"Tell us your secret," the girls whisper, one toilet to another.
I am that girl.
I am the space between my thighs, daylight shining through.
I am the bones they want, wired on a porcelain frame.
Lia and Cassie were best friends, wintergirls frozen in matchstick bodies. But now Cassie is dead. Lia's mother is busy saving other people's lives. Her father is away on business. Her stepmother is clueless. And the voice inside Lia's head keeps telling her to remain in control, stay strong, lose more, weigh less. If she keeps on going this way - thin, thinner, thinnest - maybe she'll disappear altogether.
In her most emotionally wrenching, lyrical book since the National Book Award finalist Speak, best-selling author Laurie Halse Anderson explores one girl's chilling descent into the all-consuming vortex of anorexia.
©2009 Laurie Halse Anderson; (P)2009 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
Laurie Halse Anderson is a phenomenal story teller. I read her book Speak in 1 day, one of her best. This story was intriguing, disturbing, and heartwarming.
The one thing I didn't like is how they audibly handled what I assume are cross outs in the written from of the book. There are beeps and odd volume adjustments. I think I'd rather hear a vocal change rather than an "editing" change. I think Jeannie Stith could have acted the "cross outs" without the annoying beeps. I personally don't like that directorial? choice. I'm curious to see how other audio productions handle that challenge
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At the beginning of this audiobook, I wondered if something was wrong with the recording. I asked myself, “Why are the chapters formatted this way?” I quickly realized they were formatted like numbers on a scale, and this was an appropriate choice for a book about a teenage girl with an eating disorder.
“Just eat!” her loved ones demand.
But for Lia, it isn’t that simple. She is broken, and no one seems skilled enough to put her pieces back together. Her mother, a surgeon, treats her like a case study. Her father, newly married, is too busy. And her best friend Cassie, who also struggles with an eating disorder, has just been found dead. The most helpful person in the story seems to be Elijah, a young drifter who works at the hotel where Cassie died. Lia tells herself to stay strong by staying empty. Her weight keeps dropping.
In the end it is Elijah who most effectively pushes Lia toward life.
Author Laurie Halse Anderson writes about an eating disorder with the intimacy of someone who has experienced one. After a little while you realize that there are two ways the story could go. Lia could get better. Or she could die.
Narrator Jeannie Stith brings Lia, in all of her brokenness, to life. Her voice conveys every feeling that Lia experiences – guilt, sadness, anger, loss, hunger, hunger, hunger. And then,
in the end, hope.
“Wintergirls” is a stunning piece of young adult fiction. It is raw and real. It isn’t pretty. It is, in fact, rather ugly. And painful. But if you’ve ever loved someone with an eating disorder, or someone with a touch of madness, you should listen to this book. It will open up your heart even while it is breaking it.
"Good, but style and audio issues"
This book provides a good description of the anorexic / bulimic experience. I have read other reviews which state that it is inaccurate on this front, but there is no "one" experience of any illness - every individual's experience is different and Lia's experience is certainly not inaccurate. I don't think it either glamorizes eating disorders or moralizes on the issue, and is responsible about showing consequences.
If you are reading for an insight into what it's like for these girls, then this book will do the trick. But if you are suffering from an eating disorder, or ED thinking and emotional patterns, this book will not help and may act as a trigger.
Personally, I found the style irritatingly over-written and I probably wouldn't read another Laurie Anderson book. Her writing style is chock-full of so many mixed metaphors and similes (sometimes several in the same sentence) that I think it gets in the way of the story. It draws attention to the writing, and distances you from the characters. Does anybody (let alone a teenager) truly think like this?
I found the ending wrapped up too quickly, and not entirely plausibly.
My main issues were with the audio-recording, however. The reader is good, but for some reason, certain phrases/memories are recorded with a muffled voice. Probably in the print version, these phrases are in italics or something, but the audio technique is just annoying. You find yourself reaching for your iPod to check your headphones before realizing that it's that audio effect again. In the meantime, you've been yanked out of the story and lost a few lines.
Also, and I'm not sure if this is supposed to be a sound effect or if it's just some recording noise that hasn't been scrubbed from the final version, but there's an occasional "booooop" tone every so often, playing over the narration. If it's intentional, then I am stymied as to what it's supposed to signify, because I can't make out a pattern. If it's an error, then it's just not acceptable.
"I love the book."
The book is brilliant, it has an actual story to it and is well written.
The reader for this book however, is boring and does the story no justice.
I expected a much better reader from this service.
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