Aryn's Reviews > Wintergirls

Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson
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Mar 31, 12

bookshelves: own, fiction, young-adult, favorite-books
Recommended for: Anyone, but people who are easily triggered with EDs or Self Harm.
Read on March 31, 2012

If you are struggling with an ED or Self Harm, or worry you may be triggered, do not read this book. I can imagine it being incredibly triggering!

I sat down to read this book today, around 2pm. It's now almost 10pm. With only a few breaks to pee and probably an hour break for dinner, I haven't moved in in around 7 hours. I kept trying to put this down, really, I did, and it kept demanding that I pick it back up.

(view spoiler)

Lia is anorexic. Cassie was bulimic. This is a story of Lia's slide into depression and her attempt to lose weight and to lose herself in the attempt. This is a story of Lia's family attempting to understand and help her, in their own, broken way. This is a story of Lia forgetting who she is, and scaring the life out of herself. This is a story of Lia's family watching Lia disappear behind disorder after disorder. Lia is a Wintergirl because she is frozen in this state, unable to claw her way out of the snow.

I have always loved Laurie Halse Anderson. She's one of the few authors, I believe, who not only can truly capture the shitstorm that is high school, but can effective see behind the mask of the teenage girls who do not cope the way that is expected of them.

I've seen complaints that the formatting was unnecessary filler. However, I actually thought that the strikeouts spoke volumes about who Lia was as a character. The strikeouts were often how she wanted to truly felt on a matter, while the correction being the version that she convinced herself of. Much of her struggle with food is conveyed brilliantly in this manner. What her body was telling her was often true. What she convinced herself of was her hatred of eating.

This book struck a chord in me. My sister, 17, started struggling with anorexia a few years ago. She was officially diagnosed, and while she still struggles with food like you wouldn't believe we actually were able to "work through it," fairly quickly. However, much of her mental health has deteriorated since. She spent 10 days in a private hospital, starting on December 2nd. She struggles, not only with anorexia, but self harm, harming others, and voices. This book struck a chord because of its authenticity. It was authentic and felt like truth, without being vulgar. The family felt real, I identified well with their want to help, their helplessness, and their frustrations. Lia felt like she could have met my sister at the Private Hospital; hell, in a lot of ways I saw Lia as my sister. The disorders felt real, the people felt real, the struggle felt real.

I probably made this face, for the duration of the novel:


Until the last few pages when I made this face:


I certainly wasn't expecting a butterflies and rainbows book when I picked this up: it is a Laurie Halse Anderson piece, afterall. However, I was also most certainly not expecting it to hit me so strongly, the way that it did.
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Quotes Aryn Liked

Laurie Halse Anderson
“We held hands when we walked down the gingerbread path into the forest, blood dripping from our fingers. We danced with witches and kissed monsters. We turned us into wintergirls, when she tried to leave, I pulled her back into the snow because I was afraid to be alone.”
Laurie Halse Anderson, Wintergirls

Laurie Halse Anderson
“The stars whirled above us and the firecrackers blazed. The moon stood watch as drops of blood fell, careless seeds that sizzled in the snow.”
Laurie Halse Anderson, Wintergirls

Laurie Halse Anderson
“If I had lady-spider legs, I would weave a sky where the stars lined up. Matresses would be tied down tight to their trucks, bodies would never crash through windshields. The moon would rise above the wine-dark sea and give babies only to maidens and musicians who had prayed long and hard. Lost girls wouldn't need compasses or maps. They would find gingerbread paths to lead them out of the forest and home again. They would never sleep in silver boxes with white velvet sheets, not until they were wrinkled-paper grandmas and ready for the trip. ”
Laurie Halse Anderson, Wintergirls


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Lisa Vegan Fabulous review, Aryn. And best wishes to your sister, you, and your family.


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