self harm

Book Review: Wintergirls

22310019Another book based on eating disorders, which I’d definitely not recommend for anyone recovering or struggling with these issues. It also includes a lot of self harm and suicidal references, so just be warned.

This was another amazing book. I personally suffer with both anorexia and self harm, so this was so incredibly relatable to me. One major difference is Lia’s relationship with Cassie – her best friend who suffers with bulimia. The two of them encourage each other through their weight loss journeys, giving tips and even challenging each other to become the thinnest. I could not imagine having a relationship like this. I know several other eating disordered people, one of whom is a good friend, and we would never dream of acting like this. It was quite sick, honestly – I hate all the pro-ana stuff. But I suppose some people do it.

A quick observation: they never actually use the terms “anorexia” or “bulimia” which is interesting. There’s often a sort of rivalry portrayed between the two disorders, and the diagnosis of anorexia is held as some sort of accomplishment. It was refreshing to read a book that doesn’t mention that, and even sees them ‘working together’.

At the very start of the book, Cassie dies. Lia eventually learns how exactly that happens, but refuses to let it affect her because her and Cassie had fallen out a while ago. Lia’s eating habits seem to be getting worse (again) and her family think it’s Cassie’s death that’s triggered her, but Lia denies it. But when Cassie’s ghost starts haunting her and begging her to join her, Lia realises how out of hand it’s become.

The little details of the eating disorder were fantastic. The way Lia always quotes calories whenever talking/thinking of food, her estimating every other woman’s BMI against her own, even her initial “I want/need food” that she denies. It all felt so much like my own experience.

The ending was definitely one of those “inspiring” types; who ever would’ve thought Lia would actually work with the unit she’d been admitted to so many times and actually try to recover? I liked how honest this was, though. It wasn’t just a simple, clean recovery. There were fears and bad days and also the realisation that she had been avoiding real life, afraid of it. It’s hard to confront the underlying issues of a disorder like this.

I really loved this. It was just so accurate and inspiring and actually made me cry a bit. It did trigger me at times, but that’s probably just because I’m in a bit of a wobbly place right now. The ending has definitely provided me with hope, though. (Usually these books are focused on younger girls, but Lia is my age. It makes me feel like maybe I still have time to find my motive to recover.) 5 stars.Bookmarked Signature Logo

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Book Review: Paperweight

Paperweight - Paperback Cover

Paperweight by Meg Haston – Paperback, 287 pages – Published 2015 by HarperTeen

This. Book. Is. Amazing.

There aren’t enough books about such serious and common topics like this. I’m not going to lie, I found this rather hard to read due to how it brought back so many personal memories for me. I should warn any potential readers that this book includes a log of negative language about body image, mentions of self-harm and suicide, and a lot about eating disorders and behaviours.

Stevie, a 17-year-old girl who’s mother left and brother died, has her self-destruction plans halted when her father sends her to an eating disorder treatment centre. This book follows her through a twenty-seven day period of pain and conflicting thoughts and emotions.

Throughout Stevie’s time at the treatment centre, the reader is told about her life through little snippets here and there. We learn about her behaviours and thoughts as her eating disorder developed, about the day her mother left, and the time around her brother’s death.

Stevie is carrying so much guilt and pain, and all she wants is to disappear on the anniversary of the accident. But her shrink, Anna, is desperate to help her live her life.

This book is so accurately written. The things Stevie thinks and does often reflect myself and people I’ve known while really struggling with eating disorders. The daunting prospect of recovery looms over her, making her unsure of what her goal really is. She was so sure she wanted to die… But now she’s met Ashley, and Anna, and rethought her plan. What once seemed so simple and obvious, Stevie is no longer sure she wants.

Paperweight is so emotional, accurately telling the story of Stevie’s personal experiences with an eating disorder as well as her struggles after her mother moved away and her brother was killed. It combats so many topics that I’ve rarely seen in other books, and is just so greatly written… I love it. 5 stars!