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October 27, 2009

Spreading the Book Lurve

Kate Hart
Via Deb, via these ladies: The challenge of the day for those of us not posting Tuesday teasers is to blog, Tweet, or leave an Amazon review for a book that you've read and loved.

Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson
I didn't want to read this book. I pretty much swore off of all eating disorder books after reading Wasted, a memoir by Marya Hornbacher. But then I read an excerpt... I thought it was on Kirsten's blog but now I can't find it... and decided I was going to have to man up. So I did, and I was glad.

Books about anorexia and bulimia tend to trigger people with those disorders back into their behaviors. Wasted, while an interesting read, was horrible in that way for a lot of people. But something about Wintergirls managed to realistically represent the mindset of a girl suffering from anorexia without ... I don't want to say "making it appealing," because Hornbacher certainly didn't do that either. Maybe Anderson did a better job of showing the pain. Maybe her metaphors and style of writing allow the reader to both understand the mindset and see the reality of what's happening, while the memoir plants the reader too firmly in the eating disordered mind-- a dangerous place for those in recovery. I don't know. But it is a beautifully written portrayal that spreads the blame and responsibility evenly on the characters, victim included, while leaving the reader with hope at the end.

Five hundred calories a day is working. Truth = 094.00.
Another goal weight. W00t.
I should be diamond sparkly champagne shooting to the stars, but the loudspeaker between my ears crackles on, full volume, with another goal: 085.00, 085.00, 085.00.
085.00 is dangerland. 085.00 is Fourth of July fireworks in a small metal box.

The second time they locked me up admitted me for my own good, my whole body, including my skin, my hair, my baby blue toenails, and all my teeth weighed 085.00; 010.00 pounds of fat, 070.00 pounds of everything else. ... When my brain started working again I checked their math. Someone made a mistake because they didn't figure in the snakes in my head and the thick shadows hiding inside the cage of my ribs.

085.00 is possible. I've been there before, in dangerland, sweet buzzing high gingersmoke air, crafty trolls hiding under bridges.

But 085.00 makes me want 075.00 . To get there I'll need to crack open my bones with a silver mallet and dig out my marrow with a long-handled spoon.

Anderson's book Speak is also fantastic. My other rec: The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. I stayed up until 3:00 am reading it. Then I convinced my husband to read it, and he stayed up until all hours trying to finish it. Dear book-reading family members: Expect a copy in your stocking this Christmas.


  1. Aw, great choice. Not for the weak of heart, though. I found this book chilling and disturbing while at the same time beautifully written. I love LHA's unique way with descriptions and metaphors.

    And I totally agree that this book wouldn't really compel someone suffering from an eating disorder back into their old habits. It is a danger, though, with this subject. So sad.

    Thanks for spreading the lurve! :)


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