Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Winter Girls: Laurie Halse Anderson

This was a really hard book for me to read. Lia has been best friends with Cassie for years. They share a lot - including their anorexia. After they have a falling out and don't speak for several months, Lia receives 33 calls from Cassie in one weekend. But she is still mad and so she doesn't answer the phone. Cassie is then found dead in a hotel room. When Lia plays the voice messages from the calls it is just heartbreaking. Lia is also on a downward spiral and there is real question throughout the book if she can save herself.

Anderson uses a number of interesting techniques in this book; strikethroughs, italics, and offsets to illustrate Lia's state of mind (see video of Laurie Halse Anderson talking about Wintergirls ) This is a harsh book that pulls no punches about the effects of Anorexia on the body. Lia's brain is starving and it is clear that this is part of what keeps the spiral going. There has been some concern that this book may "glamorize" or "teach" anorexia. There is an interesting NYT article on the topic. Eating disorders is a difficult topic to write about but Anderson does it with her usual style and grace. I highly recommend this book for HS.

Review by Ann Morgester Library Curriculum Coordinator, Anchorage School District

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