Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
When Lia's friend, Cassie, dies, Lia feels no pain. Or that's what she says, anyway. In actuality, Lia heads down a dangerous, self-destructive path that ruins not only her life, but the ones around her.
What happened to Lia? What happened to make her change from a 'real girl' into one that hates herself and calculates calories like a number-obsessed dietician? Wintergirls looks at all the difficulties (particularly in our teens) related to mental disorders, such as: anorexia, bulimia, hallucinations, cutting... but also death, independence and family. This book alone is worth ten trips to the psychiatrist. Since reading this book, I have looked at myself differently. Instead of thinking: 'ugh, my bum's so fat', I actually stop and say to myself: 'you know what? I'm alright!" Sure, this book has scared me a bit, but it's scared me the right way.
There was not one second in the book that I doubted Lia was messed up. Throughout the whole entire novel, I felt like screaming at her. But strangely enough, I realised that anyone, even me, could be Lia. One wrong step and you could turn out like her.
I admire Laurie Halse Anderson's choice to write this book in first person perspective. After reading this, we all must admit that it is very, very hard to write at this level, and to especially make it believable that Lia is killing herself through starving herself. I felt like an intruder, diving into Lia's thoughts and eavesdropping on the awful conversations she has with herself. In Wintergirls, I have also learnt that a lot more happens to you turn anorexic, apart from getting skinny.
In the end, Lia Overbrook knows best. She does know deep inside her heart that what her folks said the whole time was right. And that's what lightens up the whole book. That you can repair yourself, pick yourself up again, start afresh.
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