- Publisher: Harper Audio (HarperCollins)
- Publication date: 6/18/2013
- Format: Audiobook
- Read by: Walter Gray
- Length: 4 hours and 5 minutes
- Source: Digital audiobook provided by the publisher for review
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.
This is a hard book to review. It's not that I didn't like it because it was good, but I think I just feel indifferent. This is one of those books that I just don't think translates well into an audio. It felt like someone was reading a screenplay to me and it just seemed odd. On paper I don't think it would have seemed weird, and I think I would have gotten used to it, but as an audio the way it's written didn't work well for me. So that being said, it was an interesting book, and it was about much more than a boys struggle with an eating disorder. It's told from the voice in his head, or the eating disorder we come to realize pretty quickly. I liked that. This was very complex, but came across as simple due to they style of writing. It never had the emotional impact I think it was supposed to, but it was hard for me to connect to Mr. Eating Disorder who is the one telling the story.
So although we are in Mike's head, it's not in his POV. We go through this with the illness in his head talking to us and telling us what he sees and hears. He is insistent and persuasive. Of course, it's not really the illness, it's Mike, but this is obviously how he feels, and he lets this inner voice control what he does. His family is falling apart, the girl he likes is afraid of him, and he is jealous and resentful of his best friend. He really hits a low point, and the voice in his head gives him the strength and power he craves. It tells him he's fat so he needs to exercise, he's pathetic and his friend is way hotter than him and that's why the girl doesn't want him. He needs Amber, who has an eating disorder herself. She helps him to know how to go about it without alerting people what he's doing. This "voice" has total control over him. The sad thing is, his family is too busy falling apart to notice what is happening to Mike until it's gone too far.
I myself was close to having an eating disorder when I was younger, so this book really spoke to me, even if I didn't quite connect. I think it's an important topic, and more than that, the MC is male which you don't see often in books that tackle issues like this. I did competitive gymnastics, so I know how it feels to want to be a few pounds lighter, look a little slimmer in the form fitting leotards, be able to jump or flip higher. I would look in the mirror and see someone who I wasn't. This book really helps to understand how the illness affects the mind.
Overall I did like it. I think it is an important issue that more people should be aware of. Especially that it's not just a female illness. I know that people do know that, but it's always more pushed as something that females deal with and not addressed that males do too. Everyone has body issues at some point or another whether it's logical or not. This really goes into the mind of the illness and how someone might think if they were going through this. Beyond that, it's about family issues too. These characters really need their parents, and it seems like they just brush them aside and don't pay attention. It was a quick read that I think would benefit people who are dealing with similar issues, or just want to know more about it without seeming so clinical. I would recommend the regular book rather than the audio though, only because I don't think this writing style works well in audio format.
*An advanced copy of this book was provided by the publisher for an honest review. I did not receive any compensation.