Survival for Ki Lim and Sang Ly is a daily battle at Stung Meanchey, the largest municipal waste dump in all of Cambodia. They make their living scavenging recyclables from the trash. Life would be hard enough without the worry for their chronically ill child, Nisay, and the added expense of medicines that are not working. Just when things seem worst, Sang Ly learns a secret about the bad-tempered rent collector who comes demanding money–a secret that sets in motion a tide that will change the life of everyone it sweeps past. The Rent Collector is a story of hope, of one woman’s journey to save her son and another woman’s chance at redemption.
This book was absolutely amazing. It did take me a couple of chapters to get into it–I wasn’t sure I was up for reading about such heart wrenching conditions of life, but I am so glad I kept reading! The more I read, the more I fell in love with the characters, and the more awe I felt over their perseverance and hope for a better life. Wright does an excellent job portraying the setting and describing events I never imagined could take place in a dump: from gang fights to compassion showed to a stranger. These people had so little, and yet still lived lives full of love and joy. I walked away from this book feeling more appreciative of the things that I have.
I have a passion for literature, and this book is a wonderful story about the power of literature-how the written word can change hearts.
Some quotes I loved about literature are:
“Literature has the power to change lives, minds, and hearts.”
“But literature is unique. To understand literature, you read it with your head, but you interpret it with your heart. The two are forced to work together-and, quite frankly, they often don’t get along.”
“Sang Ly, we are literature-our lives, our hopes, our desires, our despairs, our passions, our strengths, our weaknesses. Stories express our longing not only to make a difference today but to see what is possible for tomorrow. Literature has been called a handbook for the art of being human.”
“Whether we like it or not, hope is written deeply in our hearts. We love the story because we are Sarann or Tattercaots or Cinderella. We all struggle with the same problems and doubts.”
It is an engaging, heartfelt, and incredible story, full of lessons about life and about the importance of hope. There are many lessons to be learned, and I put the book down still thinking about all of them. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves literature, or who just needs an incredible story of hope.