Monday, 23 August 2010
Holes by Louis Sachar
How does an author combine a contemporary story about a juvenile detention camp, the irony of a one-hundred-year-old curse that still influences a contemporary plot and the characters, a parallel plot that sounds like a tall tale, and a mysterious search for a buried treasure that is also one hundred years old?
This is the challenge that Louis Sachar took on in Holes, the winner of both the 1999 Newbery Medal and a National Book Award.
The story, which is at times extremely humorous and also deadly serious, begins with a boy, Stanley Yelnats, who believe that all of his bad luck is due to the curse that was placed on his great-great-grandfather who had stolen a pig from a one-legged gypsy.
Stanley's problem increases when he is sent to Camp Green Lake because he is accused of stealing a pair of shoes valued at more than five thousand dollars because they belong to a famous athlete.
While at this juvenile detention center he experiences person-versus-person conflicts between himself and the warden, the various guards, and a few of his fellow inmates.
As the plot progresses we find Stanley and the other inmates digging large holes in the hot, dry desert.
This is an excellent book to read. This is an example of a book that at first glance appears to have a fairly simple plot and characters. Many students, however, indicate that they needed to reread the book when they discovered the importance of the parallel plots!