Critical discussions of Holes, like critical discussions of most young adult novels, are relatively infrequent and tend to fall into certain predictable categories: reviews of the book, interviews with the author, and articles on how to teach the book. However, in all discussions of Holes, certain themes repeat time and again, and all critics praise the author for the same reasons. The first of these is the emotional reality of the book—its institutional setting, the sense of injustice, the importance of peers, and so on. Second is the setting itself, meaning both Camp Green Lake itself and the surrounding desert. More than one critic commented on its intensity.
Third is what Jennifer Matteson called the fairy tale element of the book. This refers to both the potentially literal magic of the gypsy curse and to the structure of the story in which two kids whose ancestors were intimately connected run into one another. Such coincidences are common in fairy tales or fables.
A fourth area that many commentators mention is the book’s complex plot structure. Sacher’s story is markedly more complex than most young adult novels, so much so that Tamra Orr referred to it as a puzzle. Not only do multiple story lines and settings intersect, but Sacher is willing to leave some questions open-ended. That decision multiplies the novel’s complexity, as does the brevity with which he mentions certain key details, like the Warden’s identity. Sacher manages all of these points so well that Les Edgerton holds up Holes as an example for would-be writers, using it as a model of efficiency and powerful dramatic tension.
This dramatic intensity is balanced by the final element critics single out for attention in Sacher’s work: its sense of humor. From the boys’ nicknames to the jokes that they and the Yelnats family tell throughout the novel, humor is praised as a welcome and effective relief. Sacher’s success at blending these factors is witnessed most strongly by the awards the novel has won: Holes received both a National Book Award and the 1999 Newbery Award.
The novel called “Holes” by Louis Sachar mainly takes place at Camp Green Lake, a detention center for boys. Camp Green Lake does not have a lake. It used to be a big lake full of water until it stopped raining there forever. Now it is a dry, flat wasteland for misbehaved boys and the only water comes from the warden. The main character, Stanley Yelnats was sent
there innocently, unlike his friends that he met at there. He was walking under a freeway overpass when a pair of shoes owned by a famous baseball player named Clyde Livingston fell on his head. It turned out that the shoes were donated to a homeless shelter to raise money.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">The main theme in this novel is Stanley’s family curse that called upon them by his no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather. If it were not for his family curse, he would never have gone Camp Green Lake at all. His curse manages to always have him and his family in the wrong place at the wrong time. Whenever something goes bad around his family they need to have somebody to blame, and they blame his great-great-grandfather as a family joke.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">The definition for Inference is an activity where you bring outside knowledge to understand the text. Basically, inferencing is when you interpret or gather information or details from the reading, and connect it to your own knowledge and make a leap of judgement about what is happening or what will happen. “‘You are to dig one hole each day […] Each hole must be five feet deep, and five feet across in every direction. Your shovel is your measuring stick.”(Sachar, 13) This quote from the novel Holes, uses inferencing to tell you the requirements of the holes that the boys dig. It says five feet across, five feet deep and that their shovels are their measuring stick. That means the shovel is five feet long and you inference the size of the hole compared to your own shovel that you may have. If you have ever seen a shovel much like the kind used for gardening, then you already know how big the hole is because it is the same size.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">I rate this book by Louis Sachar a 3 on a scale of 1-5.The main reason why I would have to rate this book a 3 instead of a 4 is because it is indeed a good book and I know it, but I have already seen the movie before. Therefore, watching the movie before reading the book, I already knew what was going to happen next and the book did not seem to great.</p>