Book Review: The Rent Collector by Cameron Wright

August 23, 2013

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Reviewed by Tutor Monica Hawse, AACLC Tutor

I just finished reading an outstanding book which I’m sure other Literacy Council members would also enjoy.  The book is a compelling story about how learning to read makes such a dramatic difference in a person’s life. Here’s my review; if you could pass it on to others, that would be great!  

 The Rent Collector by Cameron Wright is one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. It is about Ki Lim and Sang Ly and their sick baby who live at Stung Meanchey, the largest municipal waste dump in all of Cambodia. They make their living by scavenging recyclables from the trash. It has all of the elements of a good read: well-developed characters that you soon grow attached to, a fascinating storyline, an education about a totally different and difficult way of life–and it also focuses on love, mystery, and the power of hope.

Cameron Wright is a wonderful storyteller; I loved his writing style. Although the book is a novel it is partly derived from Cameron’s son’s documentary of life in Stung Meanchey. A wonderful surprise awaits you at the end of the book, where there are photos of Ki Lim, Sang Ly, and baby Nisay, along with scenes of life at the dump. Somehow these photos made the novel even more meaningful.

I strongly recommend reading The Rent Collector–you’ll be glad you did.

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