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Thursday, October 10, 2013

Module 7: Wintergirls

Module 7: Realistic Fiction


Author: Laurie Halse Anderson

Book Summary:
  Lia and Cassie are “wintergirls:” frozen and empty. They are best friends with their corresponding eating disorders and disorderly conduct. When Cassie dies suddenly, Lia is sent reeling on a rollercoaster of depression, calorie counting, and hallucinations. Lia’s disorder controls her life, and even her close relationship with her step-sister cannot cure her. She refuses to let people help her; she lies to her therapist and tells the doctors what they want to hear. She cannot truly be helped until she allows herself to be helped. Will she get better? Will she allow herself to unthaw?
APA Book Reference:
Anderson, L.H. (2009). Wintergirls. New York, NY: Speak. 

  I loved the way this book was written. The prose was beautiful, and the crossed out sections that show the words that Lia will not allow herself to think allow the reader to further connect with her character. The numbers written next to every food item showing calories allow the reader to dive even deeper into Lia’s psychosis.
  This book was a well-written but depressing read. It was realistic and relatable. This book illustrates how one girl deals with some dark issues from the death of her best friend to her own near death experiences. Lia is a stubborn, at times annoying, character to follow. I sometimes found myself taking her parents’ side in their various arguments even though I was given Lia’s point of view and could sort of understand her motives. However, her relationship with her sister is what saved me from putting the book down. It gave me hope that she would seek help in the end.
  I was unsure of how Wintergirls would end. It could have had a happy ending (Yay she gets better!), it could have had an awful ending (she joins Cassie and they are “wintergirls” in the afterlife), but I found myself suspecting it would go the way of Go Ask Alice where the reader is left hopeful that she is getting better then on the next page she’s dead. I suppose I liked how it ultimately ended though; I wanted Lia to have hope.

  Side Note: This is yet another book that mentions A Wrinkle in Time. What’s the deal? I had never heard of that book until this class, and now it’s popping up everywhere.

Professional Review:

Kraus, D. (2008). Wintergirls [Review of the book Wintergirls]. Booklist Online. Retrieved from: http://www.booklistonline.com/Wintergirls-Laurie-Halse-Anderson/pid=3201361

“Problem-novel fodder becomes a devastating portrait of the extremes of self-deception in this brutal and poetic deconstruction of how one girl stealthily vanishes into the depths of anorexia. Lia has been down this road before: her competitive relationship with her best friend, Cassie, once landed them both in the hospital, but now not even Cassie’s death can eradicate Lia’s disgust of the “fat cows” who scrutinize her body all day long. Her father (no, “Professor Overbrook”) and her mother (no, “Dr. Marrigan”) are frighteningly easy to dupe—tinkering and sabotage inflate her scale readings as her weight secretly plunges: 101.30, 97.00, 89.00. Anderson illuminates a dark but utterly realistic world where every piece of food is just a caloric number, inner voices scream “NO!” with each swallow, and self-worth is too easily gauged: “I am the space between my thighs, daylight shining through.” Struck-through sentences, incessant repetition, and even blank pages make Lia’s inner turmoil tactile, and gruesome details of her decomposition will test sensitive readers. But this is necessary reading for anyone caught in a feedback loop of weight loss as well as any parent unfamiliar with the scripts teens recite so easily to escape from such deadly situations.”

Library Uses:
  Wintergirls main themes are death and eating disorders. This book could certainly start a discussion about eating disorders. It wouldn’t be a good book to use in a discussion of dealing with death because Lia is an already troubled girl who does not deal with it very well. It could also be used in a discussion about family or dealing with divorce; Lia’s parents are divorced; her family consists of Mom “Dr. Marrigan” and Dad Professor Overbrook, Jennifer (dad’s wife) and step-sister Emma. She obviously has a hard time relating to her parents and many children could relate to this.

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