About The Rent Collector

The Rent Collector

Based on true events. Sang Ly lives at Cambodia’s city dump and is grateful she can help earn a living for her family by sifting through the trash for recyclables and things which can be repaired and sold. On a good day, she can earn enough to buy food for her family. She needs enough good days so she can pay the rent collector, Sopeap–a grumpy old woman who shows no mercy and who is willing to evict any tenant who can’t pay their rent on time.

When Sang Ly is unable to pay her rent for the month, she fears her family will have to leave the dump and their shanty home–a place where her only possessions can be carried in two hands. Little does she know that a discarded children’s book found among the mounds of trash would save her. When Sopeap sees the book lying on Sang Ly’s cardboard bed, her mood changes. Sang Ly offers her the book if she is allowed to keep her family at the dump.

An unlikely friendship develops between the two women, and Sang Ly learns that Sopeap knows how to read–something Sang Ly has always wanted to learn. Being able to read could transform Sang Ly’s world beyond the predictable confines of the dump and lead to a future with possibilities and hope. But the rent collector has a secret and tragic past, one that will not be easy for Sang Ly to navigate. With the help of her supportive husband, Ki Lim, and a helpful and humorous boy, Lucky Fat, Sang Ly embarks on a life-changing journey to give her young son, Nisay, a better life and future.
The Rent Collector is about the power of literacy, the influence of the past, and finding hope, resiliency, and empowerment in the face of seemingly endless hardship.

My review

The Rent Collector is one of my all time favorite books. It’s one of the first books that really touched me, and taught me something about our world. I was really excited when I saw that it was being adapted for young readers. And they did a really good job with the adaptation.

I love Sang Ly. How can you not love a woman who works as hard as she does to learn to read? Sang Ly lives in a dump in Cambodia with her husband and young son. They have to pay rent to live in the dump, believe it or not. And that’s kind of how the story starts.

Sopeap Sin is the rent collector. A woman that most people who live in the dump make fun of. But she sees a book in Sang Ly’s home and it touches her. Sang Ly asks Sopeap Sin to teach her to read. And she learns so much more from her than how to read.

I loved the way learning to read helped Sang Ly learn to make sense of the world around her. And it taught her more compassion for those that were around her as well. It made her brave. And helped her through the hardest things she had done in her life.

I love how this book teaches the huge importance of literacy in each and every one of our lives. And now a whole new generation can learn that lesson!

I was sent a copy of The Rent Collector as a gift from the publisher. All opinions are my own.

Purchase links

Amazon (affiliate link) – Deseret Book

What to read after The Rent Collector (affiliate links)

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