On My Bookshelf: Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

December 18, 2017

The main characters in Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson suffer from two different eating disorders, anorexia and bulimia, as well as depression and cutting. The depiction of both girls and the diseases they struggle with was incredibly realistic and accurate. It's not a book for the faint hearted as it takes you inside the mind of Lia (anorexic) and she struggles with the death of her former best friend, Cassie (bulimic). Read on for more of my review and ideas for classroom application.
The basic plot from Amazon: Lia and Cassie are best friends, wintergirls frozen in fragile bodies, competitors in a deadly contest to see who can be the thinnest. But then Cassie suffers the ultimate loss—her life—and Lia is left behind, haunted by her friend's memory and racked with guilt for not being able to help save her. In her most powerfully moving novel since Speak, award-winning author Laurie Halse Anderson explores Lia's struggle, her painful path to recovery, and her desperate attempts to hold on to the most important thing of all: hope.

Why I liked it: The main characters in Wintergirls suffer from two different eating disorders, anorexia and bulimia, as well as depression and cutting. The depiction of both girls and the diseases they struggle with was incredibly realistic and accurate. It's not a book for the faint hearted as it takes you inside the mind of Lia (anorexic) and she struggles with the death of her former best friend, Cassie (bulimic).
The main characters in Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson suffer from two different eating disorders, anorexia and bulimia, as well as depression and cutting. The depiction of both girls and the diseases they struggle with was incredibly realistic and accurate. It's not a book for the faint hearted as it takes you inside the mind of Lia (anorexic) and she struggles with the death of her former best friend, Cassie (bulimic). Read on for more of my review and ideas for classroom application.

Their once supportive friendship turned toxic when the girls began competing to see who could be the thinnest. Even after Cassie's death, Lia is consumed with calorie counting, extreme exercise, a distorted image of herself, and scathing self deprecation. While Lia is not always the most likable character (as a reader I was angry with the ways in which and the number of times she hurt the people around her), I did still want her to be able to overcome her disorder and survive. Lia's voice also drew you in, and as much as I was angry with her for hurting her loved ones, I also felt myself sharing her annoyance at her parents' attempts to oversee and control her.

Classroom application: This is a novel I would recommend to teachers, counselors, nurses, parents, etc. to help them understand the self image issues too many girls struggle with and to emphasize the important of helping teenage girls build up positive self images. Because of the heavy themes, I would recommend this to be added to a high school library classroom.

If you are interested in purchasing a copy of Wintergirls for yourself, you can find it on Amazon here.

Note: The Literary Maven is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

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