Published by David Fickling Books, ‘Trash’ is a dystopian fiction book that welcomes us into the somewhat unwashed arms of Raphael, who lives his life as a dumpsite boy with his two friends Gardo and Rat. Told by Raphael himself but with interchanging narrators throughout, we learn that he and his friends don’t have a lot going for them, other than their friendship. But one day, that all changes when they stumble across a bag and this bag fundamentally changes their lives forever and brings about the unexpected. It had to happen eventually…all that trash and not one thing of worth to be found? Surely not! But in the end, is this leather bag that Raphael has found worth it? Once the police and an old foe start to track them down, Raphael begins to wish life could go back to normal and he could just be sorting through rubbish, invisible to the world.
For me, it’s the fact that the children are suddently noticed because they had something of worth that resounded with me the most. The plight of these three children, and indeed children around the world is horrific and they are taken advantage of. It is refreshing to find a book so solely focused on the survival of the underdog. Whilst Raphael, Gardo and Rat are uneducated, smelly dumpsite workers- they have a lot more going for them than others; friendship, perseverence and courage.
This isn’t a comfortable book, in the sense that it doesn’t hide behind its fiction. These three boys live an upsetting life, and this is true of children in Latin-American countries. We are forced to address this issue throughout and I read the book humbled and very keen to read more from Andy Mulligan. If you want a book that will stay with you and mean something to you, then I would highly recommend this.
ISBN: 9780385619011, David Fickling Books, £10.99, Published: September 2010.
On a final note…what a stunning cover. Three boys against the world.