Bethany Miller's Reviews > Trash

Trash by Andy Mulligan
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review
Jan 12, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: 2011-yalsa-top-ten-best-fiction-for
Read from November 16 to 19, 2010

Fourteen-year-old Raphael Fernandez is a dumpsite boy. He spends his days picking through the trash to find the plastic, paper, cardboard, and glass – all of these materials can be gathered, weighed and sold. Most often what he and the other boys find is stupp – their word for “human muck.” In a city where running water isn’t readily available, stupp wrapped in paper often winds up at the dump. One day Raphael comes across a small leather bag that contains a map, a key, and a wallet with 1100 pesos and the ID card of a man named Jose Angelico inside. That evening the police come to the dump offering a reward to anyone who finds and returns the leather bag, and that’s when Raphael know that he has something important. Instead of turning it over to the police, Raphael shares what he has found with Gardo and Rat – two other dumpsite boys. Rat recognizes that the key is the type used for the luggage lockers in the train station, and the three set out to investigate. What they find there will lead them down the dangerous path of a mystery involving very powerful people. Raphael, Gardo and Rat are unlikely detectives. They are poor, uneducated and parentless, but their difficult lives have made them survivors. Solving this mystery could be their way out of the dump and into a better life.

Though Trash is a mystery, it is also a story about poverty. Mulligan’s depiction of Behala Dump and the lives of the people who live and work in its filth are both horrifying and eye-opening. Mulligan states in his acknowledgements that Behala Dump is based on a place he visited in Manila, but the country where the book is set remains unnamed, conveying the universality of his theme. Readers will fall in love with Raphael, Gardo and Rat. They have been ignored by society their entire lives, but they have not lost their love for life or the spirit to fight for something better. The twists and turns in the plot will keep readers engaged, but more importantly they will be rooting for these dumpsite boys to succeed.

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Trash.
Sign In »

No comments have been added yet.