Stanley Yelnats' family has a history of bad luck going back generations, so he is not too surprised when a miscarriage of justice sends him to Camp Green Lake Juvenile Detention Centre. Nor is he very surprised when he is told that his daily labour at the camp is to dig a hole, five foot wide by five foot deep, and report anything that he finds in that hole. The warden claims that it is character building, but this is a lie and Stanley must dig up the truth. In this wonderfully inventive, compelling novel that is both serious and funny, Louis Sachar has created a masterpiece that will leave all readers amazed and delighted by the author's narrative flair and brilliantly handled plot.
I loved Sachar’s style. You never really knew where it was going next but it was always a pleasant/interesting surprise.
This is one of my favorite books/movies for a reason. Actually, I saw the movie first and decided it was a favorite many years ago. I only decided to read the book years later when I saw that my friend had it. I wondered if I would like it as much as I liked the movie. Now, I wonder if I liked it just as much because I had seen the movie first. I could match all the movie actors with the book characters. I could hear their voices and see them in my head. It followed along pretty well. The one big difference was that in the book, Stanley was overweight, but in the movie, he was skinny. That took out a major issue of the book. Why did they do this? Do we all prefer watching movies about skinny people? I’ll tell you my personal truth: I liked Shia LaBeouf in the movie better than Stanley Yelnats in the book. Maybe because he was a little nicer. Maybe because he was skinny (not likely). Hard to say. Actually, no, I’m pretty sure it was because I didn’t like Stanley’s personality in the book. Sure, he was bullied, but he was also kind of weak.
It was all so incredibly unfair, but unlike previous books I’ve hated because of injustice, this actually worked out because it was destiny. Obviously Stanley was innocent and he was treated terribly by almost everyone. I really didn’t like all the boys at the camp in the beginning. Some I ended up liking. Some were just plain cruel. I even thought Stanley was rude at a couple of times.
There were mysteries, but they weren’t really solved in the traditional way. Most answers just fell into Stanley’s lap, or he remembered important clues (even though he didn’t think about them that way) at random times. Either way, he was still able to put together the puzzle pieces.
I loved how there were several different (but related) stories going on. Stories in the present, and a couple stories from the past. And they were all very good stories. And the characters were all 3D, which was impressive.
The story is devoid of romance, but I still loved the book. Yes, it is possible to have a good book without a hint of romance. (Just kidding. I’m sure you know that.) Would I enjoy it more if it had romance? Possibly, but I think it’s fine as it is.
Though it takes place in a limited setting, it certainly is an interesting story.
Good vs. Bad
Less than perfect:
This was my favorite movie, and the book did not disappoint. The plot is fascinating and the ending is perfect. The characters are all so 3D and there are many different (related) stories going on at once. This book is just amazing. Would I read more by this author? For sure. Would I recommend this to others? Yes: everyone.
About Louis Sachar
Louis Sachar (pronounced Sacker), born March 20, 1954, is an American author of children’s books.