Holes: The Power of Friends

by Fabian Toulouse

The movie Holes follows Stanley Yelnats, played by the likeable Shia Leboeuf. He is a teenager convicted of a crime he did not commit and is soon sent to Camp Greenlake for punishment. Despite its lush sounding name, Camp Greenlake is located far from any lakes, deep in the desert. Here, Stanley and other interred kids work by digging holes – hence the name of the story. That is all Stanley and his fellow inmates do for hours and hours. What they did not know is they are actually digging for something.

While imprisoned, Stanley finally makes a friend named Zero, who never speaks. One day, at the lunch table, Stanley tells the rest of the boys what he did to earn his place at Camp Greenlake. He maintains a pair of sneakers had fallen and hit Stanley on the head, which he was accused of stealing. Of course, no one believes him. The sneakers belonged to a famous ball player, named Clyde “Sweet Feet” Livingston, who had donated them to an orphanage. Then, shockingly Zero asks him if they were white with red stripes. Stanley, shocked, asks him “How did you know?”

Eventually, the two become close friends. Zero explains his name is actually Hector Zeroni, but because he never speaks, people assume he is an idiot, hence his nickname. They forge an agreement wherein Hector agrees to dig the holes if Stanley will teach him how to read. This arrangement does not sit well with the other boys and they report this to the doctor on staff. Hector ends up hitting the doctor with the shovel and runs off into the desert. Fearing for his friend, Stanley devises a plan to get away and find him. Twist and turns abound as you find that these two boys’ families are entangled for several generations.

Indeed, if you enjoyed the film, you will love the book. There are more details and developments than the screen has time for. Holes, the book, is an award winning piece of fiction written by Louis Sachar. Among the awards it has been bestowed with are the Newberry Award, National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, and Missouri Mark Twain Award.

It is easy to see how it was so deserving. The book, though considered a piece of light fiction, touched on some very serious issues, including child mistreatment at the camp and even racism. Most of the concerns made it into the movie since the author also wrote the screenplay, although one of the big differences in the book and the movie is Stanley’s character. In the book, he was overweight and many of the issues in the book stem from his lack of self-esteem because of his weight.

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