Anderson, L.H. (2009). Wintergirls. New York: Viking.
Genre: Mainstream fiction
Intended audience: Mid-teens and up, especially girls.
Personal reaction to the book: It took some time to get into the narrative voice, which is distinctive. The book is told in the first person by Lia, an anorexic girl who cuts herself and whose goal is to be the skinniest girl in school. Her best friend has just died from – we eventually learn – a side effect of bulimia, and Lia is struggling with the death and with her dysfunctional family.
The book has a powerful ending with a strong message and is likely helpful for many girls going through similar issues of self-image. Ultimately, the narration feels far too rational to be convincing as the actual voice of a person going through such a chaotic period and some of the stylistic tricks distract from rather than add to the central theme, but it is well-written for its target audience.
Author facts: She is on good terms with her ex-husband, who is married to a pediatrician, similar to Wintergirls, in which Lia’s mother – divorced from her father – is a physician. She credits a year at a private school – Manlius Pebble Hill in Dewitt, N.Y., as “the most important year of my education.” Born Laurie Beth Halse, her name rhymes with waltz.
Related web site: http://madwomanintheforest.com/