Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Audiobook Review: A Trick of the Light by Lois Metzger

  • 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
 Purchase: Amazon | Audible | B&N | The Book Depository

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.

My Thoughts

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.

18 comments:

  1. I won this book not to long ago. I think the idea sounds cool and based on your review I still think this!

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  2. I do think that the book was good, but it's just not translated well to audio in the style it's written in.

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  3. Huh. Okay, sticking with my DNF of the audio. It was just too weird. It did not transition well at all. O_O

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    1. It was a good book, but definitely doesn't do well as an audio. I see how the writing style would work well as a regular book though.

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  4. It's really tough to review a book when you feel indifferent. Urgh. You did a great job though! HA!

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    1. I really liked the book, it was just the audio was odd.

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  5. I think I get what you're saying, Amy. I have this for review, and am so glad that I have a print copy instead of the audio. It does seem like it would be hard to connect with the story on audio. Great review!

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    1. I think that the regular book would have been much better for me. I hope you like it.

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  6. I find it interesting that the character suffering from the eating disorder is male. It's such a rare thing to find in books so I'm happy that the author tackled it.
    I can see why the audio did not work for you completely because of the inner voice being the narrator. I would probably like it better as a print copy too.
    Fabulous review, Amy!

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    1. It was just so weird. Like the inner voice was telling us what was going on, say a conversation with his mom would be like,
      Mom: Did you get cat food?
      Mike: No, I forgot
      Mom: ...
      (Just an example of how I imagined a dialogue would be written by how it was on audio)
      I don't think this was a good choice of book to put on audio, but I think it's great that this book was written. It's an important issue to tackle.

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  7. This is in a males pov right? I haven't read a story about a male having eating disorders. Sounds great. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. It is. It's actually the voice in Mike's head which is the illness talking. Very interesting way of writing it.

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  8. Interesting! But I agree -- sometimes the more creative the narrative structure, the more the story doesn't work on audio. I'll definitely check out the print version when I have a chance.
    Thanks so much for stopping by! Jen @ YA Romantics

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  9. I think it would be very different reading from a male perspective about an rating disorder. I've never done a review on an audiobook. I've read many and they are all done in different ways so I guess I should just develop my own and overcome that hurdle. I don't have a Harper contact for audio but I do for s&s. great review!

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  10. Is it 3rd person? Not sure this one is for me.

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  11. Its always the books that you feel blah/indifferent towards that are the hardest to write! And unfortunately, I've been reading a lot of those kinds of books lately, which is driving me crazy! Lol. This is def different in that its a guy w/an eating disorder. Interesting. Great review!

    Vi
    Confessions of a Vi3tBabe
    Deity Island

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  12. I'm glad you said that I should look into the real book not the audio version. I haven't had an eating disorder myself, but one of my HS best friends had it. We like.. had four of us in a close circle even though we were friends with most of the people in our class as well. All of us in our class realized that she had become obsessed with training and eating "healthy" (now that I study food science and I just had a course of eating habits, I know how wrong she really ate). Even if we told her to pull back a little, she said 'yes, yes', but she never did. She has had overweight problems since she was born and it's genetical. She looks very pretty though + she has a great personality, but I guess she never felt like pretty. During exam period in our junior year, she didn't come to school for two weeks and we didn't know what had happened to her. So we called her home nr and her Dad said to us that she had been commited to an eating disorder hospital and will come back after a month. That's was a heavy blow for her since she had collapsed and didn't even know her name. She's so much better 4 years later and I'm glad for her. She recently started to work out again and has a personal trainer, a qualified person who makes her eating schedule/list etc and she's doing good. I'm glad for her. I think it's tough and every person is one's own worst critic. I'm glad you didn't turn to this kinda thing for help and I think this book would be great for me to read and understand what exactly went on in my friend's head. I do think that it's considered more of a women's illness than guy's so it'd be interesting to see it from male's perspective. I'm glad you enjoyed it, but sad that you didn't love it. Lovely review!

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