Stanley Yelnats’ family blames their bad luck on his no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing great-great-grandfather. The family believes he was cursed when he failed to keep a promise to Madame Zeroni. Now Stanley has been sent to a detention camp, where bad boys dig holes to build character. He quickly realized, however, that character-building isn’t the only reason for the holes. The warden is looking for something. But what?
This is one of those instances where I saw the movie before I read the book. I love the movie. It’s a favorite, and I’m very happy to say that it stuck very closely to the book. Minor changes here and there, but nothing outrageous. While the book is actually marketed for kids, the themes are very deep and the humor can be a little dark. I think my favorite thing about this novel is how all the pieces of the story fit together. There are stories for characters who are separated from Stanley by more than a hundred years, but they are all connected to his fate.
Fate is discussed throughout the book as we learn about the Yelnats family curse and its link to a bandit named Kissing Kate Barlow. The idea of something larger than ourselves at work is present through the story. Stanley and another boy, called Zero, even feel drawn to seek refuge at the top of a mountain called God’s Thumb.
The story leaves me uplifted as Stanley, and ultimately the reader, learn about friendship, kindness (and its effect, not only on those we show it to, but on us as we show it), and perseverance. On the flip side, we see the effects of greed and hatred.
This one is definitely a favorite, and a book I will read again.
1) Overall Plot = 5
2) Characters = 5
3) Flow/Pace of the story = 5
4) Is the story easy to follow? = 5
5) Overall Enjoyability = 5
Average of score 5
Overall grade = A+