Thursday, 7 October 2010
Review: Trash by Andy Mulligan
Publisher: David Fickling Books
Released: September 2nd, 2010
Grade rating: B+/A-
Raphael is a dumpsite boy. He spends his days wading through mountains of steaming trash, sifting it, sorting it, breathing it, sleeping next to it. Then one unlucky-lucky day, Raphael's world turns upside down. A small leather bag falls into his hands. It's a bag of clues. It's a bag of hope. It's a bag that will change everything. Soon Raphael and his friends Gardo and Rat are running for their lives. Wanted by the police, it takes all their quick-thinking, fast-talking to stay ahead. As the net tightens, they uncover a dead man's mission to put right a terrible wrong. It's three street-boys against the world...
Trash is one of those books that reveals itself bit by bit without really giving anything away on the cover. With every chapter there's something new to think about, clues to discover and stories to unravel, which makes for one compelling mystery. Told mostly from the perspective of 3 dumpsite boys, Raphael, Gardo and Rat, Trash is the story of fortune, corruption, fate, and how circumstance can lead to something better.
Trash is a charming tale of Raphael and his friends who all live on a huge, well-used dumpsite. To them, it's a natural existence, and the only way they know how to survive. Digging through rubbish and waste does have its positives, though: they find occasional amounts of money and goods to sell on, thus ensuring they have enough money to buy food and to pay for accommodation. When 14-year-old Raphael finds a key in amongst all the trash, he embarks on an adventure that will change his whole life, and the lives of those around him.
Andy Mulligan writes in a fairly simple but effective style, and one that draws you in immediately. Before long I found myself emotionally attached to Raphael and Gardo, and I wanted to be best friends with Rat. He's shy and resourceful, and so full of energy that it's hard not to smile when reading his entries in the story. I wanted to take him home and give him a hot cup of tea and a Kit-Kat, and show him that human kindness isn't just a myth told like a horror story round a campfire. The boys all see very little of that, though Father Juilliard and Olivia, who work at the Mission School, are great friends and mentors to each of them.
When faced with the most important task of their lives, Raphael, Gardo and Rat all man up and do whatever it takes to uncover the secrets that could change their lives. Their story is a testament to the strength and bravery of others, especially 14-year-old dumpsite boys without the privileges we're so accustomed to. I know this review is vague, and apologies for that, but I don't want to give anything away before you read it. Its appeal lies in its ability to make you fall in love with the characters, and assist them on an exciting, unpredictable journey of hopes and dreams.