Thursday, November 21, 2013

Blog Tour: The Rent Collector by Camron Wright


The Rent Collector, by Camron Wright
2012, 304p, Clean Fiction
My Rating=5+ Stars
Source: Copy provided by the publisher for an honest review

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.

I've been wanting to read The Rent Collector for a while and was excited that it was our book club choice this month as well. Once I started reading it, it was hard to put down. Sang Ly and her husband, Ki Lim, are just trying to survive day-to-day by collecting enough recyclables to pay for food and rent. Their young son, Nisay, is ill and Sang Ly is frustrated because he's fine while on medicine, but gets sick again when it runs out and they don't have enough money to keep buying medicine for him. The rent collector, Sopeap Sin, is a mean, drunk woman. One day, Sang Ly learns the first of Sopeap's secrets which brings big changes to Sopeap, Sang Ly and her family.

When I first read the summary for this book, I was intrigued by the location of the story: the dump. I wondered how that would work and what kind of life someone could have living at the dump. It was interesting to learn, too, that if they got evicted for not paying their rent, there were others waiting to move in and take their spot! 

One of my favorite conversations is between Sang Ly and her Auntie. Sang Ly's son, Nisay, is sick and she has a dream where she knows she needs to take him to the Healer who lives in her childhood province of Prey Veng. They pull enough money together to go and have some interesting experiences along the way. Her uncle works for the government and built a new home so they stay in his old home while they're waiting to see the Healer. Sang Ly is talking to her aunt about her struggles and how she misses the province. Sang Ly says it can't be right if fate tries to keep her in the dump. Auntie says, "If it does, then so be it. But remember, the province, though beautiful, has its own pockets of ugliness. While the dump is ugly, it also has pockets of beauty. I think finding beauty in either place simply depends on where you decide to stand." (p. 193)

Life was hard in the dump and Sang Ly hated it but this isn't a depressing book. There's an underlying theme of hope which runs through the entire book. I love the references to literature and the lessons that are taught throughout the book. One of them is that, even though some of the same stories seem to be rewritten time and time again, we find ourselves drawn to them because they explain our lives and teach us to not give up hope and that we are meant to endure.

I enjoyed reading about all the different characters and their relationships and Sopeap turned out to be quite complex. My first impression of her was not good and I didn't like her but after learning more about her and what she had been through in the past to get her to where she was, I completely changed my mind and grew to love her. That is definitely a real-life lesson as well. 

I can't say enough good things about this book. It is easily one of the top 5 books I've read this year! It's a great discussion book for any book club and is also fabulous to read on your own!


      


About the Author

Camron Wright has a master’s degree in Writing and Public Relations. He has owned several successful retail stores, in addition to working with his wife in the fashion industry, designing for the McCall Pattern Company in New York. He currently works in public relations, marketing and design.

Camron began writing to get out of attending MBA School at the time and it proved the better decision. Letters for Emily was a “Readers Choice” award winner, as well as a selection of the Doubleday Book Club and the Literary Guild. In addition to North America, Letters for Emily was published in several foreign countries.

He lives with his wife, Alicyn, in Utah, at the base of the Wasatch mountains and is the proud father of four children.


You can learn more about the inspiration behind the book here.

4 comments:

Katie Watkins said...

I have so many friends who have read this, both on their own and for their book clubs. And they all love it!! I was thinking about choosing it for my month next year and someone brought it up at book club the other night--so now everyone wants to choose it. :) Apparently, my bishop helped edit it. I should've grabbed it while it was on tour, because it looks like I'll be reading it next year.

Melanie Valderrama said...

I'll be interested to hear what you think about it. I believe it will live up to the hype!

Paij Slater said...

I am sooo excited to read this book! I just started!

sanwatson said...

How to clean a rental to move out
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