Thursday, 16 September 2010


Trash by Andy Mulligan (Random House)

HB RRP $24.95
ISBN 978-0-3856-1902-8
Reviewed by Oliver Phommavanh

Trash is a touching and heartfelt novel for older readers. It’s set in a fictional slum city, where three boys Raphael, Gardo and Rat live on a rubbish dump.

If you’ve seen Slumdog Millionaire then you’re halfway there. Mulligan’s own experiences of living in developing countries shine through in the descriptions, they’re painstaking really detailed. Readers will be captivated with how these boys trawl through the trash to make a living. It sets the scene perfectly for the boys, when they stumble upon a bag with money and a few secrets that the authorities are desperate to keep under wraps. The boys suddenly find themselves in danger, starting a heart-pumping mission that sends them across the city.

There are multiple narrators, between the three boys and even includes other ‘special guests’ who tell the story for a chapter or two. There is no confusion and the different perspectives offer fresh insights into a story that has deeper layers. There’s also a mystery that the street-savvy boys have to solve before they get caught by the police. I was amazed with how they stay ahead of the authorities. It’s got a thrilling pace that doesn’t slow down.

Trash will be an adventure that will crossover seamlessly into the adult world. At the core, it’s a tale of friendship and a determination to change their destiny. It’s recommended for 12 years and up.

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