Friday, April 8, 2011

Review: Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

                                                                                                                                              Lia and Cassie are best friends competing to be the thinnest. Then Cassie loses, not just the game, but her life and Lia is left with a haunting memory of her friend and a guilt that she can't get over. Lia struggles on a painful journey of recovery and the loss. Told in first person point of view, this sometimes graphic young adult novel has 278 pages. The main focus of the novel is Lia's eating disorder. Alright, it's basically the only conflict other than Cassie's death, but they're actually related subplots, just all Lia's problems all the time. Which wasn't a bad thing...until her problems got boring. I liked her hallucinations though. her constant visions of Cassie were interesting and it'll leave you wondering if this is a ghost novel or is Lia just crazy. My favorite characters are Elijah, a strange hippie-esque guy Lia meets, and Cassie's ghost. They are both sarcastic and call for funny, sometimes lighter moments in such a dark and painful novel. I had to force myself to drudge through this when I reached the halfway mark and still nothing moving had actually occured. Not only that, but it took me a long time to get into the book because of the strange way Lia thinks and the lack of expostion until much farther in. Despite all that, the ending came through with a quick series of events that definitely put the novel back on track for me. The actual last chapter, which is something like an epilogue didn't jive with me, but I suppose it was necessary.  The language was lyrical and beautiful, something I enjoyed, although it did bring the reader out of the story and makes it a little hard to get back to focusing, but still, a plus point for the novel and the strike-out text helped to show the way Lia's brain works. For example there will be a sentence like this:
                       I am so hungry
followed by a sentence like this:
                   I don't need a muffin
     Wintergirls discusses the issue that is so common now; eating disorders. A scary problem, after reading this you'll want to eat and spill your feeling all over the floor. It's painful to read and the emotions are there, but a reader can be easily distracted or frustrated by the format and sometimes dull situation of it all. Worth the read if you dig on drowning in the problems of others.
Level of Romance: Lia doesn't have time for romance with the ghost of her best friend haunting her, too many family problems to count on her fingers and toes, and an eating disorder that's slowly killing her.  
Rating: 3 out of 5

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