The Rent Collector

The Rent Collector

by Camron Wright

Overview: 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 really working. Just when things seem most bleak, Sang Ly learns a secret about the hated, ill-tempered woman, the "the rent collector"-she can read! Reluctantly she agrees to teach Sang Ly and does so with the same harshness she applied to her collection duties until they both learn how literacy has the power to instill hope and transcend circumstance. Based on a true story, set in the abject poverty of Cambodia against the backdrop of political oppression and the atrocities of the Khmer Rouge.

Dale Israel (12/28/17): Who would think that a book with a title like ď The Rent Collector ď could possibly touch your soul and leave you a changed person? It isnít often that a book like this comes along, a book to be cherished and savored. Whatís amazing is this book takes place in a garbage dump in Cambodia but itís so much more than that. Itís about relationships and the poetry of life. Itís about survival, Love, and friendship. From beginning to end, this book tugged at my heartstrings. I absolutely loved this book! For those contemplating reading it: Boy oh boy. Do you have a treat in store! Enjoy.
Rating: *****

Faith Bowers (07/11/16): This is fiction, though the story is taken from a factual story of the largest municipal dump in all of Cambodia. There are many lessons in the short stories written in the book but the lesson that comes to mind is that noone one is whom they seem. The nasty Rent Collector whom all the tenants feared at the dump was a veteran of the life before the communist revolution in 1975. The homes were supported by their livelihood of sifting through the trash and finding enough plastic and metal to turn into cash for food and rent. Sang Ly and her husband Ki Lim found a book. That book caused both Sang Ly and the rent collector to forge a friendship.

There are fables from Cambodia, descriptions of both the cities and country and the lives of the poor but who have good family values. Learning of another way of life in this story is based on the desire to better one's self through education. This is a universal value and one can only hope that the changes will be effective, anywhere.
Rating: ****

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