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Holes by Louis Sachar - Book Review


Louis Sachar
Bloomsbury Publishing

Fiction-Net Rating 5 Star Rated Book

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Cover Story

Stanley Yelnats' family has a history of bad luck, so he isn't too surprised when a miscarriage of justice sends him to a boys' juvenile detention centre. At Camp Green Lake, the boys must dig a hole a day, five feet deep, five feet across, in the dried up lake bed. The Warden claims the labour is character building but it is a lie. Stanley must dig up the truth.

We Say

This book was given to me as a present. Quite honestly, I didn't know what to expect. I hadn't heard of the author and the back cover blurb didn't really sound like it was going to conform to my usual type of reading matter. Nonetheless, on a cold and wet Sunday afternoon, I settled down to begin. I didn't stand up again until I had finished. This is clear proof, if it were needed, that sometimes it's worth taking a chance. Holes by Louis Sachar is a book that I will be raving about, to anyone who'll listen, for the rest of my life.

There's nothing difficult about the language of this story. Your brain won't get bent out of shape trying to work its way around convoluted sentences or flowery descriptions. Everything is told, quite simply, as it is. The directness of the prose allows you to feel the heat of the sun, the fatigue of digging a hole and the bitter thirst at the back of your throat. However, in direct contrast to this, there is a romantic sense of destiny and history within the narrative. Whilst Stanley Yelnats battles just to survive his tortured present, he is uncovering the holes of his past. He may even be able to fill them in once and for all.

Without exception, the characters are an interesting group. The eleven-year old and overweight Stanley is an unlikely hero. He has an innocent charm, which is combined with a strong will and sound moral judgement. He is the underdog battling against the sinister plotting of the genuinely scary camp warden. Even the characters from the past do not seem to be just flashback extras - they are colourful and relevant.

For such a seemingly simple story, there is an amazing amount of clever connections and mysteries to be found. Part of the fun of reading this book is uncovering these. Louis Sachar reveals them with precise and powerful timing - you never see anything coming at you too soon but you are never unpleasantly shocked. The revelations serve to make things seem just what they ought to be and leave you wholly satisfied.

Review by: Rachel Taylor

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