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A Trick of the Light Hardcover – June 18, 2013
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From School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up–This is a somewhat familiar story told in a new way: from the disease's point of view. Mike's home life is crumbling. His father has left for a much younger woman, and his mother can barely get out of bed. But the narrative voice readers hear is not that of the 14-year-old, but rather his insecurities, bitterness, and, ultimately, his anorexia. “The voice” eventually eclipses his personality. Mike befriends an anorexic girl who encourages the destructive inner voice and teaches him how to stop eating while fooling those around him. He buys himself a distorted mirror in which he appears ugly and misshapen and looks only at this image of himself. Soon enough, Mike ends up in a hospital for kids with eating disorders. He leaves restored to health, but still prey to his insecurities. Mike's stalwart friend and their mutual devotion to the art of stop-motion animation ultimately silence the voice. A chilling, straightforward novel written with depth and understanding, A Trick of the Light shows readers that they must always be vigilant about the voice they listen to–even when it is their own.–Nina Sachs, Walker Memorial Library, Westbrook, MEα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
The first time 15-year-old Mike hears the voice in his head, he’s stunned. “Am I crazy?” he thinks. Things are weird at home; his parents are separating, and Mike is on his own—except for the mysterious voice—until he encounters Amber. Their meeting seems fortuitous, since Mike has vowed to get in shape, and Amber seems to know everything about nutrition. What he doesn’t know is that Amber is anorexic, and her advice is dangerous. Meanwhile, the voice is becoming increasingly powerful and insidious, promising Mike that he can be fit and infinitely strong if he will just exercise obsessively and avoid food. Eventually, Mike winds up in the hospital as one of the million males in America who have eating disorders. Metzger’s cautionary tale is made more powerful and dramatic by her choice of narrator: the voice in Mike’s head. Readers will be easily caught by the quandary: Will the voice prevail, or will Mike recover control of his mind—and his body—before it’s too late? Grades 7-12. --Michael Cart
Top customer reviews
Probably the most interesting part of this book, for me, is the POV, which is told from 'anorexia.' This eating disorder is given a personality and thoughts, and for some people, this probably resonates a bit too well. The anorexia is constantly convincing Mike all the reasons that he should work out more, eat less, and strong body, strong mind, infinitely strong and it's really, truly scary how convincing this voice can be.
I feel like my soul was just ripped out of my chest, stomped on, and shoved back in a tangled mess. Maybe a bit dramatic, but damn, does this book make you feel.
I really don't know what else to say, except to read this book. I really think this is something that everyone should read at some point in their lives. I haven't read a book that has made me think or feel this much in awhile, and I know A Trick of the Light is going to stick with me for quite some time.
God, will this book make you feel.
As often happens in Metzger's work, there's an aspect of the thriller in "A Trick of the Light": all is not as it seems when we meet the main character, Mike, in the book's opening pages. Who is it that is talking to us, the readers? Is Mike being stalked by a malevolent presence? Readers will enjoy trying to guess what is going on. Only much later do we realize that it Mike's anorexia itself, seductive, blinding, and addictive, that is speaking.
Metzger's prose is spare though not plain, allowing the characters to come through fully alive; and her sense of humor, and thus Mike's, is intact, providing a necessary leavening of this harrowing subject. Her dialogue is true to life and flawless. As always, Metzger treats all her characters with compassion even as here she is unflinching in her descriptions of how anorexia clouds the mind and destroys relationships. I learned quite a lot about the disease from reading this book.