Sunday, November 1, 2009

Review: Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

It has seemed of late that you'll very rarely hear me say that I loved the audio portion of the audio book I listened to, but Wintergirls was a delightful departure from that tradition. I love listening to books as I drive to and from work each day, and it calms my road rage (yes, I have to grip the wheel at times). It's nice being able to escape into a great story, and this particular audio book didn't disappoint.

Synopsis: Feeling the guilt of not answering the phone on the night her friend called her repeatedly, Lia allows not only the stress and guilt of her friend's death beat her down, but also her own negative self-loathing. Lia sees herself as fat, stupid, and uncontrolled. Her weapon of punishment? Food. Lia knows the calorie count of every food that she puts in her mouth, and fights with her family over every forced morsel going in. Adding to these stresses, or maybe causing them, is the divorce of her parents. Since her mother is a doctor, Lia lives with her father, new step-mom, and step-sister, finding that she can convince them that she's "OK" much easier than her own mother. Realistically though, Lia is anything but okay, and the choice to get okay really lies within.

Review: I have to say that the audio version of this was nothing short of GENIUS. I completely forgot about the reader, and slipped easily into the story. The narration was excellent, as were the special effects added in. In short, it was brilliant, and I can't say enough about it.

As for the story, it was of course, gut-wrenching. I, myself, have never suffered with anorexia, but have seen it firsthand. The helplessness you feel in reaching out to the person you love is monumental. Wintergirls really highlighted why that occurs. The person suffering from the disease is willing to do just about anything (including die) in order to maintain control over their own life. Regardless of whether they love you or not, they must have control at all times. Food is only the means of exhibiting the control.

I really felt for Lia, and kept waiting to see how Anderson dealt with this character. It was obvious that Lia hated that her family kept intervening, and wouldn't change for them. In the end, she had to make that choice. This did send my emotions reeling. You want easy answers, but it's obvious that there really aren't any. Eventually, Lia would have to choose how she wanted to live her life, and putting that trust in her as the reader was painful to sit back and watch.

Overall, I give Wintergirls a definite high recommendation. The emotional range and depth that Anderson reaches with these characters are amazing. Top it off with the wonderful performance on this audio book, and you have a winning combination.

For more information, see: Wintergirls.


  1. Great review! I'll definitely have to check out the audio version - I listen in the car, too. Wintergirls is already on my wish list after reading Speak with my book club a couple months ago.

  2. I've never listened to an audio book, but your review of Wintergirls makes me want to give it a go.

  3. Sounds like a great if sad book. Great review!

  4. I thought this was a great book! She sure gets inside of her characters minds and writes believably.