Holes by Louis Sachar


“If only, if only,” the woodpecker sighs,

“The bark on the tree was as soft as the skies.”

While the wolf waits below, hungry and lonely,

Crying to the moo-oo-oon,

“If only, If only.”

– Louis Sachar


This was an absolutely out of left field hit for me. My wife recommended it to me, and as usual her recommendation turned out perfect. Holes is a coming of age story, where Stanley Yelnats, an unlucky teenage boy, is found guilty of a crime he did not commit and sent to Camp Green Lake, a youth detention centre in the middle of the desert in Texas. At the camp Stanley and the other boys are all forced to dig a 5 foot by 5 foot hole each and every day, ostensibly to build character. Over time it is revealed that they are really looking for something for the warden of Camp Green Lake.

This isn’t a Girl Scout Camp

This was a delightful book to read and quite short. It has several interlinking stories running from over a hundred years before the book up to the present day, dealing with Stanleys’ ancestor Elya, the people he knew in the old country and their descendants, and a schoolteacher turned outlaw called Kissin’ Kate Barlow and her interaction with the warden’s ancestors. I am an absolute sucker for multiple timeline / interwoven fate type stories so Holes was right up my alley. The novel was surprisingly deep for a children’s book and had some great allegories and quite heavy themes involved at times.

It’s really quite a small book and could be read in a day or so if you had the time, I would really recommend anyone try it, as I was pleasantly surprised.

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