Ever since eighth grade, Lia and Cassie have fed off each other. They are each other’s only source of strength as they vow to compete to be the skinniest friend. Counting every calorie that enters their body, making sure it is never too much and worrying excessively about their outer appearance.
Lia finally wins the competition though when Cassie dies, alone in a hotel room one night. Now Lia faces her war alone, thinking she is still fat at 95 pounds. Trying as hard as she can to avoid returning to a treatment facility, she sews quarters into the pockets of her robe so it appears that she weighs more then she does when her step-mother forces her onto the scale and choosing bruised apples at lunch so she has an excuse not to eat the whole thing.
With Cassie gone though, Lia not only has to worry about her conscious bothering her every time she eats, but also Cassie’s voice. Lia’s just not sure she can handle it anymore and sometimes even refers to cutting herself to help relieve just a little bit of the pain. Lia is left with a decision though, does she truly want to join the living, or stay frozen and eventually melt into nothing.
Laurie Halse Anderson truly has a gift. Her writing is impeccable and she takes some of the most difficult subjects to talk about and throws them in your face, leaving them near impossible to ignore. Within the pages of Lia’s life the reader gets a gut-wrenching and honest look into the life of an anorexic teenager, seeing both the physical and emotional implications of the disease.
The writing throughout the book had a lyrical feel to it which made it near impossible to put down, one sentence always luring you to the next. Laurie Halse Anderson also did a great job expressing emotion through the pages of the book. Sometime I feel that authors try to hard to make the reader’s feel what the characters are feeling, but in WINTERGILRS it was absolutely effortless.
No matter how brutal the subject matter was, I thought this book was amazing. Yes, it’s hard to read and it makes you cry, but it’s so important for people of all ages to realize the full effects of anorexia. The message that the book portrays, that it is okay to go for help and what could happen if you don’t reach out your hand, rings so clearly that I think this would be a better read for those suffering from anorexia then a self-help book.
The honesty, brutality, and love that was felt throughout the story really came together to create one heck of a novel. Recommended for all readers, it may be a hard novel to start, but you surely won’t be disappointed when it is over. I absolutely cannot wait to see what Mrs. Anderson has in store for us next!