January 16, 2013

By Louis Sachar
Reviewed by Amy Giblin
5 out of 5 Stars

“There is no lake at Camp Green Lake”

Stanley Yelnats’s whole life has been filled with bad luck. His family believes that they are cursed because of their “no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing great-great grandfather”. Stanley is the target of abuse from students in his school because of his size. Even the teachers will on occasion make rude and embarrassing comments towards him. One day when Stanley was walking home something hit him in the head; Stanley’s bad luck had found him again. Soon after cops found him and when his court date came, he was given two options. The judge said “You may go to jail, or you may go the Camp Green Lake”. Stanley chose to go to camp, for Stanley had never been to camp before.

When Stanley arrived at Camp Green Lake, it was nothing like he pictured. The camp was in the middle of the desert with only a few tents and a couple of small buildings. Soon after arriving at the camp, Stanley was told that every day he must dig a hole five feet across in every direction. After obtaining his new jumpsuits, sneakers, canteen and cap, he was assigned to live in tent D. Mr. Pendanski, one of the workers, introduces Stanley to all of the people that live in his tent. There was X-Ray, Armpit, Squid, Zigzag and Zero. After being at the camp, Stanley also gets a nickname, Caveman. Mr. Pendanski also says if he should ever find anything that looked interesting when digging his hole, he should report it to the Warden. Stanley becomes good friends with all of the people in his tent; even Zero after Zero asks Stanley if he could teach him how to read. Later on in the story, Zero runs away from the camp and after trying to get away in Mr. Sir’s truck, Stanley goes after him.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. The book never seemed to drag on in any part or ever get boring. During this story you not only learn about Stanley and all the others at the camp but also Kissin’ Kate Bartlow and her background. Miss Katherine, the lovely school teacher changed herself into Kissin’ Kate Bartlow after the people who once lived in where Camp Green Lake now stands, murdered her love. After this happened she was out for revenge and became a famous western outlaw. How did she get her name? Every time she killed a man, she would kiss him on the cheek with red lipstick so that whoever found him would know that she had committed the murder. Even though she was a murderer, Kissin’ Kate Bartlow was my favorite character. The way Louis Sachar describes her I feel like in some ways she is relatable and I feel sympathy for her. I would recommend this book to almost everyone because I feel like it has different components that many would enjoy. Read this book and go along with Stanley as he tries to dig up the truth about old Camp Green Lake.


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