Monday, November 29, 2010

Review: WINTERGIRLS by Laurie Halse Anderson

Lia is a high school senior dealing with some pretty heavy issues.  She has been jailed hospitalized twice for anorexia and cutting, her relationships with her parents are practically non-existent and her best friend, Cassie,  just died…alone…in a motel room.  Even though she is surrounded by pain and tragedy, Lia has a wit and charm to her that makes her sympathetic.  You can’t help but root for her to pull through in the end. 

One of the things I enjoyed most about this book is the insight it gave me into eating disorders.  While Lia’s anorexia is only one of several plot lines, I thought the subject was handled beautifully.  I have known a couple of anorexics throughout my life, and like a lot of people, I have a really hard time understanding what they are doing to themselves and why.  The author did not glorify anorexia, nor did she overly demonize it.  Instead, it felt honest.  She didn’t need to beat the reader with the moral lesson in order to make us feel hope at the end. 

Wintergirls is not just a story about eating disorders.  The death of Lia’s best friend also has a primary focus in the novel.  For nine years, the girls were inseparable in everything…even their obsessions to be thin.  However, after Lia is released from the hospital, Cassie decides to break off their friendship, blaming Lia for encouraging her bulimia.  The girls hadn’t spoken in six months, but the night of Cassie’s death, she phoned Lia’s cell phone thirty-three times.  Lia never picked up.  Now, Lia is dealing with survivor’s guilt, which is making her feel that she is being haunted by Cassie.

I recommend this book for teen girls, because I think Anderson handles these subjects truthfully and in ways that many of them will be able to relate to. 

Overall, I give Wintergirls… 

Plot – 3 ½ bookmarks
Character Development - 4 ½ bookmarks
Moral Lessons – 4 bookmarks
Dream Cast (otherwise known as who I pictured while reading) – Dakota Fanning (Lia), Emma Stone (Cassie), Kate Burton (Mother), Richard Gere (Father),  Jennie Garth (Step-mom Jennifer), Ruby Jerins (Emma)

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