18 October 2013

Review: A Trick of the Light by Lois Metzger

A Trick of the Light by Lois Metzger

Published: 18 June 2013 by Balzer + Bray

Pages: 189 (hardcover)

Genre/s: YA, Social Issues, Contemporary

Source: Own library


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.

My Thoughts

I've read several books about eating disorders in 2013, but A Trick of the Light is the first one with a male main character, and also the most unique.  The narrator of the story is not Mike, it is anorexia itself, which brings a completely different perspective.  

The story begins as Mike's life starts to fall apart - he's a pretty quiet, unassuming kind of kid, with one best friend and does well in school and in sports - but when his parents relationship starts to disintegrate, he turns to the voice in his head to help him have one thing about his life that he controls - his weight.
I loved the relationship between Mike and his best friend, Tamio in the beginning - although not perhaps the most obvious of friendships, they are drawn together by common interests, but as Mike's illness starts to worsen, he isolates himself from his old friends and the connection starts to weaken.  

Mike's parents, particularly his mother, are fairly present throughout the story, although they are caught up in their own issues for the most part, and although his mother does become more involved by the climax it did make me feel more sympathetic towards Mike that the people who should have loved him the most didn't realise just how ill their son was becoming until it was nearly too late.

It only took me a couple of hours to read A Trick of the Light, and that was actually my main negative about it.  At times it felt like things were moving along far too quickly, and although I can understand that Mike was vulnerable and the situation spiralled drastically, it felt like there were big chunks of time that were glossed over rather than given the attention they needed.    The upside is that I found this a very hard book to put down - I read it in practically one sitting, alternating between sadness and hopefulness.

Metzger is pretty unflinching in her writing - there's not a moment where it felt like the seriousness of Mike's illness was being made light of, and it's definitely a compelling story.  


  1. Sounds like a very interesting book, anorexia is usually protrayed as an illness only women have, and it's quite interesting that it is shown it isn't!
    Great review!

  2. I don't know that this is for me...I read few "issues" books...but I love that the MC is male.

  3. I've really been wanting to read this one. I love male POV and it sounds so different. Too bad things move so fast but I think I'm still going to give A Trick of the Light a try.

  4. So, I had an audio version of this one, but DNFed it because the writing style was incredibly confusing when translated to audio. I think I will have to try it at some point, if only for the uniqueness of a male perspective. Also, unflinching is basically my favorite descriptor for contemporary novels.



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