Depressing Realistic Fiction

I finished reading Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson last night, and instead of writing another review, I really just feel like talking about the book.

Cassandra and Lia are wintergirls, two former best friends who stopped talking to each other and made a blood oath that they would be the skinniest girl in the school, skinnier than the other. Six months later, Cassandra is found dead alone in a motel room with no explained cause of death. What no one knows is that before her death, Cassie called Lia repeatedly for help. 33 times to be exact. And Lia never picked up.

Now, Lia is haunted by Cassie’s death and her guilt for not answering the phone that night, as well as dealing with her parents and stepmother who keep trying to help her with her eating disorder when she doesn’t want to get better.

wintergirls

Wintergirls reminds me of a phase I went through last summer where I just kept reading depressing realistic fiction. And honestly, I liked it. The characters are more insightful even if they’re depressed and screwed-up. In fact, it’s the screwed up-ness that gives them their free-spirited personality.

These books always makes you wonder why you even bother conforming with society when you could just do what you want and still be happy (or at least independent in a sense)

“I don’t know how they do it. I don’t know how anybody does it, waking up every morning and eating and moving from the bus to the assembly line, where the teacherbots inject us with subject A and subject B, and passing every test they give us. Our parents provide the list of ingredients and remind us to make healthy choices: one sport, two clubs, one artistic goal, community service, no grades below a B, because really, nobody’s average, not around here. It’s a dance with complicated footwork and a changing tempo”

-from Wintergirls

That quote almost completely describes me, which is kind of scary, because I’m not too sure why or how I do it either. Maybe I just don’t have the nerve to go against what everyone else says. And that’s another theme that keeps going around through all these books:  You have to be strong in order to be different. Lia referred to her refusal to eat as “being strong,” and in other books, the main character either doesn’t care or manages to deal with everyone judging them or trying to “help” them.

So now that I’m questioning all of life now, on to the next book on my list: 1984. If anything, I feel like this book’ll make me go crazy and start talking in newspeak like most of the people I know who’ve read it, or just make me start thinking about everything and make me confused. Again. Yay.

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2 thoughts on “Depressing Realistic Fiction

  1. Beware with 1984 though. I read "Burmese Days" and that book was brutally realistic. The ending was not happy. What's sadder is that when you think about it, that ending was the happiest it could have been. It deals pretty heavily with that concept of "being different". I still recommend it though…it's amazingly well-written and his characterization…oh god.

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  2. Pingback: Dissecting Middle School | Educated Opinions

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