I've been on a Laurie Halse Anderson binge as part of this project. (I'm sure some of you are tired of hearing me talk about The Project™ and I'm sorry, but I am a book hoarder and this is my way of letting go and saying goodbye to some of my books-- giving them a final send-off, if you will, before turning them over to a new owner.) So far, most of her books have held up reasonably well. I even enjoyed the relatively unpopular PROM and CATALYST.
WINTERGIRLS is a story about eating disorders. It is incredibly triggering, I think, because it has a lot about weight and calorie counting and the main girl's friend actually dies, so she's also trying to deal with her grief over that while managing her ED. I remember really liking this book a lot when I had depression. I think it's because the lack of control is a theme in this book and when you're depressed, you feel totally lacking in control: of your feelings, of your body, of your life. Even though I didn't have an ED, the MC's hopelessness and focus on her internal states really resonated with me.
Rereading this book, I found that I couldn't quite relate to it the same way as I did in my late teens/early twenties. That's probably a good thing, though. I'd like to think that it means I'm a well-adjusted thirty-something. WINTERGIRLS has a totally different tone than the other Anderson books I've read. They all had this snark to balance out the hopelessness, but WINTERGIRLS is just pure hopelessness. I'm sure it will be solace for some but I just couldn't get into it now. I gave it four stars when I read it for the first time but now I'm giving it a two. I could barely find the will to read it. It's too bleak. YMMV.
2 out of 5 stars