5 out of 5
Book by Ben Levin
David Kimball is your average nine year old boy dealing with school, sport, friends, and growing up. He has the perfect life. Everything for David is turned upside down when his father loses the family restaurant and consequently the Kimball home. Now facing poverty, David struggles to identify with his family, friends, and peers, and is impacted heavily by anxiety, depression, and humiliation. Through community support and hard work, David develops the strength and skills to help his family triumph over the dire circumstances of being homeless.
In The Hole is a poignant, yet page-turning YA novel about a child who is thrown into the agonising stress and heartbreak of losing a home. Narrated by David, the tone is a combination of innocence, wonder, astonishment, and disbelief that is reminiscent of Jeffrey Eugenides’s The Virgin Suicides. Readers can’t help but feel sorry for David during his period of uncertainty and stress, and empathise with him as he questions his parents, his friends, and the wider community’s outlook on being homeless.
The pace is well maintained throughout the novel and, while it is not a particularly exciting narrative, its David’s journey and his outlook from dejection to strength that captures the reader’s attention. It is a novel with a strong and clear message for both young readers and adults, and it isn’t afraid to deal with a subject that most people are reluctant to explore.
Overall, In The Hole is an uplifting story about a young boy who ultimately becomes stronger through perseverance, positivity, and faith.