Carroll, Dan, Slum. Vanity Press Books, 2013. pgs. 306. This book takes place between New York and San Cristobal. In a world where San Cristobal’s Cienaga village slum is hidden away and its residents are seen as the scum of the town, comes along Robert, founder of the charitable organization, Kids of the World. Since losing his wife and twin daughters Robert has never quite been the same. In an attempt to find solace and a place in life, Robert starts up a charity to help provide proper health care to children who have no hope of going to school. When his brother, Wendell donates $1 million dollars to be used in Cienaga. When Robert gets there, he sees a guy get hit by a car and pays for him to be sent to a hospital. Doing so, introduces him to Pedro’s wife, Julianna, her daughter, Alba, and her other family members. Alba, a six-year-old little girl has a hole in her heart and needs open heart surgery. Now more than ever, the little girl reminds him of the two daughters he lost and he’ll do anything to get Alba the surgery she needs and to find a way to improve the life she was born into. Doing so, however, will mean making a deal with the devil, Marco McGraw, the country’s leader up for reelection. Will Robert sacrifice his principles for the greater good? Will he find purpose again in his life?
One great aspect of Carroll’s novel is the love Robert seems to have for Alba and her family even though he barely knows them. This book is endearing and well-written. The characters are likable and well-developed. The mix of seriousness, love, and humor is masterfully done.
The one problem with this novel is it does drag in a couple of places, but the reader’s attention is never lost. I would definitely recommend this book for someone who likes endearing novels that are character- driven and take place in different countries will enjoy reading this book.
4 stars, HS, Adult