This work is so important. Wild Rats is an unusual book. The author C.J. Wacha has succeeded in opening the door just a little further to the realities of How Life Is Elsewhere, (in the modern city of Kampala, Ugnanda, Africa) something that I wish more people were interested in, and knew about, and cared about. Suffering and mistreatment of human beings, especially children, is not an easy read, but this is one of many realities that don't make the news or the paper, nor the interwebs, and it is important to know that lives like these childrens' lives exist, and that they matter.
It was fascinating to read through different situations and well-developed characters (both adult and child) how these friends and communities support each other, or not. I loved watching Joe, the protagonist, weigh out his values and his grief over the losses in his life to figure out what is most important to him, and then either trusting or not trusting the people in his life or in his path. This story is like life often is: you have to wade through the painful times to make the beautiful moments shine brighter. Living through that process with Joe is both emotional and rewarding.
Another thing I really enjoyed was getting to know a foreign city through the author's words. She clearly knows this city, this culture, and both the strengths and the challenges in this society, and I never would have glimpsed that if it were not for this book.