Wintergirls Chapter 9 is an excellent example of how Anderson gives Lia choices and takes things far enough emotionally. Lia arrives home having made it through the day in which she learned her friend, Cassie, died alone in a motel room after leaving Lia thirty-three unanswered messages.
Anderson gives Lia choices: she eats a rice cake instead of Thanksgiving leftovers; she turns down sister Emma’s invite to kick the soccer ball around in favor of retreating to her room and digging out a pill to help her cope; and when her dad comes in at the end of the night to suggest they talk, Lia pretends she’s asleep. With each choice we see her retreat further from her family.
Perhaps more importantly, Lia would also like to avoid the thought of Cassie and any responsibility for Cassie’s death, but the idea dogs her until her father finally gets up and leaves her for the night. At this point, Lia is not just sad she’s lost her friend, or frightened she may be on the same path. Lia is, in fact, plagued by the idea that Cassie’s death is her fault. This is Anderson going all the way emotionally.