A Trick of the Light
Publication 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 copy was provided by FSB Associates for review-
What a strange little book this was. Narrated by anorexia, A Trick of the Light is a lightning fast story about a boy who’s has a run-in with this illness. I felt it was a little like an afternoon special on fast forward, but I did enjoy the book nonetheless. It touches on a topic that is so often misunderstood, told in the unique voice of the illness itself. Because for someone with anorexia, it becomes exactly that: an entity that takes over your thoughts, your life.
This choice of narrator is excellent as it shows the aggressive nature of the disease. It puts in the forefront how brutally insistent it becomes and I appreciated the ugly truth of it all. Mike, like so many teenagers, has problems with his self image which quickly turns unhealthy when he meets a girl who tells him her secrets: how to eat as little as possible, and how to hide this habit from others. Finally, getting through to him at last, anorexia exclaims. As quickly as this book moves, the narrator makes it easy to understand how this illness can take over your thoughts so thoroughly and dangerously. It’s incredibly sad to understand how someone can lose themselves to such a treacherous disease. I also liked that it was a boy dealing with it, as society can make it sound like it’s only girls who have critically distorted self-images.
This plot goes from point A to Point B to resolution in under 200 pages, thus it doesn’t go very in-depth in regards to the emotional and physical consequences the disease evokes. It’s more a quick foray into the life of someone who briefly succumbed to it. While it’s not unrealistic, it doesn’t bring us into the abyss that Mike is trapped in. I instead felt like I was simply reading a recap.
A Trick of the Light does raise an important message, now more than ever in this Photoshopped media world we’re living in. It’s a moving, uniquely told story about a highly destructive disorder.