Author: Lois Metzger
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publish Date: June 18th, 2013
“Mike Welles had everything under control. But that was before. Now things are rough at home, and they’re getting confusing at school. He’s losing his sense of direction, and he feels like he’s a mess.
Then there’s a voice in his head. A friend, who’s trying to help him get control again. More than that—the voice can guide him to become faster and stronger than he was before, to rid his life of everything that’s holding him back. To figure out who he is again. If only Mike will listen.
Telling a story of a rarely recognized segment of eating disorder sufferers—young men—A Trick of the Light by Lois Metzger is a book for fans of the complex characters and emotional truths in Laurie Halse Anderson’s Wintergirls and Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why.”
A Trick of the Light by Lois Metzger tells the story of fifteen year old Mike Welles and how he develops, hides, and finally receives help for anorexia.
Before reading this book I knew that boys could have anorexia. I knew it was possible, but I'd never heard of an actual case before. I'd never really thought about what it might be like for a boy. You hear the stories of girls with eating disorders all the time. Models, actresses, girls you went to school with. Everyone's heard about a girl with anorexia. It's more common for a girl to be insecure and fall into that pattern of wanting to be thinner and attractive. When I think of boys trying to get in shape I think of weight lifting and trying to get bigger not smaller. But Mike's story really opened my eyes to the way anorexia works. The way it seeps into the victims mind and takes control.
The most unique part of A Trick of the Light is definitely its narrator. The book isn't told in the point of view of Mike, the victim. It's told from the point of view of Mike's eating disorder. The anorexia is its own character and as the reader you get to watch as it slowly takes control of Mike's life, tricks him into thinking he's becoming stronger, better, when really he's just wasting away. It's like a real life monster, destroying Mike from the inside out. This is a genius move on Metzger's part. To separate Mike and his disorder. Somehow this odd narrator makes you root for Mike and the people around him, but helps you understand the disease at the same time. You see the manipulation going on in Mike's head. The sickness in action.
The thing I liked most was that Metzger didn't sugar coat anything. She showed eating disorders for what they are, showed the tricks anorexics use to hide their weight loss from people and doctors. She took Mike and the reader into hospitals specializing in eating disorders, showed the truth of the disease, but in a way that illuminated and taught without sounding like a text book.
This was a book I picked up and read in one sitting because I just couldn't put it down. It's short, but profound. A Trick of the Light will definitely be sticking with me for a long time. While the ending might not have been wrapped up neat and tidy, it did show growth and hope for the future and that's much more realistic anyway.
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