A Trick of the Light
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"A Trick of the Light" Characters Analysis

By Lois Metzger

young adult | 339 pages | Published in 2011

ISBN_13: 9780312655457

Estimated read time: 8 min read

Table of Contents

  1. List of Characters

In the thought-provoking novel "A Trick of the Light" by Lois Metzger, various characters play integral roles in shaping the story. This character analysis delves into the key characters, their roles, descriptions, traits, backgrounds, character arcs, and relationships.

List of Characters

TamioMike's Best Friend
RachelMike's Love Interest
Dr. ReynoldsTherapist
DadMike's Father
MomMike's Mother
Mr. MillerArt Teacher
Coach WarnerTrack Coach
Principal BrownSchool Principal
KarenMike's Sister
EmilyMike's Ex-Girlfriend
SarahMike's Friend

Role Identification

  1. Mike: The protagonist of the story, struggling with an eating disorder.
  2. Tamio: Mike's best friend, providing support and understanding.
  3. Rachel: A new student who becomes Mike's love interest, offering him a different perspective.
  4. Dr. Reynolds: Mike's therapist, guiding him through his recovery journey.
  5. Dad: Mike's father, who struggles to understand his son's condition.
  6. Mom: Mike's mother, who tries to support him but often feels helpless.
  7. Mr. Miller: Mike's art teacher, who recognizes his talent and encourages him.
  8. Coach Warner: The track coach, pushing Mike to excel in sports.
  9. Principal Brown: The school principal, who plays a minor role in the story.
  10. Karen: Mike's sister, who supports him but does not fully understand his struggles.
  11. Emily: Mike's ex-girlfriend, who broke up with him due to his eating disorder.
  12. Sarah: Mike's friend, who provides a listening ear and occasional advice.

Character Descriptions

  1. Mike: A teenage boy with an eating disorder, struggling to regain control of his life and body.
  2. Tamio: Mike's loyal and caring best friend, always there to listen and support him.
  3. Rachel: A new student with a vibrant personality, who sees beyond Mike's disorder and forms a connection with him.
  4. Dr. Reynolds: A compassionate therapist who helps Mike navigate the complexities of his disorder.
  5. Dad: A well-intentioned father who struggles to understand Mike's condition, often resorting to tough love.
  6. Mom: A loving mother who tries her best to support Mike, but is often overwhelmed by his disorder.
  7. Mr. Miller: An encouraging and understanding art teacher who recognizes Mike's talent and helps him express himself.
  8. Coach Warner: A demanding track coach, who pushes Mike to excel physically but fails to address his underlying issues.
  9. Principal Brown: A minor character who does not have a significant impact on the story.
  10. Karen: Mike's supportive sister, who tries to understand his struggles but finds it difficult at times.
  11. Emily: Mike's ex-girlfriend, who could not cope with his disorder and broke up with him.
  12. Sarah: A friend who provides a non-judgmental ear for Mike, offering occasional insights and advice.

Character Traits

  1. Mike: Determined, self-conscious, resilient, artistic, introspective.
  2. Tamio: Loyal, empathetic, dependable, humorous.
  3. Rachel: Outgoing, understanding, compassionate, adventurous.
  4. Dr. Reynolds: Supportive, insightful, patient, knowledgeable.
  5. Dad: Concerned, frustrated, distant, traditional.
  6. Mom: Loving, worried, overwhelmed, nurturing.
  7. Mr. Miller: Encouraging, perceptive, artistic, mentor-like.
  8. Coach Warner: Strict, competitive, goal-oriented, oblivious.
  9. Principal Brown: Authoritative, bureaucratic, distant.
  10. Karen: Supportive, confused, caring, patient.
  11. Emily: Judgmental, insecure, distant, unsupportive.
  12. Sarah: Listener, caring, intuitive, supportive.

Character Background

  1. Mike: A high school student who developed an eating disorder as a result of societal pressures and personal insecurities.
  2. Tamio: Mike's best friend since childhood, who stands by him through thick and thin.
  3. Rachel: A new student at Mike's school, who brings a fresh perspective and understanding to his struggles.
  4. Dr. Reynolds: A highly experienced therapist specializing in eating disorders, offering guidance and support to Mike.
  5. Dad: A traditional father who finds it challenging to comprehend his son's disorder, often resorting to tough love.
  6. Mom: A caring mother who tries her best to help Mike, but often feels overwhelmed and unsure of how to support him.
  7. Mr. Miller: Mike's art teacher, who recognizes his talent and becomes a mentor figure.
  8. Coach Warner: The demanding track coach, who focuses on Mike's physical abilities rather than his emotional well-being.
  9. Principal Brown: The school principal who has a limited role in the story.
  10. Karen: Mike's sister, who wants to understand and support him but struggles to fully comprehend his disorder.
  11. Emily: Mike's ex-girlfriend, who couldn't handle his disorder and ended their relationship.
  12. Sarah: A friend who provides a listening ear and occasional insights to Mike.

Character Arcs

  1. Mike: Starts the story with a deep struggle with his eating disorder but gradually learns to accept help, embrace his talent, and prioritize his mental and physical health.
  2. Tamio: Remains a constant source of support for Mike, helping him navigate his disorder and offering a caring friendship.
  3. Rachel: Enters Mike's life as a new student and helps him challenge his distorted beliefs about body image and self-worth.
  4. Dr. Reynolds: Guides Mike through the recovery process, helping him understand the root causes of his disorder and develop coping strategies.
  5. Dad: Initially distant and unsupportive, Dad slowly learns to understand and empathize with Mike's condition, becoming a more compassionate parent.
  6. Mom: Struggles to cope with her son's disorder but gradually learns to offer the support and love he needs.
  7. Mr. Miller: Recognizes Mike's talent and becomes a mentor figure, encouraging him to express himself through art.
  8. Coach Warner: Remains focused on Mike's physical performance, failing to address his emotional struggles.
  9. Principal Brown: Plays a minor role in the story, without significant character development.
  10. Karen: Tries her best to understand Mike's disorder but finds it challenging to fully comprehend his struggles.
  11. Emily: Exits the story after breaking up with Mike due to his disorder, without any notable character development.
  12. Sarah: Provides emotional support and occasional insights to Mike throughout his journey.


  1. Mike and Tamio: Best friends since childhood, their bond strengthens as Tamio supports Mike through his eating disorder.
  2. Mike and Rachel: They form a romantic relationship, with Rachel offering understanding, acceptance, and an alternative perspective on body image.
  3. Mike and Dr. Reynolds: The therapist-patient relationship plays a vital role in Mike's recovery, as Dr. Reynolds guides him through the complexities of his disorder.
  4. Mike and Dad: Strained due to a lack of understanding, their relationship gradually improves as Dad learns to empathize with Mike's struggles.
  5. Mike and Mom: Mike's disorder puts a strain on their relationship, but they learn to communicate and support each other better over time.
  6. Mike and Mr. Miller: The art teacher recognizes Mike's talent and becomes a mentor figure, fostering a supportive and encouraging relationship.
  7. Mike and Coach Warner: Their relationship is primarily focused on Mike's physical performance in track, with Coach Warner failing to address his emotional well-being.
  8. Mike and Principal Brown: Their interaction is limited, with no meaningful impact on the story.
  9. Mike and Karen: Siblings who share a bond, Karen tries to understand and support Mike as best as she can.
  10. Mike and Emily: Their relationship ends due to Mike's disorder, with Emily unable to cope with the challenges it presents.
  11. Mike and Sarah: Friends who provide emotional support to each other, Sarah offers a listening ear and occasional insights to Mike.

In "A Trick of the Light" by Lois Metzger, the characters play essential roles in portraying the complexities of an eating disorder and the journey towards recovery. Through their interactions and individual growth, the characters shed light on the impact of societal pressures, family dynamics, and personal relationships on one's mental and physical well-being. As readers delve into the lives of these characters, they are reminded of the importance of empathy, understanding, and support in navigating such challenges.