A Trick of the Light/Lois Metzger: Reflections

Sunday, July 21, 2013

A few weeks ago, on a warm summer day, I made my way to Books of Wonder, in New York City, to panel-up with a number of pretty amazing young adult novelists. (I don't think panel-up is a real term, but I'm going with it.)

Beside me sat Lois Metzger, whose brand-new book—A Trick of the Light—brought out a crowd of Lois fans. Lois read from the book with a little off-stage help from her husband while their handsome son took photos.

A Trick of the Light sheds the spotlight on a little-discussed but surprisingly common condition—anorexia in teen boys (or "manorexia," as one of the characters puts its). Metzger's protagonist is an intelligent boy with family troubles—a young man who is taught the ravaging art of not eating by a young female friend. Narrated by the voice inside young Mike's head, the novel inventively presents the private thoughts of a boy whose increasingly distorted image of himself wreaks havoc on his life—and health. An ambulance will ultimately come for Mike. Rehabilitation will be required.

Lois did considerable research to write this book, and one feels the depth of her insight in passages like this one:
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 the summer. Anorexia uses that work ethic to force you to exercise even when you're famished and exhausted.
A new and important look at an issue that deserves our attention, and compassion.


Serena said...

You all look happy!

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