Saturday, May 23, 2009

Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

I am a huge fan of Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, but I hadn't read anything else by her so I decided to read this newest book of hers. Wintergirls centers around Lia, a senior in high school who is battling anorexia. We follow her through the death of her former best friend and through her struggles to maintain a healthy facade while, secretly, she is starving herself, experiencing hallucinations and cutting herself to relieve the severe hatred and loathing she feels for herself. (How many times can I say herself in a sentence?) It was interesting to see what the mindset of an anorexic girl might be and to see how her false beliefs fuel her illness. Anderson's unique writing style perfectly mimics the jagged and jumpy thoughts that Lia has and the mood she creates gives the reader an understanding of Lia's mental suffering. However, I didn't really like this book. I understand it on a creative level, but as a story it was nearly unbearable to read. I felt such despair reading it that I had to stop about half-way through and leave it for a while. I didn't want to finish it because entering Lia's world again was not enticing in the least. But I did want to see how Lia would come through. The ending was a bit forced and melodramatic, but I was just glad it was over. I wouldn't recommend Wintergirls. Read Speak instead; it's a more successful effort.

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