Monday, February 24, 2014

Book Review: "A Trick of the Light" by Lois Metzger

Mike Welles is fifteen years old and things are getting weird with his parents.  His mother doesn't do much besides sleep or sit in the tub for hours on end; she barely works anymore and doesn't seem to notice Mike at all.  His father seems to be spending all of his free time at the gym - like he is avoiding being home.  Mike feels lost in the middle of it all...  until he hears a voice in his head that gives him a little nudge toward something he can control:  his weight.

This is a very short, quick, and fairly simple book that talks about an oft neglected topic - that males can have eating disorders too.   I think it is important to recognize this truth of life, but I really wish this was done with a little more depth.  I feel like there is a lot LOT more to this story, more emotions to explore, more chances to connect with Mike that were missed.  Perhaps this is a book geared toward reluctant readers, but I don't see this as something a reluctant reader would pick up.  I don't even see this as something that a person struggling with an eating disorder - male or not - would pick up given its simplistic take on such a complex situation.  I do think that this may be of interest to teens curious about eating disorders and what it might be like for those who are suffering....  but I would probably try to find something else to go with this as well.  Luckily, the author did include a pretty decent bibliography of fiction and non-fiction titles that also discuss this subject matter.

I did like the narrator's voice, and thought that it was a very interesting choice.  I love unreliable narrators, and this one also had ulterior motives!  I also liked how the dialogue was written - almost like a play.  It kind of took the emotion out of it though, and this may be part of why I had trouble connecting with the characters.  But I thought it was a fresh way to present this aspect of the story.

A Trick of the Light
by Lois Metzger
Balzer + Bray, 2013
189 pages
Source:  Library

A Trick of the Light


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