Wintergirls: A Journey into a Disordered Mind
Laurie Halse Anderson’s Wintergirls artistically tells a story exposing the mentality of eighteen-year-old Lia struggling with the death of her bulimic friend Cassie and her own anorexia. Lia strives to learn the circumstances of Cassie’s death, only knowing that she was found dead in a motel room. Lia seems healthier yet grows worse as Cassie’s ghost frequently appears to her. Anderson’s fictional story reveals the true mindset of a disordered girl and her path to recovery. Lia works hard to reach her goals. Her extremist ways almost lead to her death; however, she realizes the importance of her life.
Lia’s most apparent objective is her obsessive need to lose weight and be thin. Lia finds sneaky ways to hide the disorder from her family. She manipulates the people around her and shuts them out when they attempt to help. Lia omits meals, over exercises, and eats as little food as possible. At the height of five feet five inches, she starts at a weight of 101.3 pounds. Lia references the “danger zone,” meaning the weight that will send her back into a hospital. She wears a heavy robe with quarters sewn in the pockets and rigged the scale for when her stepmother, Jennifer, weighs her once a week. Lia repeats hateful names and self-harms as a punishment she feels she deserves due to the pain of starving. Lia successfully drops down to eighty-nine pounds yet still cannot be assuaged. She craves the control and power she possesses over her body. “The only number that would ever be enough is zero. Zero pounds, zero life, size zero, double zero, zero point. Zero in tennis is love. I finally get it” (Anderson 220). Cassie plays a big part in Lia’s eating disorder. Cassie had bulimia nervosa disorder, causing her to overindulge then “get rid of it.” Lia and Cassie make a bet to become the skinniest. Even when Cassie tries to be healthy, Lia sabotages her recovery so she will not be alone. The dangerous competition...
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