Book: The Rent Collector by Camron Wright
Genre: Literary Fiction
Rating:★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
For: Book Club (not mine, my mom's!), Supporting Local Authors
From: Bought it!
Short Synopsis: A young mother living in a dump in Cambodia wants to figure out how to make her sick baby better. When she realizes the ornery rent collector knows how to read, she begs her to give her lessons. She feels the ability to read will better both her life and the life of her baby. In the process of the reading lessons, she not only learns to define literature, but she learns the back ground of the rent collector herself and it's not at all what she imagines in the beginning.
My Response: A very profound look at what's important in life. Is it where you live? What you own? Or is it what you know? Or maybe what you've experienced? I enjoyed this look into a lifestyle so different from my own. I also enjoyed the look into the history, the terrible history, of the Khmer Rouge... stuff I remember hearing about when I was a kid, but never really understood. Not that I understand it now, except that it's not a good thing.
Side note: The author came to my mom's book club and told the story about how this book came to be. His son was working for the Cambodian Children's Fund and wanted to do a documentary film on them. But he ended up finding this woman and her family and filmed them instead. It went on to win a bunch of awards. The author was so moved by this family, that he decided to write their story. The book is fiction, with most of the story of the rent collector made up, but the family it's about is real. There are even pictures included!
Bottom line: I really enjoyed this one!
Let's Talk About: One of the interesting things the author discussed when he came was how they have tried and tried to hep this family get out of the dump, but no matter what they do to help, they just keep on living there and doing what they know best.. how to pick garbage and scrape out a living at it. We talked about the "teach a man to fish" thing, but it seems it just doesn't work. What a frustrating thing this is! What do you think?
This story is eye-opening, intellectual, heartbreaking, and inspirational. From Sincerely Stacie
The Rent Collector has such a great message about hope and happiness amid struggles and trials. From I Am a Reader
I will savor this book, the characters, the message and my personal thoughts about life’s perspective. From Bookworm's Dinner
My heart was so moved by this tender story. A triumph rising out of tragedy and hope out of despair. From Swinging on Small Hinges