Poppyseed readers: This book is great for older teenagers (and young adults) about to go to college or enter the workforce. It contains minor profanity throughout, but addresses important issues of which we should all be aware. Use your discretion to determine whether it is appropriate for your child.
Trashed, a graphic novel by Derf Backderf, is loosely based off of the author’s own experiences working as a garbageman. The main character, Derf, is a college dropout who has moved back in with his mother. She convinces him to inquire about an ad for a job she sees in the local paper. You can almost hear the disillusionment in his voice when he says, “I would have preferred something with AC.”
Early on, Derf tells his friend and coworker that if he receives some sort of “sign” he will quit the garbageman job and go back to school. Immediately, he tumbles out of the truck on to some trash bags. Yet he doesn’t quit his job. Even after verbal abuse from his boss and rejection from a girl he knew in high school, he forges on and continues to learn the ropes of garbage collecting.
This provides an interesting commentary on the financial and overall instability that young adults face as they enter the work force. In the aftermath of failure, surrounded by frustration, it can be a lot easier to make plans for change rather than follow through with them.
Backderf does sprinkle in a little humor throughout the book, along with really important facts and insight into how much trash we produce annually as individuals. He gives readers a visual representation of the depth of landfills and encourages us to curb our garbage addiction before it is too late. Additionally, he discusses how our disposal methods have changed over the years.
If you can tolerate a little profanity here and there, this is a book that will entertain you and make you think about your place and the impact you have on the world around you. At the very least, perhaps it will inspire you to thank your garbage collector.