Image a future where people’s livelihood depends upon what is thrown away. People make money selling other people’s trash. They are born in the trash and they die as part of the trash. People construct houses made of old tries and string. Corruption is rampant and no one trusts what the government is doing. There is poverty, crime, and injustice.
The charismatic and adventurous trios of young boys, Rat, Raphael and Gardo, make up the main characters. They live in this sad future called Behala and they have stumbled upon a mystery that could allow them to escape the trash. It can also lead them straight to their deaths. The only question is- will they survive their adventure?
The plot is fast paced and touching story that keeps the reader engaged. Some may find it difficult to keep track of the multiple narrators, but I feel that it allows the narration to move quickly and gives the reader different perspectives on the events in the book.
What interested my students and I the most was the inspiration for the novel and some truths to the story. Although the book takes place somewhere, some place in the future, there are some strong similarities to the trash heap communities in Manila and Guatemala City. My students searched the web for images of Smokey Mountain, Philippines and saw first hand the setting Mr. Mulligan depicted in the novel. My students were intrigued to see that the “fiction” in the story actually had some truth to it.It also brings up some important issues on environmental responsibility and poverty.
The book is marketed for 5th grade reading level and up. The topics brought up in the story would also be interesting to young adults who are interested in the dystopian genre. What makes this book different is the fact that conditions like the one in Trash currently do exist in the world today. This book is currently up for a state reading award and I can completely see why.
Creates good discussion