Lizzie's Reviews > Wintergirls

Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson
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's review
May 21, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: meg-s, young-adult, 2009, borrowed, new-and-exciting
Read in May, 2009

Actually, 3.5 stars, but that's ok. I star books not on how "good" they are but on how much I like them, and unfortunately for me this fell into the wanted to love it more than I did category. But: it is good. And in some ways I think that the things about it that aren't my favorite reading style are some of the things that will make it work in the long view, and I really respect that.

The prose of Lia's narration is nuts. It is all over the place and highly dramatic and sometimes sort of purple, and meander-y, and singleminded. However: that is exactly how messed-up teenagers feel, exactly. So, I can really understand Halse Anderson opening the floodgates this way. To me it was all right to read, but I think to a teenager it might be fantastic. That is very very fine. Whatever the "job" of an issues book for young adults is, I think this book can hold to it.

Even though: a part of me was really hoping to come to an empathic understanding of an anorexia sufferer's outlook while reading this book, and I didn't. Probably that means I just can't. Usually though I can find that, I can relate to the problem people, but the area of eating disorders has never been one of them. To me it is like watching a mystery and when they give you the answer at the end, you think, that doesn't make any sense, how did the perpetrator get from A to B to form their motive? Why? In the book, Lia repeatedly refers to her "broken" sight of herself and her acknowledged inability to understand what's real based on what other people think. I wish that I knew what she really meant, though.

I rounded up the rating because I still really, really, really, really love the foundation of this book a lot. I think it is a really really good plan for a book. The fact that Lia is not ok at all right from the beginning, the fact that her dead friend is trying to pull her all the way over, the fact that Lia's life looks real and not bleak. There are extraordinary ingredients at work here. And the climactic last scene between Lia and Elijah is amazing, a misty-eyer.

The book made me remember something I'd forgotten, which was a girl in my high school homeroom, whose name I can't remember but her initial landed her near my desk. She wasn't my friend (she ranked higher than me) but in 11th grade we all saw her start to wither and shrink, and later she was just sometimes gone for many weeks. To be very, very completely honest, I hardly noticed.
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