I think a great deal of us were assigned ‘Holes,’ by Louis Sachar to read it middle school, only to be drowned in good company in a sea of other great reads like ‘The Hobbit,’ ‘Ender’s Game,’ and ‘The Giver.’ But the obligatory nature of these book that, for me, just became homework, caused them to dissolve into the white noise of writings that didn’t matter. And while some of my friends really did enjoy the book back then, I was to busy reading ‘Hank the Cowdog,’ and pretending to understand the ridiculous plots in ‘Superman’ comic books. I didn’t give near enough attention to the awesome book by Sachar.
Stanley Yelnats was given a choice. The judge said, “You may go to jail, or you may go to Camp Green Lake.” Stanley was from a poor family. He had never been to camp before.
’Holes’ is about a cursed kid named Stanley Yelnats; cursed because of the mistakes of his ‘no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather.’ (his last name is his first name backwards… too cool… my name would be Scott Ttocs… which sounds eerily close to buttocks… what would your name be?) He is a boy who was wrongfully accused of stealing the shoes of a famous baseball player: Clyde “Sweetfeet” Livingston. When in reality, the shoes fell from the sky onto his head… a story the judge didn’t buy. As a result He finds himself at Camp Green Lake. A name that does nothing to describe the desert waste land where he is supposed to spend the next 18 months of his life. As punishment, he is to dig a whole 5 feet wide and deep everyday- including weekends. The duty is masked as a task that builds character, but something is not as it seems, it doesn’t take the hero long to see that the corrupt leadership of Camp Green Lake is not having Stanley and his peers dig holes for no reason. There is something more than character building happening at camp.
Holes is a spectacular book that went over my head in middle school because I didn’t take time to appreciate the foreshadowing, the allusions, and the heartwarming, and heartbreaking elements that Sachar so brilliantly uses to supplement the core storyline. Allusions to Stanley’s ancestors, camp green lake, sweet feet, and Kissin’ Kate Barlow are all used masterfully as clues to what is really happening in Stanley’s tale.
Killer Lizards, onion juice, Sploosh, gypsies, treasure, curses, and outlaws… Holes is a great book that was OK in adolescence, and wildly entertaining as an adult. It is a book about fate, justice, and the unraveling of an intriguing curse upon the descendent of that ‘no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather.’ It goes on shelf 4 1/2 of 5. How do I put in there you ask? You’ll have to see my bookshelf.