Monday, May 24, 2010

It's not nice when girls die. ~ Week 21

Coming back from a long hiatus. Since I posted last, I've read 15 books. Ouch. I have a lot of catching up to do. I'm not promising that I'll be able to catch up, but I'm going to try my best. With summer vacation coming up I just might have the opportunity. So here we go...

This is one of those books that always caught my attention on the shelves at the bookstore, but I never ventured to figure out what it was about. I finally requested it from the library and was surprised to find that it touched on a subject that has always caught my attention and made me wonder. Wintergirls is about two girls - Lia and Cassie - "wintergirls," frozen in thin bodies and sick minds. Both Lia and Cassie are anorexic and bulimic (respectively), fiercely competitive about their weights, and in a codependently and eventually deadly competition.

This book is reminiscent of Wasted by Marya Hornbacher but takes a different approach. Hornbacher's book is very matter-of-fact and while it does delve into the emotional aspects of anorexia, Wintergirls gives you a first-person account from Lia's point of view and really shows you the complex and disturbing thought processes that accompany eating disorders. This is definitely not a light read.

If you've ever watched a show or read a magazine article about anorexia and asked yourself, "Why don't they just EAT?" then perhaps this book might be a good one for you. Wintergirls gave me another glimpse into just how daunting and nearly impossible it can seem to recover from an eating disorder. I say "recover" because I truly believe that you can never be "cured" from being anorexic and bulimic.

The good: Very informative and emotional. Any book that makes a strong emotion rise in me (weather it's amusement, disgust, or fear) is a good one in my opinion. I also feel like this is a good book for anyone that's had a friend or family member that's been affected by an eating disorder. Seeing the thought processes that an anorexic goes through can help you to be more empathetic and understanding. It's a very well written book. Anderson's prose is straight-forward and enjoyable to read.

The bad: I wouldn't say that this is 100% a "bad thing," but sometimes Anderson was a little heavy on the figurative language. Don't get me wrong - I love a good metaphor or simile. It can definitely add to an author's work. However, at times during Wintergirls, I felt like Anderson was throwing them in just for the hell of it. Here's a fun example: "I lie down in a glass-coffin dream where rosebushes climb the walls to weave me a thorny fortress." Lyrical? Yes. Fun to read? Sure. Necessary to read something like this in every paragraph? Not really.

The verdict: Highly recommended for anyone that is curious about anorexia and bulimia and wants to understand it better. While it's a serious subject matter, you will find Anderson's writing interesting and informative.

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