Trash is a very original story, following the lives of three ‘trash boys’ who discover a bag in amongst the city’s rubbish; this bag will lead to the corrupt police out to kill them, an incredible journey and an unforgettable tale, which builds suspense up , keeping you glued ‘til the very end, and is paced very well. I thought it was very clever how story unfolded, and ingenious how important the letter in the bag turns out to be.
You really feel for the three main characters – they are what really made the novel for me – and seriously hope that they triumph in their important mission. The writing isn’t exactly beautiful, but Mulligan is very good at describing the scene and getting into the mindset of the narrator and simple words are used lyrically, as though you are reading a fairy tale, with bluntly powerful words used to describe the horrors of their way of life. I have a few very slight niggles about Trash, firstly, and it could have been easily solved by putting an exchange rate at the start, and that was that I don’t know the worth of the currency (pesos, which does make the novel more authentic) used so I found it hard to know how much things were worth – eleven hundred sounds like a lot, but it doesn’t appear to actually be so. I also found that, in some chapters in particular, the narrator changed far too rapidly, and let to a lot of confusion and re-reading on my part, and in some cases I didn’t think the alteration of narrator was entirely necessary. Finally, not knowing where exactly the novel was set – the Philippines for clarification – until you read the author’s note annoyed me a bit, and I genuinely thought it was set in India for a good portion of the novel!
It was a partially sad novel because of the fact that millions of extremely young children and teenagers and adults will sift through mountains of trash in the hope of finding useful trash amongst the muck and waste, which they hope to sell on for mere pennies to support their huge families for the entirety of their lives – a very unhappy existence, I’m sure you’ll agree, but Trash really opens your eyes to these poor people’s sufferings; you see it in documentaries, but you don’t feel the true extent of what they go through until you read this wonderfully unique book.
I was a bit disappointed by the ending on first reading it, but after mulling it over a bit, I’ve since realised that it was ever-so-slightly perfect. Do not read any spoilers for this book – it will ruin it, and you honestly do not want to ruin Trash – it will shock you, and inspire you, and possibly make you cry, but above all else it will make you think and warm your heart.
[SYNOPSIS: 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. And now it's three street-boys against the world...]