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Louis Sachar

Average Review Rating Average Rating 9/10 (1 Review)
Book Details

Publisher : Bloomsbury

Published : 1998

Copyright : Louis Sachar 1998

ISBN-10 : PB 0-7475-4459-X
ISBN-13 : PB 978-0-7475-4459-3

Publisher's Write-Up

Stanley Yelnats is unjustly accused of stealing a pair of trainers, and his punishment is to go to Camp Green Lake, to dig holes. This is all due to his no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather, who had supposedly brought a curse of bad luck on the family through his actions long, long ago.

Holes is a modern, page-turning adventure, which has the feel of a fairy tale. There are goodies and baddies, and a touch of magic. Trials need to be faced and problems overcome, before old wrongs can be righted, and good can triumph over evil.

This is a really unusual tale, which will appeal to a wide range of children (and adults).

Winner of the 2001 Sheffield Children’s Book Award and the Wirral Paperback of the Year.

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Reader Reviews

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Review by Nadine (280206) Rating (9/10)

Review by Nadine
Rating 9/10
This book was a wonderful surprise. I only bought it because I needed a third book for my three-for-two offer at Smiths. The very brief blurb didn’t tell me much, and I started reading with no real idea what it was about. It engrossed me straight away, and I couldn’t put it down. I didn’t read it in one sitting, but I would have if I hadn’t had to go to work!

It’s about a young loser named Stanley Yelnats, whose life seems to be one bout of bad luck after another. He’s bullied at school, overweight, and his family live in near poverty due to his father’s complete failure as an inventor.

Stanley’s bad luck reaches new heights one day when he is hit in the head by a pair of shoes that seem to just fall from the sky. To literally add insult to injury, he is promptly arrested for stealing the shoes, and ends up at a detention centre in the Texas desert. The centre is run by a particularly sadistic warden, and the daily routine consists of rising before dawn, traipsing out to the middle of an old, dried up lake, and digging a hole exactly five feet wide and five feet deep in the rock-hard, sun-baked earth.

Stanley’s miserable existence in the face of such circumstances is brilliantly portrayed, in plain and simple prose with no unnecessary embellishments. The author makes you feel the blistering heat and sheer exhaustion in a seemingly effortless fashion, which makes for a delightfully easy read. This is fuss-free writing, where every necessary word is in place and nothing more.

The plot, however, becomes deceptively complex, when Stanley begins to suspect that the daily punishment he and his fellow inmates are subjected to is about more than just building character. Flashbacks to his great-great-grandfather’s life become more significant, as do those about the history of the area he now toils in. In fact, every little detail becomes significant, from the poisonous lizards that sometimes inhabit the holes, to the smell of the shoes that hit him in the head.

But I don’t want to give anything else away. The reason I enjoyed it so much was that I didn’t know what to expect, and I don’t want to spoil it for any potential readers. It’s better to just read it and see! Suffice to say, despite the rather bleak themes of injustice and bad karma, it’s a book that will leave a massive grin on anyone’s face. It’s hugely entertaining from start to finish, with as satisfying an ending as you’ll ever find.

The only reason I haven’t given it ten out of ten is that there have been books I’ve enjoyed more than Holes…but not many.
Nadine (28th February 2006)

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