One of my favorite authors is Laurie Halse Anderson… I have loved her writing immoderately since Speak came out ten years ago. Yesterday, her newest novel, Wintergirls, hit stores, and a bright, shiny, pre-ordered copy was in my mailbox when I got home from work.
I blew off the rest of the day to start reading it since I just couldn’t wait– I think I’ve been hoping Anderson would take on the close-to-home subject of anorexia/eating disorders, and now she’s finally done it. Plus, she did it while winding this subtle thread of Greek mythology through the story, which I loved (I was the uber-nerd in highschool; I not only took Latin, I was in Latin Club; I went to Latin Club Conventions and won prizes for knowing lots of nerdy Latin stuff. True story).
If you don’t know mythology, you won’t be missing anything critical from the story– the fairy tale/myth references will simply read like beautiful imagery (I hate it when I feel like I have to go look something up in order to understand a novel for god’s sake; here, even if you don’t make all the connections, the images will give you the same emotional information about the main character, Lia. It’s really skillfully done).
Gah! Anderson’s writing is just so incisive and evocative and clean–the amount of meaning she can pack into an economical sentence is incredible. It has the effect of poetry but only requires the concentration of prose. And she manages the kind of unflinching empathy I hope to be able to achieve someday in one of my projects…