Holes by Louis Sachar

I closed the book with mixed feeling: I like the story but for the entire time, I know this is a story with much exaggeration. I know story is a story but somehow an excellent ones can make you feel real–the plot, the characters are more than real and you feel connected to it. However, I don’t feel connected to the story. Partly due to the fact that the story is target to kids.

A child called Stanley Yelnats was sent to a Camp Green Lake as punishment because the court though he stole a pair of sneakers donated by a famous sport stars (this is quite out of logic but never mind, let’s move on..). He and the other boys were ordered to dig a hole a day. Soon Stanley understood they dig holes not because it helps to rebuild their characters but because the warden was looking for something, likely some hidden treasure. The warden is an evil woman like the head mistress in Dahl’s Matilda and the supervisors are equally spiteful. Days are long and time is hard for the boys. Stanley got bullied by some other boys while he made friend with Zero and taught him read and write.

One day, Zero escape (or just walk away). Stanley, worrying Zero might die, pursued.  They met near the abandoned boat and decided to climb up to the Mountain. On top of the mountain they found magic water and onions. They ate heaps of onions which the bad smell save them from the deadly lizard later on. At the end, they found not the treasure but Stanley’s great-great-grandfather’s suitcase. Bad guys gone, good guys got saved. Happy ending.

What most attractive of the story is the unpredictability of one’s life–bad things can be a good things and if you want to change your life, take action. Stanley is an overweight child, passive and has not much bright personality. He is nothing, he accepted his fate and even unfairness. By digging holes, he got stronger physically and he started thinking. For those lonesome moments, he dug into his fear and know better of himself. He would never do crazy things like jumping into the truck and run away in the mountain if he was his old self. Bravery comes from his physical strength, his suffering, his self-reflection and friendship. Like Edmond Dantès in The Count of Monte Cristo, his endurance in the prison and his friendship with the Mad Priest enable him to take action. Actions, leads one to a new world, to get know the truth, good or bad, of this world and human condition.

I think the story send us a message: if you just sit around and accept your fate, nothing good will happen; Endure the hardship but use your brain to get yourself out of the trouble; take action, don’t afraid of risk, it might destroy you or save you . Life is amazing, it will always lead you to somewhere, you will be alright. Have a little bit goodies, don’t hesitate to help, sometimes two is better than one. Eat onions, it might keep you from Vampire, devils and deadly lizards.


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