Thursday, September 29, 2011

Review: Holes by Louis Sacher

Holes is the quirky story of Stanley Yelnats, who is a teenager sentenced to dig holes in the Texan desert, at the truly hideous Camp Green Lake, where there is nothing green and certainly no lake, for 18 months for stealing the shoes of a famous baseball player.  Sadly, Stanley did not commit this crime, but the Yelnats have been cursed with bad luck for generations.  This is the story of how Stanley manages to, once and for all, remove that curse.

Nothing is what it seems in Holes, and instead of being a youth detention operation for young offenders, the hole digging is really the warden's quest to find treasure buried more than 100 years ago by an infamous female outlaw, Kissin' Kate Barlow.

The narrative is meticulously constructed with Stanley's struggles interspersed with flashbacks of both his ancestor's story, and the story of Kissin Kate.  The stories weave seamlessly together. 

There are so many themes in the novel, but I guess the idea of fitting in and identity, Stanley has always been teased at school by peers and teachers alike for being overweight, is a big one, and perseverance and friendship also feature.

There is plenty of enjoyable symbolism, and play on words, and I really think I might have to read this little novel again to make sure none of the cleverness escaped me.  I am not sure if this book was originally marketed as YA fiction, but I am sure both that audience, and all readers really, would find something to engage with here; it is completely original and satisfying.


  1. I remember reading this with my son and we both really liked it. Totally agree with the last part of your review, it is completely original and satisfying!

  2. I remember the movie when it came out (but didn't see it) but didn't realize it was a book. I'm sure, as is often the case, that the book is far better.

  3. I remember my daughter having to read this for school, though I don't remember the grade, and the book had an entirely different cover.

  4. Sounds really interesting. I find the ideas behind juvenile justice really interesting so i might look out for this one.

  5. I need to try this :) Great review!

    PS Thanks for coming by and congratulating me :) Lucy is a grand name :)


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