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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

Fifteen-year-old Aaron lives amongst the rubbish piles in the slums of Cairo. His job? To collect broken glass. His life? Wasted. His hope? To find a future he can believe in. Today in Cairo, Egypt, there is a city within a city: a city filled with garbage--literally. As one of the Zabbaleen people, Aaron makes his living sorting through waste. When his family kicks him out, his only alternatives are to steal, beg, or take the most nightmarish garbage-collecting job of all.…

The Glass Collector

by Anna Perera

Overall Book Review:

The Glass Collector is an intriguing story of a Zabbaleen teenaged boy working in the streets of Cairo.  This book paints a vivid picture of the Zabbaleen culture and a people whose livelihood depends on the collection of trash on the streets of the Egyptian metropolis.  Aaron is a good kid stuck in a bad situation.  He is persecuted in general as a member of a lower class, and individually as an outsider with his step-family; yet he is able to see beauty in the pieces of glass he finds in the alleys and backstreets of Cairo.  Perera does a good job of introducing a people and culture that is largely unknown without bogging the story down in too much background.  She writes a tale that can stand on its own, yet she leaves the “what” and “why” of the Zabbaleen culture to the reader to further discover on their own.  That said, perhaps a little more detail would not be unwarranted.  Perera seems a little hesitant to get into much grit, and Aaron’s story seems to resolve a bit too handily to seem completely real.  Certain events and details leave the reader confused as to their relevance, and others leave the reader wanting further development and purpose.  However, Perera’s goal seems to be to enlighten and intrigue the reader about the Zabbaleen people, and in this she succeeds: an enjoyable and educational read.

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Albert Whitman & Co.

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language:  None

Violence/Gore:  A character is physically abused by his stepbrother frequently, yet there is only one instance described in any detail.  

Sex/Nudity: There is a vague reference to consummating a marriage via graffiti; two instances of the stepbrother handling a woman roughly, though nothing further than kissing happens; an instance of kissing.

Mature Subject Matter:

Persecution, adversity, economic and financial hardship, hunger, scavenging, stealing, disease and death.

Alcohol / Drug Use:

There is one ongoing instance of drug use by a secondary character.  It is portrayed as unsavory and is resolved at the end, warranting mention but not too much concern. 

Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

My favorite activity is cuddling up in a blanket with a good book, especially in the wintertime in front of a fire with a mug of hot chocolate!