Friday, December 16, 2011

To read is to fly: it is to soar to a point of vantage which gives a view over wide terrains of history, human variety, ideas, shared experience and the fruits of many inquiries.”
- A C Grayling

Friday, February 18, 2011

Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

“Dead girl walking,” the boys say in the halls.
“Tell us your secret,” the girls whisper, one toilet to another.
I am that girl.
I am the space between my thighs, daylight shining through.
I am the bones they want, wired on a porcelain frame.

Lia and Cassie are best friends, wintergirls frozen in matchstick bodies, competitors in a deadly contest to see who can be the skinniest. But what comes after size zero and size double-zero? When Cassie succumbs to the demons within, Lia feels she is being haunted by her friend’s restless spirit.

In her most emotionally wrenching, lyrically written book since the multiple-award-winning Speak, Laurie Halse Anderson explores Lia’s descent into the powerful vortex of anorexia, and her painful path toward recovery.

Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson was not initially a book that I had planned to review. Laurie Halse Anderson unlike so many other young adult authors writes about books that are dramatic and heart wrenching, but they delve deeply into real issues. The author writes beautifully in Wintergirls and especially after reading Speak, her New York Times Best-seller, I had almost impossibly high expectations. Wintergirls was very different from Speak and much harder to read because it was about two girls and how they bring pain upon themselves. It was much more disturbing and tragic because of that. 
Wintergirls is the type of book that stays with you and haunts you long after you've turned the last page. Lia's stubborn personality that keeps her from healing from her eating disorder is so troubling. Lia narrates the book, and as her character develops so does her voice. Anderson does a brilliant job of illustrating Lia's growth throughout the book. Lia as the narrator describes her own eating disorder and although she recognizes it she does not want to heal herself. She can only focus on her eating and her calorie intake after the loss of her estranged best friend Cassie.  

Cassie and Lia were best friends they created a dangerous pact to race to be the skinniest. Lia is sent to a hospital to heal herself leaving Cassie behind. After Lia has been discharged from the hospital she begins to heal until Cassie dies. Lia spirals out of control and cannot shake Cassie from her mind which drives her back to starving herself. 
After exploring other reviews on Wintergirls I was surprised to see the lack of empathy for Lia. Many people have found this novel to be difficult to relate to because Lia is harming herself and is aware of her problem. To me this was hard to read even though it was a foreign thought, I think anyone can relate to the desire for attention and also for Lia it was about letting go of her best friend and all of the guilt she felt for her death. 
Wintergirls will remain a favorite book of mine and Laurie Halse Anderson will always be a favorite author of mine. 

5 Cupcakes!