a little bit of readiNg

Yesterday I wrote a blog post about a book called The Rent Collector by Camron Wright. I had read about half of the book when I decided to blog it, and I made some negative comments. Well, all day today, I felt bad about writing about a book that I hadn't finished. So I decided that this evening, after I went to the gym and had dinner, I'd finish the book and then revise my blog post.

As it turned out, I enjoyed the book very much. It is filled with interesting characters, an engaging story, and lots of retellings of classic literary tales and legends. There are twists and turns in the plot, surprises and sweet moments. The author also weaves a bit of history into the novel.

It is a novel that is based on true experiences and real places in Cambodia. The story takes place in a huge waste dump where people actually live and barely survive by picking recyclables from the trash to trade for a bit of money each day. Their existence is possible because of their hard work and the way they take care of each other.

The writing is good and not annoying. The conversations are real and events believable. One thing I didn't like is that somewhere in the middle, the teacher gets out-of-character preachy. That's when I skimmed through several pages until the story got back on track. I also skimmed through the retellings of several myths and legends - mainly because I was pushing to finish the book tonight. I plan to go back and read the stories because they're the soul of what the book is trying to teach.

The book is about a young mother who learns how to read from an unlikely teacher - the cruel woman who collects her rent. As the reading lessons progress, stories unfold and lives are changed. I have to say how refreshing it is to read a book without worrying about uncomfortable content or language.

As I read, I paused to appreciate the miracle of learning to read. (I have grandkids who are learning to read, and it's something we take for granted.) I liked the celebration of the joy of having a book to read. I felt gratitude as I finished the book and looked at the stack of novels on the table beside me waiting to be read.

There is great background material about the author and his writing adventure, as well as a story synopsis in this review in the Deseret News here