THE GARBAGE KING

Elizabeth Laird, Author, Anna, Editor . Barron's $14.95 (336p) ISBN 978-0-7641-5679-3 ISBN 0-7641-2626-1

This workmanlike novel clearly portrays the grim options facing street kids in Ethiopia. After the death of his drunken, abusive mother, on the verge of eviction from the home he shares with his sister, Mamo is kidnapped by a man masquerading as his long-lost uncle and sold into slavery on a farm, then escapes back to the city. Spoiled, wealthy Dani takes to the streets when his lackluster performance in a private school so enrages his father that he plans to send Dani to live with his tough old Somali servant ("If anyone can make a man out of you, Feisal can"). While Laird (Jake's Tower ) faithfully sketches the dangers facing these protagonists, many relationships seem superficially developed. For example, Mamo's sister is said to have raised him and cared for him ("She'd staggered around with him on her hip, though she was hardly more than a toddler herself"), but she reacts to his disappearance with relief and feels guilt ("although she hardly knew why") only when she learns he has joined a gang of godana , street kids, "the lowest of the low." The hierarchical, communal relationships between the boys in the gang prove stronger if a bit stereotypical. While the resolution, especially Dani's return to his family, glosses over many of the problems Laird has introduced, her cautionary tale warns readers about the experiences awaiting runaways of any nationality. Ages 12-up. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 11/10/2003
Release date: 09/01/2003
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.