Stanley Yelnats’ family has a history of bad luck, so he isn’t too surprised when a miscarriage of justice sends him to a boys’ juvenile detention centre. At Camp Green Lake the boys must dig a hole a day, five feet deep, five feet across, in the dried up lake bed. The Warden claims the labour is character building, but it is a lie. Stanley must dig up the truth.
I really enjoyed this book; it is very easy to read for many reasons. The language is simple, yet descriptive enough for you to get a real sense of the environment Camp Green Lake is set in. The book isn’t overly long and the story flows nicely from beginning to end. It is really several stories in one; the story of Stanley and the events that occur at Camp Green Lake, Stanley’s family history concerning his no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing great-great-grandfather and the story of Kissin’ Kate Barlow. As the story develops you get tit bits of information building up to the bigger picture. The story moves from present to past and back again but it is never confusing and there isn’t too much background information on characters or past events that are not crucial to the storyline. All in all the perfect recipe for a children’s book, easy to follow with enough twists and turns to keep you interested.
What I liked about this book: The protagonist Stanley Yelnats and especially his acceptance of his lot: being convicted of a crime he didn’t commit and being sentenced to 18 months at Camp Green Lake. He took it like a man is the phrase that comes to mind, but I think the sad truth is that Stanley’s life wasn’t much better before he entered Camp Green Lake so he hardly had room for complaint on his change in circumstances. But still he saw the experience for what it was: an opportunity to change himself and maybe the path his life was following.
What I didn’t like about this book: I don’t know if there is really anything you can say against this book. Maybe it would have been nice to have a little more background information on some of the other characters in the story but that is not integral to the storyline. You don’t need to know why the other boys are at Camp Green Lake but it would have perhaps gave the storyline a little more depth. But this is a very small critique, I’m just picking holes really (no pun intended).
This is a great read and I can see why it is so popular. There are several plot twists that you might not see coming if you try not to think too hard and just enjoy the book. Perfect for a long train journey or a quiet afternoon with a good book.