A few weeks ago I posted My Top 10 Favorite Books, and asked if you’d like me to write a full review for any of the books on that list. Penny Wood requested that I write a review on Holes by Louis Sachar, which I just so happened to be re-reading at the time. (Your timing couldn’t have been better Penny!) So here we are! (Btw, you guys should check out Penny’s blog – its awesome!)
But before we get to the review, I gotta give a shout out to my cousin for recommending this great book to me! She sent me the book and movie when I was 11, and I wouldn’t have known about this story if it weren’t for her! (Thanks Ginger!) I have now read the book twice and watched the movie countless times, and I am in love with this hilarious story that focuses on fate, friendship, and the choices we make.
“There is no lake at Camp Green Lake.” Stanley Yelnats IV is under a curse, (and it’s all because of his no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather!) Bad luck seems to follow Stanley wherever he goes, and it winds him up at a dry, hot detention center in the middle of Texas. At Camp Green Lake, Stanley and the other boys are made to dig a hole 5 feet deep and 5 feet wide every day on the dried up lake. The authorities at the camp tell the boys that they dig to “build character,” but Stanley quickly discovers there’s something else going on. As Stanley tries to dig up the truth about Camp Green Lake, you will be taken on a wild and wacky ride through time to encounter onions, peaches, pigs, shoes, rattlesnake venom, fate, friendship, and yellow-spotted lizards.
Welcome to Camp Green Lake.
THINGS I LIKED:
The Characters – At Camp Green Lake, Stanley is assigned to D Tent. He quickly comes to know the other boys in the tent, who only call each other by nicknames. Each boy has a unique personality associated with their name. For example, Magnet is known for stealing. “I can’t help it,” he says. “My fingers are like little magnets.” Stanley’s counselor is Mr. Pendanski, whose name is easy to remember. “Three easy words: pen, dance, key.” A higher authority at the camp is Mr. Sir, who wishes to be called by name whenever you speak to him. Oh yeah, and lets not forget about the Warden. “There’s really only one rule at Camp Green Lake,” Mr. Pendanski tells Stanley, “Don’t upset the Warden.” These characters and many more are introduced throughout the story, and they all play a role in the fate of Stanley Yelnats.
The Setting – “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
Let’s be real – what do you think of when you hear the name “Camp Green Lake?” Probably a green lake. Well you can imagine how shocked Stanley was when he arrived at Camp Green Lake to find neither a lake nor anything green. Instead, it’s a dry, flat wasteland, with the only water for 100 miles. There are no guard towers, electric fences, nothing to keep the boys from escaping. However, Mr. Sir assures Stanley that he’ll be buzzard food in 3 days if he tries to run away, which is the only thing that keeps him and the other boys at camp.
Stanley and Zero’s Friendship – These two guys have each other’s back through pretty much the entire book. Stanley is a genuinely nice guy that wants to do the right thing, and Zero is a quiet, reserved kid who is picked on by everyone. That is, except Stanley. The two become fast friends and build an inseparable bond, which is displayed throughout the story. They are each willing to do anything to help the other out, and are a great example of a good friendship.
The POV – Holes is written in third person, and switches back and forth between several characters – past and present – throughout the book. This really helps to develop the story, build the plot, and provide excellent background information.
The Climax/Conclusion – I can’t say much about these two things without spoiling the book, but I can say this: It’s awesome.
The Writing – I love the way this book was written. It’s blunt, yet descriptive. I had a clear picture in my head the entire time I was reading, and it was not hard to follow. Louis Sachar added a little of everything into this story – happiness, sadness, anger, humor, suspense, mystery, action – it’s all there. Plus, this book won a Newberry Award Medal, so that speaks for itself.
THINGS I DISLIKED:
Nothing. I love this book. ‘Nuff said.
I’m giving Holes by Louis Sachar 5 out of 5 stars for all the reasons mentioned above.
Holes is an entertaining, fast-paced story, with hardly a dull moment in it’s 233 pages. I’d definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a fun, enjoyable read. I’d also highly recommend the movie adaptation once you finish the book, because they did an outstanding job with the film. (Plus, Louis Sachar has a cameo appearance in the movie, watch it and see if you can spot him!) So grab your shovel, hat, and canteen – you’re going to need them at Camp Green Lake. And who knows, you just might find something. ;)
– Meredith :)