Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Wintergirls (2009)

Laurie Halse Anderson has written another YA masterpiece, this time centering on anorexia and cutting. Lia's friend, Cassie, was found dead in a hotel room. Lia had just returned to her father's house after a second stay in a clinic called New Seasons. Her mother, a heart surgeon, did not feel she could properly supervise her daughter and thought that her remarried ex-husband and his wife could do better.

I reach for the steak knife in the nest of spoons. The black handle is war. As I pull it free, the blade slices the air, dividing the kitchen into slivers. There is Jennifer, packing store-bought cookies in a plastic tub for her daughter's class. There is Dad's empty chair, pretending he has no choice about these early meetings. There is the shadow of my mother, who prefers the phone because face-to-face takes too much time and usually ends in screaming.
Here stands a girl clutching a knife. There is grease on the stove, blood in the air, and angry words piled in the corners. We are trained not to see it, not to see any of it.
...body found in a motel room, alone...
Someone just ripped off my eyelids.

The pain Lia experienced is intense and excrutiating. She felt ugly, fat, and stupid, and the only control she had was her weight. As her story and weight loss progressed, we are allowed intimate details of the triggers which exasperated her disorder, how she controlled her weight, and how she hid her weight loss from her parents. The only person she felt connected with was her stepsister, Emma.

This book is a must for teens and adults who know someone suffering from eating disorders. In addition to the inner turmoil, readers are given a glimpse of the damage the body suffers from anorexia and bulimia.

My rating for this book: +++++

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