Holes by Louis Sachar (1998)
In this second post on young peoples’ fiction with a family history theme, I read the award winning novel, Holes by Louis Sachar.
I’m not sure how it is I never really knew about this book before, when it’s been around for a while and has something of a cult following. This is seriously good fiction, with baddies, delinquent kids, a mystery, a curse, and a backstory to keep you guessing – the family history part of it. Whatever your age, child or adult, boy or girl, you should read this story. There’s a good chance you won’t be able to put it down.
Stanley Yelnats is our protagonist - the loser kid we’ve probably all felt like at some time or another but poor Stan really does have bad luck, attributable to a family curse. He’s sent to a juvie camp out in the desert:
“A sign in front said, “You are entering Camp Green Lake Juvenile Correctional Facility.” Next to it was another sign which declared that it was a violation of the Texas Penal Code to bring guns, explosives, weapons, drugs or alcohol on to the premises. As Stanley read the sign, he couldn’t help but think, Well, duh!
Each day the boys must dig a massive hole - something to do with building character although if they find anything, they are given a day off. Hmmm. I won’t give anything away but a reviewer said that Holes is the kind of book that improves with each reading, showing you just how complicated it really is although as a read, this is simply a darned fine story that ties up at the end. And there are nice bits, such as this at the end of a chapter after Stanley has taken the rap for stealing a bag of sunflower seeds:
He went over to his hole and to his surprise it was nearly finished. He stared at it, amazed. It didn't make sense. Or perhaps it did. He smiled. Since he had taken the blame for the sunflower seeds, he realized, the other boys had dug his hole for him.Click here to grab a library copy though you might need to place a hold.
“Hey, thanks,” he said.“Don’t look at me,” said X-Ray.Confused, Stanley looked around – from Magnet, to Armpit, to Zigzag, to Squid. None of them took credit for it.Then he turned to Zero who had been quietly digging in his hole since Stanley’s return. Zero’s hole was smaller than all the others.
There are also formats from eBook to audio CD, and if the weather falls apart over the holidays, there’s the 2004 movie on DVD with young Shia LaBouef as Stanley.
Here’s the trailer. But go and read the book first!!