“People say to me, 'I guess you just never know what you'll find, sifting through rubbish! Today could be your lucky day. ”
In a way, 'Trash' by Andy Mulligan is an adventure story. Three boys out to uncover a mystery, much like the Famous Five! But instead of living in a quaint little English Village, these boys live in the squats of Behala. Sifting through other peoples rubbish to find anything worth money.
Behind the adventure and excitement of the story is the stark reality of the terrible conditions in which some people live. The book also focuses heavily on police and government corruption, exposing how difficult it is for people in this situation to get out. Of course this is a fictional book, but we have all seen the appeals on the television, children on rubbish dumps living in squalor. This is real! And I feel that Mulligan does a good job of bringing the situation to life in his book.
“I learned that the world revolves around money. There are values and virtues and morals; there are relationships and trust and love---and all of that is important. Money, however, is more important and it is dripping all the time, like precious water. Some drink deep; others thirst. Without money, you shrivel and die. The absence of money is drought in which nothing can grow. Nobody knows the value of water until they've lived in a dry, dry place---like Behala. So many people, waiting for the rain ”
The book serves as the diary of the events which occur after one of the boys, Raphael, finds a bag on the rubbish dump. Unbeknownst to him, what is inside the bag is very valuable information which the police are in high pursuit of, and which eventually leads Raphael and his two friends into danger and onto adventure!
I really enjoyed the way that the book was narrated, split up between the 3 boys, each taking their turn to tell their part of the tale. Occasionally we would hear from other characters too, helping to give a fully rounded account of events.
“It fell into my hand: a small leather bag, zipped up tight and covered in coffee-grounds. Unzipping it I found a wallett. Next to that a folded up map - and inside the map, a key.”
It didn't take me long to read this book, partly because it wasn't very long and partly because I couldn't put it down! I was rooting for the main characters the whole way through, and was pleased when good was finally able to triumph over evil. I always love it when a book has a satisfying conclusion!
“With the right key you can bust the door wide open. Because nobody's going to open it for you.”