Holes by Louis Sachar is a fast paced book that grips you from the word go. The story of a 11-year-old who finds himself in a juvenile camp for a crime he hasn't committed, Holes is a unputdownable read.
The way the characters are sketched out, the unique narrative style and the many life lessons woven throughout the book, ensure that Holes is a book that you'll remember for a long time.
Personally, I found 3 life affirming lessons after reading Holes. And any book that leaves you with powerful takeaways after reading it qualifies --- as we'd like to say at MyBookWorks --- as a great book.
Holes is a highly recommended read for ages 10 and above.
The problem with high expectations is that they can cause you to give up too soon, sometimes before you could stumble upon a perspective-altering experience.
After I finished reading the eminently engaging book, Holes by Louis Sachar, I expected my next read to grab my attention from the word go. Exactly the way Holes did.
But my next book had other plans.
Out of my mind by Sharon Draper wasn’t ready to bite my “high expectations” bait.
“Keep your expectations and more importantly, comparisons aside”, it told me gently. “I’m different and you’ll see what I mean by that only if you continue to read me”, it asserted.
The story of Melody Brooks, a 10-year-old differently abled girl, opens slowly.
You see her world through her eyes. Melody has cerebral palsy and can neither speak nor walk. But she’s smart. Like super smart. Blessed with both high IQ and EQ, Melody uses her exceptionally keen observation skills to shape her practical views about the world.
Slowly but surely the tempo starts to build, and the story starts to gain momentum as you see Melody struggling to fit in with the “normal” world.
Sometimes she succeeds. During those moments I found myself celebrating with Melody.
But where the book had a profound influence on me were those low points where everything that could go wrong with Melody does.
Let me clarify: It’s not really the low points in Melody’s life that affected me. Afterall, life is a roller-coaster ride.
Rather it was how Melody finds the courage within herself to deal with some tough cards that life thrusts upon her.
As someone who has seemingly everything going right in life, I struggle and sometimes, give in to thoughts that I’m not good enough and that I’ll probably amount to nothing. And as a newly minted full-time entrepreneur, I find such oppressive self-doubts often soul crushing.
But reading Out of my mind made me pause and think.
If a young kid like Melody can find the strength within herself to get up and face a world that blatantly tries to question her worth at every given opportunity, why is it that I can’t have the same patience and confidence to believe in myself and in my dreams.
Out of my mind is also a beautiful lesson in empathy.
How often have we seen someone who’s differently abled, perhaps at a restaurant, near a lift, or at work and done something evasive like averting our eyes. I’ve done that. It wasn’t to make them feel small. It was because I thought averting my gaze would make them feel less conscious of their disability.
There’s a point where Melody gleefully asks, “We all have disabilities. What’s yours?”. That’s some serious food for thought. Often, our worst disabilities are ones that aren’t readily apparent. Even to us.
To sum up, Out of my mind is a marvellous book that helps us have a new-found appreciation for not just all that’s good in our lives but also the struggles and challenges that life inevitably keeps throwing at us. It’s a precious reminder about how our struggles define us to be individuals that we didn’t know we had the power to be.
And boy, am I glad that I didn’t allow my “high” expectations to sway me away from this book. Because this is one heck of a read.
Recommended for bright, compassionate individuals who are 10 years and above 😊