Saturday, December 5, 2009

Are you a wintergirl?

" Dead girl walking" Say the boys in the hall when they see Lia walk by.
This should tell you what the book is like. In the first chapter we find out that Lia's best friend Cassie has died we don't find out until later that she died as a result of her bulimia. Lia is an anorexic who has been to treatment multiple times. Lia seemed to have been getting better, seemed to have, and everyone is afraid that Cassie's death will send her spiraling down again, they were right.
Lia is the narrator of this and through her voice we see the ways that anorexia can be the fuel for itself. Lia's struggle with the disease started 6 years before when she discovered Cassie throwing up in the bushes of her house after having binged at a party. This was the start of the competition that claimed Cassie's life. Both girls vowed to be the skinniest girl in school but for Lia the binge/purge cycle of bulimia didn't work she began starving herself instead. You can see she is starving herself by the fact that several times in the book she is tempted by food but the voice in her tells her she will turn into a "fat cow" like everyone else, in one scene Lia actually binges on sweets at her step-sister Emma's Christmas bake sale. Lia then uses laxatives to rid her self of the food her body so desperately needs.
The voice in Lia's head keeps up an almost constant narrative of "stupid/ugly/stupid/bitch/stupid/fat" that she can't shut up. Anorexia isn't Lia's only problem though she also cuts herself to shut out the pain around her. The lengths that Lia goes through just to lose wait are not uncommon in anorexics and her father and stepmother don't seem to catch on. Lia has tampered with the scale that her stepmother weighs her on and has sewn quarters into the hem of her robe in order to gain a few ounces.
This book is both difficult to read and difficulty to put down you want to get to the end to find out whether Lia succumbs to her demons or if she overcomes. Just like with her first novel, Speak, Laurie Halse Anderson picks you up and puts your emotions through the wringer with Wintergirls. Everyone should read this book because it is not often you find a book told from the perspective of the person suffering the disease and Lia's story is brutally honest and helps you feel sympathy for teh person suffering from anorexia not just disgust at how their body looks.

You should definitely check out the video of Ms. Halsie talking about why she wrote Wintergirls and there is also a Wintergirls MySpace page you can join.

1 comment:

schenieka hoskins said...

Wow, this sounds like a fantastic book. I think it is wonderful that such a book as this have been written to show the harsh reality of such destructive diseases. However, I am wondering do you think the book is more geared toward girls or boys? Either way I think it can teach young people vital lesson of not maintaining a healthy body or mind. Maybe if young people see the struggle that such a disease can cause they will be less likely to try it. I think this is a very relatable book for young adult readers. Our youth is bombarded with images and media of what they should look like. Hopefully this book will eliminate drastic measures to live up to superficial ideals that society calls beauty.