Friday, June 5, 2009

Artichoke's Heart by Suzanne Supplee and Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

I read these two books, one right after the other. I wanted to take the food off of the cover of this book and give it to the main character in Wintergirls.

In Artichoke's Heart, southern gal Rosemary has a lot going for her. She's smart, has well-meaning friends, and a beauty salon full of people willing to offer advice. But these things that she has going for her are also her downfall. Her mother is pushy, and her aunt, well, her aunt is a piece of work who really just does not get it.
Good intentions, with too much emphesis on looks, may be this book's downfall however. Obesity is one of the fastest growing diseases in this country, especially among young people. And you don't find too many fiction books for girls about weight loss and a main character. But I am not completly certain I always liked the way this book represented Rosemary's actual weight loss. The diet drinks she consumed sounded terrible, and should have had a more adverse affect. And her positive changes in nutrition, so important for young girls, should have been highlighted.

Scenes with wonder-boy Kyle will make shy girls smile, and the best friend is the friend we all want to have. Positive and resourceful. But in the end, Rosemary discovers that her weight-loss journey was never really about weight loss, it was about discovering herself.

By comparison, Wintergirls is the story of a downward spriral of anorexia. A far more common topic in teen literature, but this one is a shining star that surpases the collection. An emotionally difficult to read book but an important one for everyone, parents, teachers and students to read.

Lia and Cassie, Lia and Cassie, both wintergirls, both stuck, frozen in their own thoughts. Their world consisted of a competitive game of calories, scrutinity, and scale sabotage. Until it kills Cassie. Now Lia is left alone to play the game with Cassie in her head, telling her what to do. Lia tries to outsmart her father, stepmother, stepsister, and finally her mother. But through it all can she outsmart her own deepest inner thoughts.

This books is frightening and devastating at the same time, because you know it is true. When food becomes an enemy, for weight gain or loss, it is time to seek help. Events can spiral out of control so quickly, before you even know it is happening.