Trashed by Derf Backderf

Trashed is a semi-autobiographical graphic novel about being a garbageman. For the most part, the book is told in a day-in-the-life narrative, following the three-man truck crew on their routine picking up trash around town. They are the bottom of the food chain at the “Village Service Department.” Picking up engine blocks, roadkill, and lots of maggots. It’s hot, and really stinky!

Backderk includes researched information and stats about landfills, recycling, and even how garbage trucks work. But, there’s also a ton of laughs. Derf lives with the cemetery caretaker who later becomes a part of his crew. Together they go out on the weekends and try their best to wash off the smell so they can make a good impression. A hard-ass boss, a wacky animal control guy, and a bunch of eccentric homeowners makes this one a funny page-turner.

The art is filled with physical humor and some great facial expressions (trash makes you queasy!) I liked this book a lot, but found it a bit long at over 250 pages, as I found some of the days repetitive. And there is some off-color humor in places, be warned. And the overall message is that recycling and re-use is not in any way matching waste. Cynical and dark at times, but there’s some humor that keeps it light.


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