Monday, October 18, 2010

Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

This is the story of an adolescent girl, Lia, suffering from anorexia.  Lia and Cassie had been best friends since elementary school, and each developed her own style of eating disorder that leads to disaster. Now 18, they are no longer friends. Despite their estrangement, Cassie calls Lia 33 times on the night of her death, and Lia never answers. As events play out, Lia's guilt, her need to be thin, and her fight for acceptance unravel in an almost poetic stream of consciousness in this startlingly crisp and pitch-perfect first-person narrative. The text is rich with words still legible but crossed out, the judicious use of italics, and tiny font-size refrains reflecting her distorted internal logic. All of the usual answers of specialized treatment centers, therapy, and monitoring of weight and food fail to prevail while Lia's cleverness holds sway. This is an amazing book that I inhaled in <24 hours.  It is real, haunting and I know it will stay with me.  I would caution parents to read/screen it before allowing their young adults to read it as it does broach intense heavy subject matter in a straightforward manner.  Thanks Liz for introducing me to this amazing author.  I can't wait to read her other works.

Rating: 4.9 Recommend