies?

I had to pause in the middle of this book so many times. It is hard to read Lia's thoughts because they are so harsh. She calls herself a pig, berates herself for even thinking about wanting food, and thinks she is fat even at 90 pounds. Before this I never realized how much of a mental barrier these girls have against food. It's not that they don't want to be healthy, they truly think that the way they are is healthy. They actually have an aversion to food.

Crossed out words abound in this book and I know that drove some readers mad. I personally liked it. The reader gets to see "real Lia" and "eating disorder Lia" battling it out in her conscious. By using this writing style, Anderson is able to disassociate the reader from Lia and allow them to see her as a whole package, not just as her disease. Not once in this story did I ever really feel close to her, but I think that is the point. To truly see what she is going through, you have to observe from afar.

Point blank: This is a hard book to read. Is it worth it? Definitely. Laurie Halse Anderson was able to take a completely difficult subject and write it in a way that is touching, brusque and informative all at the same time.

Book Details
Title: Wintergirls
Author: Laurie Halse Anderson
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Pages: Hardcover; 278
Source: Borrowed from library

Final Rating: 5 Keys to My Heart
[+/-] Click to see rating.


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