• Deepthi Rajan

My 3 Life Affirming Lessons From Reading "Holes" by Louis Sachar

Updated: Dec 28, 2020



Stanley has been an underdog almost all his life, bullied and taunted by kids at school.

What’s it about some books that makes them, simply put, unputdownable?


Holes by Louis Sachar definitely belongs to that category.


It hooks you with the very first sentence, reels you in and before you know, you and the book are inseparable.


Once I started reading the book, I just had to know what happened next. And in spite of all the demanding distractions, I walked around with its plot and its characters constantly on my mind.


The Story

Holes is the story of 11-year-old Stanley, a good kid living an unremarkable life, who finds himself, through a strange twist of events, in a camp for juvenile delinquents.


The Style

At its heart, Holes’ is a thrilling puzzle narrated in a unique style, segueing seamlessly between the past and the present. There’s never a dull moment as you’re busy trying to piece together the different threads while galloping with the story.


Through Stanley, you get to experience life at the camp. You’ll often pause to reflect how comfortable your own life is compared to what Stanley has to go through.

Lesson #1

But what really struck a chord with me was that despite the hardships and unfairness, Stanley doesn’t let his unfortunate circumstances make him bitter.


Stanley has been an underdog almost all his life, bullied and taunted by kids at school. Yet, he retains a keen sense of humour and generosity, that’s not just endearing but also serves as a powerful reminder that to be kind is a choice that we all have, our circumstances notwithstanding.


Lesson #2

Another great takeaway for me was the importance of listening to and trusting our gut feelings.


Oftentimes, when we find ourselves in overwhelming situations or ones with no precedence, we’re faced with two choices: our intuition telling us to do one thing and conventional wisdom egging us to do another thing.


How many times have we fallen back on conventional wisdom and lost out on the opportunity to do something life changing?


I could think of many episodes in my life where I’ve shunned my gut feelings and listened to others because I thought they were an authority on the subject and knew the rules better than I do.


That’s where this book reinforces a powerful message: The thing about rules is that there’re no rules. Listen to your gut, break old rules, and create new ones. Isn’t that a wonderful way to grow?


Lesson #3

And finally, Holes scores big in underscoring the importance of friendship and loyalty. In a world where we often mistake fair-weather friendships for the real deal, Holes shows how some of the most enduring relationships are forged during the unlikeliest of moments and between the unlikeliest of individuals.


To recap, the 3 life affirming lessons for me from reading this book have been -


#1 To be kind is a choice that we all have, our circumstances notwithstanding.


#2 The thing about rules is that there’re no rules. Listen to your gut, break old rules, and create new ones.


#3 Never be dismissive or write off someone without knowing them. Some of the most enduring relationships are forged during the unlikeliest of moments and between the unlikeliest of individuals.


Highly Recommended

A great read for kids and grown-ups alike, Holes by Louis Sachar is recommended for ages 10 and above.


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