Recommended age: 11+

Trash

by Andy Mulligan

Three young boys live on a dumpsite. They spend the daylight hours sifting through the rubbish and filth trying to find something they can salvage to buy food for their families.

One day Raphael makes a discovery he has only previously dreamed about: a wallet. He tells his two friends but no one else about his find, even when the police are in pursuit.

The wallet holds much more than wealth; there is a secret to be unlocked. It is up to the three boys to unravel the mystery, and to deal with the consequences.

The story is told by multiple narrators - primarily the three boys, but also two people who help them in their quest.

The boys hope that they will receive enough wealth to escape poverty, being able to move their families away from the dumpsite to a new home on an island where they can earn a living by fishing. But they also want to right a terrible wrong which has been exerted at the highest level of government. And their lives are very much threatened by the enormity of what they will expose.

This is a stunning book. It is hard-hitting and fast-paced. Written by a man who spent a number of years teaching in Manilla and who visited dumpsites like this one in reality, it has a powerful and poignant message about the lives many people lead, while also presenting a gripping thriller which is ultimately full of hope and promise.

 

Review date: October 2015
Trash by Andy Mulligan