Book talk #3
Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson
Oh the heartbreak of teenage eating disorders. I was instantly attracted to this book because I used to be really obsessed with food and being as skinny as possible. I had a terrible self image and thought I was always too fat and it led to some health issues at a young age. I still have episodes of passing out and really low blood sugar that can put me down quick. I have grown out of that stage and become comfortable with myself. It kind of started when I got interested in modeling in my teens but I was never happy enough with myself to try to become a model and that fight within continued. However, in the last few years life has changed, I know my husband loves me for me and I want to be here for a long time with him and so I went to the doctor and they said I needed to put on about 10 to 15 lbs. to be within the normal BMI level and I have and I feel great!
I think that’s why this book (although I was never as serious as Lia about food issues and I never cut or anything) but I can see how Lia would relate to young girls who fight so hard to have that perfect body that we all see on commercials, in magazines, and in movies. Young girls often fight with body image to the point of self-destruction. It’s a painful journey for them as well as the ones who love them. But it’s never going to change until they want to get better and heal physically and emotionally.
This is a powerful book but needs to be read with precautions because it gets emotional and could be hard for some teens to handle.
This book is about Lia, an 18 year old senior who made a bet with her best friend, Cassie, that she would be the skinniest person in school. Lia takes in an average of 500 or less calories per day then she will do the stair stepper most nights and burn off 800 or more calories. Her body is literally eating itself. She also falls into these “wonderland” states where she is off in la la land for ten to fifteen minutes at a time or she blacks out and it takes her to this other world.
Lia thinks she is strong because her little, tiny stomach is strong and doesn’t need food. She feels that food makes her weak but she has ended up in rehab centers 2 times now. Her mom (Dr. Marrigan) is a cardiologist and her dad is Professor Brooks at the local university. Lia longs for food, wants it so bad, but feels disgusting when she eats anything more than a couple hundred calories. Her parents divorced and she has a step-sister named Emma. Emma is young but totally adores Lia and Lia tries so hard to make Emma happy by baking cookies, playing with her, and making her smile.
Throughout the book Lia struggles with the death of her best friend Cassie. Cassie called Lia 33 times the night she died. They were no longer friends but Lia feels responsible that her “used to be best friend” died alone in a motel room. Then Cassie begins to haunt Lia at night. She tells Lia that she is so close to making it to the other side with her. If she keeps starving herself and dehydrating herself, they will be together again really soon. Lia is caught between life and death (literally) and struggles to find her purpose in life.
Lia is on the verge of death numerous times and her family hates her for not wanting to change and making them feel the repercussions of her hurt constantly. Lia feels gross, fat, stupid, etc. and cannot get those thoughts out of her head. So join Lia on her journey through anorexia to see if she prevails or if she gives up and meets Cassie on the other side of life.