Louis Sachar – Holes
Length: 272 pages
Genre: Mid-Grade Contemporary Fiction (although with a dose of magical realism)
Started / Finished: 23 December 2011
Where did it come from? The library booksale.
Why do I have it? I’d heard about this book, both in terms of the Newbery, and the hubbub around the 2003 movie, and wanted to see what the fuss was about.
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 15 October 2006.
Falsely charged with a
crime, Stanley’s in a “hole” lot
of trouble. Get it?
Summary: It’s Stanley Yelnats’ first time going to camp – but Camp Green Lake isn’t your ordinary kind of camp. For starters, there is no lake, nothing is green, and the only camp activity is digging holes… and each camper must dig one 5’x5′ hole, every day, in the blistering Texas sun. Stanley’s not even really supposed to be there – he’s innocent of the crime which got him sent to Camp Greenlake – but now he’ll have to find a way to survive, just like everyone else. But he pretty quickly comes to realize that there’s something more to all the digging than just punishment… but what is the warden really looking for?
Review: This book was definitely cute, and certainly put a smile on my face. I was expecting a more straightforward (and less magical-realism-filled) story than it actually was. (Which, in hindsight, was a silly expectation, given the wackiness of Sachar’s Sideways Stories from Wayside School books, which I absolutely loved back in the day.) So I was pleasantly surprised with the interweaving of Stanley’s story with the stories of his great-grandfather and a wild-west outlaw, as well as by the various bizarre-yet-fitting flourishes throughout. I was also impressed that Holes managed to bring up some pretty serious subjects, but never felt dark, or like it was being pointedly provocative. On the flip-side, though, I thought that all of the historical stories made the outcome of Stanley’s quest pretty easy to predict, although that might just be because I’m a jaded grown-up.
Overall, this was a quick, fun read, good for a light distraction, but not something that’s likely to stay with me. While I enjoyed this book, and can certainly understand why it won the awards that it did, it didn’t quite blow me away. However, I think that’s mostly due to my mismatch with the target audience – mid-grade books (that don’t have the force of nostalgia on their side) rarely manage to knock my socks off, but I can definitely see kids of both sexes (but especially boys) devouring this book. 3.5 out of 5 stars.
Recommendation: Definitely recommended for the mid-grade readers in your life, and as a fun diversion for grown-ups as well.
Other Reviews: Alison’s Book Marks, Book Addiction, Books and Movies, Books Love Me, Confessions of a Bibliovore, Kay’s Bookshelf, MariReads
Have you reviewed this book? Leave a comment with the link and I’ll add it in.
First Line: There is no lake at Camp Green Lake.
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