“Nothing in life is easy. But that’s no reason to give up. you’ll be surprised what you can accomplish if you set your mind to it.”
Date Published: August 20, 1998
Published by: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Status: Read on December 20, 2016
Stanley Yelnats is under a curse. A curse that began with his no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather and has since followed generations of Yelnatses. Now Stanley has been unjustly sent to a boys’ detention center, Camp Green Lake, where the boys build character by spending all day, every day digging holes exactly five feet wide and five feet deep. There is no lake at Camp Green Lake. But there are an awful lot of holes.
It doesn’t take long for Stanley to realize there’s more than character improvement going on at Camp Green Lake. The boys are digging holes because the warden is looking for something. But what could be buried under a dried-up lake? Stanley tries to dig up the truth in this inventive and darkly humorous tale of crime and punishment—and redemption.
I know I have said this at my instagram post but lemme say it again… I WISH I HAVE READ THIS BOOK AS A KID! It’s great, amazing, fast-paced, light read but it kinda hurt my feelings in some scenes (haha!) anyway, the story’s about Stanley Yelnats, an overweight 14-year-old accused of stealing a pair of shoes and was sent to Camp Green Lake to “build” his character. There, Stanley along with the other kids were tasked to dig a hole each day. The hole must be 5 meters in diameter and 5 meters deep. The camp has pretty much strict rules like they must be up at 4:30 am, only 4 minutes to take a bath, and there’s also the food I don’t me myself would enjoy. But still Stanley managed to be friends with the other members of the Tent D. And each member has this weird nicknames so Stanley became the Caveman. One member or character that stuck me the most is Zero. He’s the smallest and quietest of all, and almost every character thinks he’s stupid.
Now, behind the “building of a good character” facade is actually a secret. The Warden only uses this excuse for the boys to dig and look for what she’s looking for. And it has something to do with Kate Barlow. Kate Barlow is a famous outlaw but her story is tragic and it hurt me! She fell in love with Sam, a black-American guy who sells onions. I think their love is sweet but it ended so fast when someone saw them kissing and in their time, it is against the laws for a Negro to kiss a white. So, Sam was executed and Katherine “Kate” Barlow became the Kissin’ Kate Barlow where she robs banks, etc. and kisses the people she kills. Kate buried the treasures she stole in the dried Green Lake and those after the treasures were cursed to look for it for thousands of years because the lake is vast.
Another interesting point in the story is the connection of Stanley and Zero who became friends when Stanley taught Zero how to read. Somehow, the unluckiness of the Yelnats family dates back to the very first Yelnats who forgot to do a promise to Madame Zeroni. Madame Zeroni helped Elya Yelnats to win the heart of his beloved by instructing him to bring up to the mountain a piglet, let it drink from the stream and sing it a lullaby. On the day he presented the pig to the father of his beloved, he must bring Madame Zeroni to the mountain and sing her the lullaby while she’s drinking from the stream. But it turned out Elya’s beloved is not capable of thinking straight (lol) or rather right, so he decided to leave for America and he forgot the promise to Madame Zeroni. Because of this, the whole generation of Yelnats will be cursed forever. BUT THE AMAZING PART WAS THAT THE CURSE WAS LIFTED WHEN STANLEY AND ZERO ESCAPED FROM THE CAMP AND WENT TO THE THUMB OF GOD! On the way there, Zero fell ill and so, Stanley carried him to the top, sang to him the lullaby, and let him drank from the stream there. Goodness, I didn’t even realize it until after the end that Zero is the great-great-grandson of Madame Zeroni!
Seriously though, there’s a lot of what happened in that 240 pages and I loved every page of it! I’m so thankful I found a copy at a local 2nd hand bookstore and gave it a try. It became one of the great books I’ve read. I even watched the movie and I’m glad they stayed faithful to the novel. Well, that’s all for now!