Joe is abandoned on the streets of Kampala after his mother dies and left to fend for himself. When the authorities begin rounding up street children, Joe takes Mary and her brother to seek refuge at the home of Mama Sarah who runs a brothel. That decision has devastating and tragic consequences. Soon the streets Joe has grown to love become increasingly hostile and dangerous as he is drawn into a world of crime and violence.
Joe and his friends are undocumented self-reliant children whose presence in the city is not welcomed by Kampala authorities. They are seen only as ‘pests polluting the streets', and are easily exploited by those meant to protect them. The people they fear the most are the police. Joe's only hope is to make decisions which will give meaning to his life and substance to his existence. If he doesn't, he knows he will die like his friend Leo died - alone, unknown and un-mourned - just another ‘invisible' child.
Wild Rats is a story of friendship, adversity and survival.
I loved the book. I found it very engaging. I felt drawn into the streets of Kampala and involved in the anguish of these dispossessed young people. The stories of their lives were obviously distressing but their situations need to be brought to the attention of the world. Despite their dreadful predicaments it was uplifting to feel the warmth and friendship these young people felt for each other. Their survival depended on it and it was core of their stories. I thoroughly recommend it.
This story is interesting from the start. The writer takes you to the slums and you almost feel like you are there, trying to survive. I was touched by the suffering of the children. Joe the main character is so observant and a good narrator. Mary and Boy made me cry and Mama Sarah made me so angry. The story makes you think. It is well written. I like the straightforward style of the writer. It is not over described or embellished and was easy to read. You can easily believe it is the voice of a ten or eleven year old. It left me suspended. I want to know what happens next.
The content of the book brought the reality of what children and people have to endure and do just to survive.
The storyline is intense making me react emotionally.
What happens to Joe - can't wait for book II
This book brings out painful issues of the effect and affect of poverty, disease, war and migration on young children. The suffering of the children is so well documented. The failure of government and the community of unprotected innocent children is so painful. The story reflects the suffering of the poor in all major cities of the world and challenges our conscience for action. I recommend this book. Everyone should read it.
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.
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