In A Trick of the Light, Lois Metzger writes:
“Everything that’s good about you –anorexia loves it. Anorexia takes your intelligence and creativity and uses it to lie, repeatedly and convincingly, about why you don’t eat, why you wear long underwear in the middle of summer. Anorexia uses that work ethic to force you to exercise even when you’re famished and exhausted.”
Anorexia nervosa is a serious disease characterized by dramatic weight loss, and an obsession with weight and food. Some of the statistics may surprise you. Twenty percent of anorexics are male according to a recent article in GQ magazine. A 2002 study from Health Canada found that four percent of boys in grade nine and ten use anabolic steroids, illustrating that teenaged girls are not the only ones who are preoccupied with body image. Despite these harrowing statistics, even health-care providers often fail to identify eating disorders in males, says a 2013 article published in The Toronto Star. Male anorexia is simply not discussed in our society—it remains a hidden issue, which is why A Trick of the Light by Lois Metzger is such an important book.
In A Trick of the Light we follow Mike Welles, a teenaged boy suffering from anorexia. With Mike’s story, Metzger traces the course of anorexia and sheds new light on this disease. Metzger uses an intriguing writing technique to get the point across: A Trick of the Light is written as a first person narrative, not told by Mike, but by a little voice in his head. It soon becomes clear that this voice is anorexia. By personifying anorexia, Metzger gives readers a new perspective on the disease. After reading this book, I felt as though I better understood the mindset of a person suffering from anorexia and the path that the disease takes.
A Trick of the Light is an important book for both teens and parents and is not only entertaining, but has great potential as a learning tool. Create an open dialogue by reading the book as a family—get talking about anorexia. The only way to fight the stigma and shed light on anorexia in both boys and girls is to start talking.
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