Even though this book is for younger readers, the child in me still enjoyed reading this fiction. The title “Holes” did not appeal but my daughter who had read it recommended it. I did not regret reading this novel that was published in 1998.
The author, Louis Sachar, brought humour in his writing to a somewhat sad episode of a young middle school boy sent to a detention centre in Texas for a crime he did not commit. Though the detention centre is called Camp Green Lake, it is no lake now but a parched desert land. The boys were brought there for one purpose – to just dig holes every day. This is apparently a way for the Warden of the camp to instill discipline and for the boys to build character. There is a dark side to this, in that the Warden was looking for something buried in the land some hundred years ago.
The boy’s name is Stanley Yelnats and some hundred years ago his great grandfather was also named Stanley Yelnats. Both Stanleys were cleverly connected up in the story by the author. Stanley had often felt that he was under a curse that was casted on the no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing great-great-grandfather. So they were resigned to a life of such poor luck with each passing generation.
The story tells of hopes and friendship between the boy, Stanley and “Zero”, another boy in the camp. Again there is a connection between both boys that led to the arrest of Stanley for a crime of “stealing” a pair of stinking old sneakers belonging to a famous baseball player. The sneakers just “fell from the sky” and hit his head. He told the judge that and he landed in Camp Green Lake.