One unlucky-lucky day, Raphael finds something very special and very mysterious. So mysterious that he decides to keep it, even when the city police offer a handsome reward for its return. That decision brings with it terrifying consequences, and soon the dumpsite boys must use all of their cunning and courage to stay ahead of their pursuers. It’s up to Raphael, Gardo, and rat–boys who have no education, no parents, no homes, and no money–to solve the mystery and right a terrible wrong.”
You know the saying “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”? Well, in the case of Andy Mulligan’s Trash, it really is treasure.
What we have in this book is a well-written, well-plotted treasure hunt story, with our dumpsite boys as the dashing pirates, and corrupt politicians as the … well, the corrupt politicians.
Looking at the book cover, I don’t remember why I decided to buy it. Maybe because it was displayed so prominently in one of the book displays? I was intrigued, I have to admit. National Bookstore, where I bought the book, has discriminating tastes when it comes to displaying books in their more masses-friendly branches. Lately, the discrimination is, unless it’s high fantasy or a supernatural romance, you don’t get featured.
So for Trash to be displayed alongside the Fablehaven series and the Twilight ripoffs (why would you want to rip off something so horrible?), it has to be something special right?
Well, it turned out that this version of Trash is indeed special. It’s an exclusive cover printed for National Bookstore. No wonder they had to give it a prominent space in the display case–with a cover this bad, who’s going to be interested enough to pick the book up and read the back cover?
That’s just my opinion, but if I ask you now what you think of the book cover, what would you say?
The great thing here though is that the really bad cover lowers your expectations for the book–allowing the story to punch you in the gut and say, “I’m awesome, and you shouldn’t judge books by their covers.” And in this case, the book would be right. Granted, if the book did indeed talk to you, you might need psychological help–or an exorcist.
All kidding aside though, Trash is indeed a treasure of a book. It is very well-paced and well-plotted, with lovable characters you can’t help but root for. True, if the characters in the book had approached me in real life, I might have run to the opposite direction screaming (goes with being a slight hypochondriac)–but in the safety of them being stuck within the pages of a book, I wanted to hug them.
Having spent time around people who have an elitist view on literature, I’ve read a large number of corruption stories. Most of what are said to be beautiful, awe-inspiring, and life-changing are the ones that bore me. But Trash tackles the story of corruption in a way that you can see the problem, the people affected by it–and still manage to not feel bogged down by the bleakness of it all.
Andy Mulligan, the author, has a great handle on the story that refuses to take out the hope that lives on even in the most hardened, and poverty-stricken, characters. Trash gives us a clear view of the problem, and still gives us the hope we need to soldier on after reading it.
It’s stories like Trash that inspires people to do something. Maybe not a lot, but enough to make a person more charitable than he used to be. More hopeful that a better future might just be around the corner if we work for it.
Trash is already available at National Bookstore for PhP 299; some friends of mine are waiting (and hoping) for the UK print of the book to arrive in our shores. That one has a better book cover. A way better book cover.