DIEGO, RUN!
Deborah Ellis

 


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Publisher: Allen & Unwin, May 2007
Reviewed by Sally Roddom

Deborah Ellis is a superb writer for young adults, and her newest work does not disappoint. Moving her attention from the plight of children in Afghanistan, she now looks to Bolivia. Also titled I AM A TAXI, DIEGO, RUN! tells the story of twelve year old Diego whose parents have been wrongfully jailed for drug smuggling. He and his baby sister live in the women's prison with their mother. The children of the prisoners are free to come and go. Diego uses this freedom to become a ‘taxi’, running errands and selling produce in the city for the prisoners. A position of great trust.

His friend Mando, another prison child, comes up with a get rich quick scheme, convincing Diego that they can make easier money by going off to work for two men for just two weeks. Despite his misgivings Diego follows Mando, and the two boys find themselves trapped stomping coca leaves in cocaine pits in the jungle.

This is a very quick book – easy to read and riveting. Diego is a very strong character with firm principles and a quick mind. This heart-wrenching adventure story tells a story which rings true as it looks at corruption in Bolivia, the treatment of minors, and the cocaine trade. Author Deborah Ellis has written a note at the end of the book giving a brief history of Bolivia, and facts about children and the cocaine trade. There is also a glossary.

Oct 2007 review originally published on Murder and Mayhem

 

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