I love when you can read a book in a single setting. It seems like in 2013, as I write this (although you are now reading this in 2014) I am so numbers focused. I am hyper vigilant about how long it takes me to read a book and what my reading challenge percentage is. So, when I come across books like A Trick Of The Light by Lois Metzger, I get excited because I know that I will be able to read the book in a matter of hours and that usually the book will center on something that I am interested in. As much as I make fun of issue heavy books, I do find them interesting because I don’t believe being a teenager is sunshine and roses and I think that the more these books bring the issues out to light, hopefully the less stigmatized they will be and the more people will talk and hopefully address these issues if they have them or know someone who does. A Trick Of The Light is a first for me as far as the issue goes, I have not read any other books that deal with the same issue.
Mike Welles is going through a tough time. His mother, a professional organizer, is depressed and when she isn’t helping people put their lives in order, she is sleeping. His dad, a lawyer, is spending all of his free time at the gym. The tough family situation is starting to get to Mike. At first, he turns to food for comfort and finds himself getting heavier and out of shape for the baseball team that was so important to him. He consistently compares himself to his best friend, Tamio who is half-Japanese and half-Jewish and totally fit.
It is when he is at the end of his rope that Mike begins to hear a voice in his head, telling him that he needs to lose weight, and the voice also gives him all these tips on getting his weight down. Outside of his head, Mike runs into weird girl Amber Alley who has an eating disorder and also helps Mike in his quest to lose weight. From there, A Trick Of The Light is about the different little tricks Mike uses to trick doctors and to continuously slim down to a dangerous level. It also goes into how Mike recovers and his treatment. In all, the whole plot is interesting, but a bit much for me to take. Not that I am doubtful of the issue, because there is no doubt in my mind that it happens.
I never really connected all that strongly with Mike. I mean, I think Metzger writes him in such a way that makes you want to empathize with him. Like, I read the book and felt bad for him. However, I never felt like I wanted to be BFFs or hang out with him or anything, ya know what I mean? On the other hand, I really loved his best friend Tamio. That kid is cool, confident, happy in his quirks and has his head screwed on right. He also cares deeply about his best friend, enough to kind of help Mike through what is going on. There’s also an ill-fated romance in A Trick Of The Light I won’t go into depth or anything, but I will say that the girl Mike connects with does turn into a positive influence.
It seems like we always hear about girls and eating disorders but never really stop to consider that boys get them too. I mean, I actually didn’t think as a teenager that boys could be anorexic or bulimic. I don’t know, I didn’t have that much common sense as a teenager, ha ha. Anyways, I get why so many ED books feature females — because it’s much much more rampant and more likely. And I think a part of that manifests from our media which really does celebrate thin bodies and well, occasionally the bigger, more solid body but not often. I mean, maybe there’s a shift going on, or at least I hope there is. But yeah, I just I think that there are a lot of societal pressures to be small and thin and I think that it absolutely affects guys too. Maybe not to be thin, but to be fit and to not be fat. I don’t know. I am not sure what I am saying except that it sucks that we haven’t gotten to the point yet where we can accept people with the weight that they are and happen to be, rather than make people feel that pressure to fit into a certain body type as a society. So yeah, A Trick Of The Light by Lois Metzger is an alright read about a boy with an eating disorder and it’s one that will get your gears turning, I think.
Disclosure: Review Copy Provided By Publisher
Other reviews of A Trick Of The Light by Lois Metzger:
Girls In The Stacks – “a raw, real book that deals with an overlooked issue”
The Book Cellar – “a powerful read that sheds light on an important issue”
Xpresso Reads – “What a strange little book this was”