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
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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