I have been a fan of Laurie Halse Anderson since I read SPEAK years ago, but I somehow only just managed to pick up WINTERGIRLS this month. I listened to this as an audio book during my atrocious commute. When I finished, I looked at a few reviews online and saw people talking about strikeouts and page structure and it was only then that I realized I missed out on a certain element and style of this book. Just more proof that it is sometimes hard to recreate a physical book in the digital realm.
This book tackles some very heavy subject matter – anorexia and cutting, mainly. Anderson made it so easy to get inside Lia’s head. I understood how Lia viewed herself as strong, not sick. There were times I found myself thinking, “yeah, don’t eat that, you worked so hard,” and other time were I wanted to shake her and yell, “you’re killing yourself, please just eat this damn piece of toast!” Being able to sympathize with Lia, while also battling the urge to (literally) knock some sense into her was some brilliant writing work on Anderson’s part.
The most powerful part of this story though, was that I was able to see a piece of myself in Lia; the part that is never quite happy with how she looks, that is always aware of calories and how much she is eating. I am not Lia. I have never struggled with an eating disorder, but I have always struggled with body image. And I think a lot of girls have. That’s what makes this book so fantastic, that underlying personal connection. I suspect many readers can see a piece of themselves in this broken girl, and understand, perhaps far too easily, how a few steps in the wrong direction can turn someone into a wintergirl.
Originally reviewed here