Fifty Plastic Bottles and the Shoeshine Box
Author: Maédeiva Myre
Length: 230 pages
***THIS BOOK WAS RECEIVED FROM THE AUTHOR***
When the author contacted me about reviewing this book, he compared it to The Kite Runner. Having now read this book, I think Fifty Plastic Bottles and the Shoeshine Box can stand on its own without the comparison. Sure, both focus on the events of childhoods in the Pakistan/India area, but the one scene that both seem to share (the rape) seems completely unnecessary in Fifty Plastic Bottles and the Shoeshine Box. This was my only practical qualm with the book. As it is, the author has crafted a well-thought-out narrative that covers plenty of meaningful topics and themes.
Except for the violence perhaps being a little too intense in places, I could see myself reading this to elementary-age children to help them understand a culture different from their own. Not only does the author show the differences between varying levels of poverty, but he does so in a way that is non-judgmental, merely highlighting the disparity between the different castes of Pakistan. In addition to this, we see an example of terrorism and human trafficking that is subtle enough to be a neutral representation of a global problem.
I appreciated the down-to-earth narrative style the author used to convey this story. Occasionally, there would be an excellent vocabulary word, but the language was generally simple throughout, making it a fast and easy read. Because the story is mostly told from the perspective of a child, this style was quite fitting and added to the realism of the plot. The fact that there is no bloated exposition or extreme amounts of details helps to keep the reader in the story and helps the story to progress to its logical conclusion.
A charming and simple book that deals with some weighty topics and ideas, I give Fifty Plastic Bottles and the Shoeshine Box 4.5 stars out of 5.