Ahoy there me mateys!
holes (Louis Sachar)
This was another book recommended by my first mate. He wanted to watch the movie with me and as usual, I wanted to read the book first. I had heard good things about this one including that it had won the National Book Award and the Newbery Medal. So I checked it out . . .
I actually really loved this one. First of all I adored the first two chapters and how they set up the novel. The main character of Stanley Yelnats is just plain wonderful. He is cursed and has to go to a juvenile camp for a crime he did not commit. And let’s just say that the camp wasn’t like anything he was expecting.
It wasn’t really like anything that I was expecting either. The kids have to dig holes in the dirt in the middle of nowhere as part of their punishment. One a day that is as tall and wide as a shovel. Weird, no? Of course, the reasons for that get explained over the course of the novel. But what I liked best about the story was watching Stanley be in a situation out of his control and dealing with it through grace and with strength. I loved in particular his unlikely friendship with the kid named Zero.
In addition the novel tells the stories of Stanley’s ancestors and the reasons for and effects of their family curse. It also tells the story of Green Lake and what happened in that community. This is done by interspersing the facts of these interrelated things through the narrative of Stanley’s story. I very much enjoyed the story of Mary Lou and Sam despite how it turned out.
The book was quick to read and very enjoyable. Give it a go.
Side note: A teacher at my old high school used to read chapters from Sideways Stories from Wayside School periodically during school assemblies. I did not know who the author was though I liked the stories. Surprise! Same author as this book. Oh and the movie is worth watching. The author wrote the screenplay for it too . . .
The author’s website has this to say about the book:
Stanley Yelnats is under a curse. A curse that began with his no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather and has since followed generations of Yelnatses. Now Stanley has been unjustly sent to a boys’ detention center, Camp Green Lake, where the boys build character by spending all day, every day digging holes exactly five feet wide and five feet deep. There is no lake at Camp Green Lake. But there are an awful lot of holes.
It doesn’t take long for Stanley to realize there’s more than character improvement going on at Camp Green Lake. The boys are digging holes because the warden is looking for something. But what could be buried under a dried-up lake? Stanley tries to dig up the truth in this inventive and darkly humorous tale of crime and punishment—and redemption.
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