Wintergirls by Lauire Halse Anderson is a book I have wanted to read for a long time. When I read Speak, I was moved far more than I expected to be. Wintergirls touches once again on the difficulty of being a teenage girl. In Speak, the topic was rape. In this novel, we are plunged inside the mind of a young woman suffering from an eating disorder. It is brutal. This book rips at the reader and pierces into her very bones. Lia is eighteen-years-old and she already has two stays at an inpatient hospital for eating disorders under her belt. She is weighed at home to monitor her recovery, but she has found ways around that as well. As the book progresses the reader watches Lia's weight continue to fall; it is heartbreaking. Her struggles with food are gut wrenching. How can she survive on so little?
I loved this book, but at the same time I was a bit frightened by it. I worry that a young girl might read this book and see it as a kind of instruction manual. Certainly the horrors of anorexia are described, but I would recommend reading this yourself before giving it to your teen. At the same time, I think this is a book that needs to be read. I am adding it to my list of books that should be required reading. This is a topic that deserves attention and understanding.