‘Holes’ by Louis Sachar

So many words have been spent, talking about this new generation that lacks of the good old values and that’s gone astray. But thinking about it, the new generation is not so different from the previous one – and with ‘previous’ I mean mine, to be clear.

We played with Pokémon on an old Nintendo Gameboy; they play Bayblades and Bakugan on a brand new 3DS Nintendo Gameboy. And beware that when talking about Bayblades, we actually talk about trottles.

We played football in the park, showing off our skills; they play football in the park as well. And race, showing off their scooters.

We read books randomly found in the school library, driven by curiosity; they randomly read the same books, forced by the English teacher who assigned it.

You see, we’re not that different!

I was around 12 years old, when I ran into a book called ‘Holes’, written by Louis Sachar.

I won’t hide it: the book got my interest because of the author’s name, Sachar. To my young deranged mind, it was just too similar to the name of that chocolate cake, the Sacher-Torte. I found it hilarious.

Not hilarious, you say? Probably, but I was 12 and addicted to my sister’s cakes. Deal with it.

Anyway. A couple of weeks ago, my 12-year-old flatmate came home with an assignment: write a booklet about yellow-spotted lizards.

And there I was, back in Camp Green Lake, a camp that’s not a camp, where nothing is actually green and there’s absolutely no lake. A place filled with holes and crowded with deadly yellow-spotted lizards.

Turns out that ‘Holes’ is the very book that my young flatmate has been reading at school for the last few weeks during the English class.

History really does repeat itself.

So here it goes, the story of a boy, Stanley Yelnats, who carries with him the legacy of his ‘no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather’.

One day, a pair of shoes falls from the sky and right upon Stanley. Accused of stealing them, Stanley is brought in front of the judge but, as weird as it may sound, ‘they fell from the sky’ is not a good defense line in a trial.

Stanley is found guilty and sent to Camp Green Lake, where his daily labour will be to dig a hole five foot wide and five foot deep, then report anything he finds in that hole. Yet, it’s the desert, what do you expect to find, except sand and rocks?

The warden doesn’t seem to care. He says it’s character-building.

What to do, then? Escape is out of the question: no chance to find water outside the camp for miles and miles.

Truth is, Camp Green Lake is not what it looks like. And deadly yellow-spotted lizards are not the only thing someone could find in those holes. It’s when Stanley starts to realize it that things get complicated.

There, between holes and lizards, Stanley will find out much more than he thought he could, secrets the desert kept safe for a long time.

Next time you think the desert is just desert, think twice.

Next time you see a lizard, make sure it has not yellow spots. Then stay away, just in case.

Next time you’re accused of theft, please don’t say that those shoes fell from the sky. Not even if you have a no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather to blame. Just don’t.

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If you want to know more about this book: Goodreads

If you want to buy this book: Amazon

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