Blast from the past: Review of Holes

Originally published February 11, 2004.


Author: Louis Sachar
Published: 1998
Where got: Public library


Picked up Holes at the library along with next week's scheduled book and read it in about three hours.

It's written as a story for older kids and teenagers but has appeal for adults as well - at least this adult. It's well written and funny in places, but also contains some nasty scenes of cruelty and injustice that should appeal nicely to kids and teens who love reading stuff like Grimm's Fairy tales (unedited) and Harry Potter. Those same scenes may gross out delicate souls and younger children.

The story tells of Stanley Yelnats, a boy wrongfully convicted of a crime and sent to Camp Green Lake, a miserable juvenile work camp in the Texas wilderness. There, his and the other inmates' days are spent digging holes at random in the dry lake bed. He quickly realizes that they must be looking for something but the reader figures out much sooner than he does what it is, through flashbacks to the past history of the lake and to Stanley's family history.

Favorite quote: "If you take a bad boy and make him dig a hole every day in the hot sun, it will turn him into a good boy."

Rating: Great read, skilfully written and well told.

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