Thursday, February 17, 2011


I just finished Trash, by Andy Mulligan. Set in "an unnamed Third World country" (though we know the author divides his time between his native London and Manila), it's the story of three boys growing up in Behala, "rubbish-town," the city dump. Raphael, one of the three boys, describes himself in the first sentence of the novel as a "dumpsite boy."

Raphael makes an incredible, life-changing find in the dump, and this novel is the story of that find. It is described--repeatedly--as a "thriller" in the Guardian, but I don't know if that has a different connotation in England, because it wasn't what I think of as a thriller. However the Guardian article is interesting because apparently Trash was shortlisted for a major YA award then withdrawn from consideration. Man, children all over the world are living in conditions as bad as these, but we have to protect rich (relatively) kids from reading about it?

Anyway. I liked this book a lot. Stayed up late to read it and then finished it at school during silent reading time, when I am usually too busy patrolling my students to really get sucked into a book. But this one is so... suckable?

It's also an interesting commentary on the greed of so many of our politicians, almost always at the expense of the poor children like the heroes of this novel. One of them describes the vice-president's house this way: "Look at the towers, man--it thinks it's a castle. It thinks it's in a fairy tale."

This isn't a fairy tale.

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