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4.6 out of 5 stars28
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 25 July 2004
I found that the Garbage King was a very sad and emotional story about a boy called 'Mamo' in Ethiopia. We first find that Mamo lives with his sister and is already living it rough, and as we journey through the book with Mamo things get tougher. But the question is, Is there a light at the end(And even if there is or isn't a light for Mamo, what about everyone else living it tough, rough...and in poverty). The garbage King puts everything into perspective, it teaches us not to take things for granted in life... it seperates the rubbish from the riches in life. I recommend this for everyone who's anyone.
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Mamo is a boy whose precarious family life just got more dangerous. Living in a shack in Addis Abbaba with his feckless mother and his teenage sister, his mother finally dies, leaving the family in debt and under the threat of homelessness. Mamo's sister finds a job, but Mamo is less fortunate and is tricked into a life of slavery in the Ethiopian countryside by a man who sells him to a cruel farmer. Mamo spends months working out how to escape and make his way back to the city where he joins a street gang. In the meantime Dani is a boy whose wealthy father cannot tolerate failure or Dani's dreamy nature. Dani, scared of being sent away to be tutored by his father's harsh, ex army colleague, runs away and learns to live rough, meeting Mamo and his gang along the way.

This is an emotive book which speaks vividly of a life so alien to our own that it is hard to think that this is reality for many children in countries less fortunate. It reminded me of the work of Beverley Naidoo, which deals with similar themes of children in exile, who are put in dangerous situations through no fault of their own. It was well written and compelling. I would recommend it for children aged eight and up.
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on 11 January 2012
This story follows the lives of two boys living in Ethiopia. One,Mamo, living in the slum area, is tricked and taken away from his home and sold to a cruel farmer. The other, Dani, doesn't get on with his bullying father and when his mother goes to England for an operation is threatened with being sent away to a cruel man. Both manage to run away and accidently find each other. I got into this story really quickly, though at the beginning I did feel like I was reading two stories merged into one. They are accepted by a street gang and begin a life in the slums. It brought home to me how many children in the Third World have a terrible childhood.
Short-listed for the Carnegie Medal
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on 30 September 2012
Beautifully written sad child book about a group of boys on the streets of Addis. A rich kid who is despised by his father runs away of fear to live with the fathers former colonel when is protective mother falls sick. Another boy, born to an impecunious prostitute mother is picked up by one of her former clients when she dies. Pretending to be an uncle wanting to give the boy a job the uncle ends up to be a trafficker selling him to an impoverished farmer who treats the boy inhumanly cruel. After almost committing suicide he runs away and finds a truck driver who brings him back to Addis where he meets the rich boy on a cemetery while both are looking for shelter. They find protection by joining a group of street children, who beg, pick up food scraps from restaurants and scavenge through garbage. Each of them has to suffer from their own sad story, but by joining bound and find warmth. The formerly rich kid's talent to write stories brings extra BIRR to the group of boys but also the discovery of his whereabouts by his former English teacher.
Reading this while living in Addis myself puts things into perspective. Although one can't help everyone and has to overlook a lot of begging and pick-pocketing one still feels the harshness of their lives and shouldn't become inhuman oneself.
A well written story, teaching a lot of lessons, very suitable for kids aged 10+ but also adults.
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on 18 November 2003
This book is just so good. It is set in Addis Abbaba, and tells the story of some street kids and their daily fight for survival. The story is actually a series of different stories of the individual street kids whose stories are all very different. What I liked most about the book is that it avoided the cliches of poor little motherless/fatherless children.
I am so looking forward to her next book coming out.
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on 10 May 2012
I personally think that this book brings lots into perspective. It is very emotional, therefore, it teaches you a lesson. About how it is like for people like Mamo, [A poor orphan], And Dani,[A boy whos rich but only thinks about his stoumouch and not for anyone else] The purpose of this story, is that even though Mamo and Dani are completely different ppl, they accept eachother. They trust each othter with their lives which is a big thing to do for such different people. I hope people feel the same way as i do about this. Elizabeth Laird does have a way with words and wisdom. Her storys are fantastic but they always have a moral. Thanks 4 listening. I recommend this book to 10 onwards because it is emotional and heartbreaking at times.
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on 11 October 2012
This book is an emotional and sad story about two boys named Danny and Mamo in Ethiopia. Two different boys who live two very different lives. I think this story is very sad but exiting at the same time because you don't know what's going to happen next. This book is recommended to all bookworms out there! You learn a lot about people who live in Ethiopia and it gives you quite a feeling of what it feels like living in the streets. This book is worth buying or borrowing from the library.
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on 6 May 2010
Superb. She really has "got it". Although essentially a children's book, a must read for anyone interested in Africa/Ethiopia or "Street children". Written with style
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on 24 February 2011
I found the Garbage King very emotional and touching. I am currently learning about the save trade and reading this book through Mamo and Dani`s eyes helped me to understand what those poor unfortunates went through. This was my first book on my Kindle and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Elizabeth Laird has written a truly brilliant book. I recommend it highly and advise the most sensitive of readers to keep a box of tissues at bay!
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on 20 November 2011
I had heard about this book & though I'd read it at some stage. Bought it on Amazon for amazing price. It was my travel companion for a couple of days on train! So so so disappointed when i got to the end of the book because it was SO GOOD! Really gives an insight into a life I had never really thought about. Characters are so likeable. Top marks for a heartwarming read.
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