Sunday, March 11, 2012

Winter Girls

     Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson is one of the most intense books I have ever read.  When Lia and Cassie's families begin falling apart, the girls try to control the only thing they can control in their lives - their weight.  They make a vow to one another to be thin.  Cassie does not have the willpower that Lia has, so she resorts to bulimia.  She loses her life in a dirty hotel room, alone, after calling Lia 33 times.  The guilt is excruciating for Lia and her own demons return to haunt her.  Not only does she begin starving herself again, she is also haunted by the ghost of Cassie.  Lia is a lost wintergirl, not dead, but not alive either.  Everyone tries to help her come back from this living death, but only Lia can decide if she will take the easy way out and join Cassie or if she will fight hard enough to live.
     This book touched me deeply.  I loved a wintergirl and she killed herself seven years ago.  I know how hard this world is when your eyes see things that just aren't there.  It is so hard to see girls struggling so hard to be enough in a world that has no place for imperfections.
     The writing is brutal and stark and poetic and beautiful and hauntingly painful.  I couldn't get Lia out of my mind for days.  Every time I picked up the book, I couldn't stop reading.  It was hard to leave her lost in the winter until I could pick up the book again.
     Some people told me they felt this book was inappropriate for girls because it gave them ideas about anorexia and bulimia.  I think the issues go so deep that a book is not going to push someone into this life.  It is not glamorized, but Lia does have ways to convince people that she is fine when she is clearly not.  I would definitely read the book before suggesting it for a teenager to see if it was appropriate for him/her.
     This book was haunting and changed my life profoundly because I now understand the world through a wintergirl's eyes.  Although Lia will stay with me for a very long time, I am glad that I can leave her world.  Here's to the wintergirls.  I hope this book helps us change our views of weight, beauty, and perfection.  

1 comment:

  1. this book is going on my wish list right now; thanks!