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Trashed – Derf Backderf

December 20, 2016

Trashed is a great fictional graphic novel by Derf Backderf that uses his experiences as a garbage man in the 1970s and 1980s, in a tiny town in Ohio, to tell the story. It reads like a normal book, but, in a sense, it’s a tribute to all the workers who have to deal with garbage removal. Trash, the smell, maggots, and waste that have been left out for days on end, this is what garbage men have to deal with. I would assume that working within these conditions could leave a worker sick and depressed. The main character is a college dropout named JB, who is still living in his mom’s house; his mom finally gets fed up with him leaving his garbage around the house and asks him to find a job, so he does. In the newspaper, there’s an ad for trash collectors, and he decides to take up the offer.

In the graphic novel, the reader will find that the book is depressing because of how horrible and disgusting this job is, or, they may appreciate the humorous side of the “shittest” job ever that this college dropout experiences. Not only does JB have to collect trash, he has to fend off rabid neighborhood dogs, deal with jerky teens, collect road kill, and, finally, handle his uptight boss. As depressing as the book may come across in the beginning, readers may start to see how much trash is accumulated in their household in just one week. Americans generate about 389 million tons of trash annually, we recycle only 29 percent of our trash, and send 63.5 percent of it (246.9 million ton every year to landfills. On average, 5.06 pounds of waste per person is disposed every day . . . and there are 321 million of us in the U.S. alone The book is still funny and engaging with the unique characters and all the small, interconnected scenes.

If I were to rate this book, I would rate it a 9/10. This book is fun, adventurous, and intriguing. In addition, it’s a social commentary about how we interact with our planet. The amount of garbage that is thrown away everyday is insane; this book subtly shows us, as the reader, how we affect the earth and what we can do to better manage it.

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