Book Review: Trash by Andy Mulligan

As a high school English teacher, I am always looking for great whole-class reads. I think that I might have found one with Andy Mulligan's novel Trash. One of the challenges I face in selecting books that I can use with all students in a class is readability because I have a variety of students in front of me and because I read aloud lots and lots. (Not every book is great when read aloud.)

And, I am forever looking for accessible, interesting, and current World Lit. Yes, I know that there are tons of adult books that are great out there that also qualify as World Lit, but it can be difficult to find a whole-class read that is interesting and dynamic and written about a culture other than the US.

Trash will take my students to a place that they have definitely never been.  Lots of my students live in poverty, but not like these kids. This story takes place in an unidentified South American/ Latin American country where the law is lawless and the people suffer under corrupt politicians and police officers. This is a world unlike any other that I've ever read about. Scenes that take place in the dump where the children live and in the prisons are so full of vividly disturbing imagery. There is no way to read this book and not picture the absolute hell that these people live in, sometimes for their entire lives.

But, this book is more than just a sad story about the lost children of the dump. It's a mystery and a political expose and it's told through the eyes of several characters. The adventure that these boys take you on will be wild and intense, but feels real and like a tiny little victory for human kind. It's a suspenseful read. I loved it. Now, I just need to come up with a plan for reading it with my students. That shouldn't be too difficult!