Hello fellow readers!
This review might be messy and all over the place – but bear with me on this one.
I haven’t written a review in well over two years now (if you could even call them reviews). It’s because I never knew how much to say or how much to leave out. It’s all a big mystery to me. But here I am, making an effort.
To start things off, I want to tell you about the book that inspired this review.
Wintergirls was written by Laurie Halse Anderson, a writer so brilliant that made me fall in love with it immediately.
She used her words to express even the most difficult emotions yet did it in a manner that would make sense even to those who haven’t struggled with them. She shed a light on a really difficult topic not a lot of people have guts to speak about – anorexia.
Before I say anything else, here’s the Goodreads description:
Lia and Cassie are best friends, wintergirls frozen in matchstick bodies, competitors in a deadly contest to see who can be the skinniest. But what comes after size zero and size double-zero? When Cassie succumbs to the demons within, Lia feels she is being haunted by her friend’s restless spirit.
The story starts with Cassie’s death and Lia finding out about it. We are pulled right into the world where nothing and everything makes sense. Where emotions are bland and vibrant at the same time. Where time stops and runs yet all we can do is sit and observe. Suspended and helpless as Lia’s struggles become overwhelming.
With the death of her best friend, the recovery Lia started to make – after being admitted twice and then moving to her father’s house – slowly starts to disappear. The tragic news pushes her overboard and she starts to relapse. Because Lia has a secret that nobody knows about and is slowly eating her alive.
She hides the truth and hides her actions, trying to push everybody away because she feels so much and it hurts. She doesn’t want to face the fact Cassie’s gone and Lia was the only one who could’ve helped her. Who could’ve saved her. If only she picked up the damn phone.
The guilt and despair, her family’s actions and also their negligence tear her apart day by day.
The only thing everybody but her seems to be aware of is: She has a choice. To live and face the pain. Or to die and cause pain.
Why is this a book most people – if not everybody – should have on their reading list?
I have many reasons that I can’t quite put in words. I mean, I’ll try my best but you’ll know what I mean when you finish it.
Wintergirls shows the cold, hard truth about eating disorders. They’re not fabulous and they’re most certainly not pretty. Eating disorders are painful, messy and have oftentimes something to do with mental health or family relationships.
If you have or are recovering from anorexia, I advise you to reconsider reading this book or read it with caution.
For me, it took quite a few months and I struggled with it at first. It was hard mainly because I could relate to the main character in so many ways and I felt what she was feeling. It didn’t trigger me – because I am recovering from an eating disorder and sometimes still struggle – but it did make it hard to read. Because the truth is hard to hear and even harder to acknowledge.
The thing about Wintergirls is that Laurie Halse Anderson did not glorify the struggles. Lia knew what was happening to her. She knew how her disorder affected her body but she also felt the way she did and couldn’t help herself – didn’t really know how to.
And that’s why I love this book so much. As hard as it was for me to read it, it was also helpful. It made me really, truly realize that to recover, you have to work on yourself and your mental health. You have to want to live. You have to be present in your life and be happy for the little things.
Wintergirls made me want to live my life.
Not many books can have that effect. But when they do, you have to appreciate them for it.
The story grips you like a ghost of your dead best friend, the plot thickens like a good book and your emotions run deep.
“What’s going to happen to this girl?”
You might wonder that throughout the entire book. You might want to give Lia a big hug and just hold her – because you can feel what she’s feeling. That is how good this book is written. You can feel everything and you just want to help. Do something. It’s not too late until it is.
As you already figured out, I can’t really say why people should read it, but I know they should. It’s a feeling you get when you finish a good book and want to share it with someone else.
Written by Desirae Clark
If you’re still uncertain, this is the review I want you to read that will change your mind: