Monday, September 7, 2009
"Wintergirls" by Laurie Halse Anderson
When visiting the many attractions at Niagara Falls, many tourists make a stop to ride the cable car over the giant Whirlpool. As one hovers over that impressive natural phenomenon of swirling torrents, a basic primal fear starts to set in - What if the cable car snapped? What if you fell in the monstrous vortex? Surely that would mean the end of life for any living creature sucked into the depths through that power. So overpowering that you wonder that if you were caught and dragged below, would even your spirit be able to escape the pull?
While reading about the main character in Laurie Halse Anderson's Wintergirls, one can't help thinking that Lia is caught in a mental whirlpool so powerful that escape is impossible. As a teen obsessed with controlling caloric intake, Lia's every waking second is spent structuring her life on diminishing her food, her movements, her relationships. This disappearing act, instigated by a friend's death and seemingly uncaring parents, is so realistically created by Anderson, that the reader experiences, along with Lia, the powerful pull of anorexia on the mind, body, and spirit. Can Lia ever escape the illusion of the disease's control?
Anderson's writing successfully captures the dilemma of the disease on a teen's psyche, fully exploring its deceptive pull, to the gripping extent she also achieved in Speak. Highly recommended - FIVE stars.