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Holes: Searching for Friendship

Aug 27, 2008
The movie HOLES centers on the character of Stanley Yelnats, played by the likable 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 verdant 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 cohorts do: dig holes for hours and hours. What they did not know is what they are digging for.

While imprisoned at Camp Greenlake, Stanley finally makes a friend named Zero, who never speaks. During lunch one day, Stanley spins the tale of how he ended up at the camp. He maintains a pair of sneakers had fallen from the sky and hit him on the head. Before he could explain, he was arrested for theft. Of course, no one believes him. But he explains 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, dumbfounded, asks him "How did you know?"

Eventually, the two boys become close friends. Zero explains his name is 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 Zero to the camp doctor. 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 lose yourself in the book. Details and developments abound, more than the film had time for. HOLES, the book, written by Louis Sachar, has been bestowed with a number of notable awards, among them: the Newberry Award, the National Book Award for Young People's Literature, and the Missouri Mark Twain Award.

It is easy to see how the book was so deserving. Though considered a piece of light fiction, it managed to touch upon some very serious issues, including child mistreatment and even racism. Most of the concerns were included in the film, since indeed the author also wrote the screenplay. The most striking difference concerns 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.
About the Author
Steve Collins is a writer and journalist based in Hollywood, California. A Huge Disney fan, he uses the Disney Movie Club to complete his collection. Read his reviews of the movies he purchases at the Disney Movie Club here.
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