I have to admit that if I had first read a summary of this, I would not have read it. I’ve never been a fan of books about eating disorders, never obsessively weighed myself or counted calories, never understood the compulsion to do so. But I was drawn in by the pretty cover and the pretty title, and by the time I realized what I was reading, the pretty (and at times brutal) prose had already closed its tentacles around me and forced me to swallow the novel (278) whole.
Celebrated Author Laurie Halse Anderson (whose breakthrough novel Speak came out 10 years ago) excels at exploring and deconstructing the minds and motivations of troubled teens and gives the narrative an undeniable immediacy and urgency. Lia’s relationships with everyone around her – mother, father, stepmother, sister, therapist, guy she meets at hotel where Cassie died – take the back burner to her inner drama. Their appeals to her to eat, to save herself, fall on ears that can only hear those taunting inner voices that tell her that anything above 0 pounds is too fat. It’s not an easy novel, but it is one that demands to be read.
Wintergirls will be released in hardcover on March 19, 2009.
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