Thursday, December 24, 2009

Wintergirls, Laurie Halse Anderson

Dear Laurie Halse Anderson,

Why are you so great? That is all I want to know. How do you do it?

Sincerely, Me

Seriously. She is amazing. How does she remember so much about being a teenage girl and use those memories to create specific and unique characters who are at the same time universal? It goes without saying that Speak is one of the best books I've ever read. It is incredibly well written but part of my opinion does come from my own personal high school experiences. That book was a book made for me. I wish I had read it when I was 15, 16, 17. I think it would have helped me so much then. It helped me now as a fully fledged grownup.

So, Wintergirls has been on my shelf all year ever since it came out. I knew I wanted to read it because I plan to eventually read everything that Laurie has written but I just never picked it up. I think part of me was a little scared to start reading it. I knew it would be sad, depressing, and most likely quite painfully brutal to read. But I was also sure it would be amazing. And I was completely correct in my predictions.

I read it in one sitting alternately panicking about what would be on the next page and crying my tired little eyes out. The moment with Lia and her mom discussing how mothers can recognize their babies by scent. I could not stop crying! It is just so, so sad and tender. I could probably write forever about this book but I don't want to go there at the moment.

What I liked the most came at the end when Lia got angry at all the wasted time and experiences she had missed along the way being so utterly consumed by her illness. I relate to that. I think there is a line that you come to where you can decide you want to work on getting better or that you are going to keep working at whatever self-destructive tendency you've been dealt. I remember feeling that way that if I didn't wake up and start doing something different years would go by and I would be the same sad person. Did I want to be 25, 30, 40 dealing with the same issues?

And I loved the last page:

"There is no magic cure, no making it all go away forever. There are only small steps upward: an easier day, an unexpected laugh, a mirror that doesn't matter anymore. I am thawing." (p.278)

Blog Template by