In The Hole | Teen Ink

In The Hole MAG

July 19, 2021
By Bridget-G-E-L GOLD, Short Hills, New Jersey
Bridget-G-E-L GOLD, Short Hills, New Jersey
16 articles 0 photos 0 comments

Favorite Quote:
“You aren’t depressed just because people aren’t responding to your texts. You aren’t bipolar because a movie is making you happy and sad at the same time. You don’t have an anxiety disorder because you have stage fright.”

Ben Levin’s debut novel In the Hole is a touching, comprehensive tale about the Kimball family’s struggles with and eventual recovery from poverty.

A talented chef, Mr. Kimball’s restaurant is forced into bankruptcy after a kidnapping scandal that threatens to ruin his reputation. He develops an alcohol addiction and both he and his wife face unemployment and eventual homelessness. Their two childrens’ mental and physical health are also damaged during this process. However dire their situation, the family clings to hope, and this drive keeps them together and progressing towards autonomy.

Of their strife, one of the largest influences is social stigmatization that plagues the parents’ new job interviews and the childrens’ education; David, the son, is verbally and physically abused in school settings for being homeless, with teachers and even friends distancing themselves for some time. Challenges like these teach the Kimballs that their true rapport lies in those who support them and respect their rights. The Kimball children nonetheless brave school and maintain their dignity throughout the ordeal of homelessness.

In the Hole is a fast-paced work of realistic fiction. Levin doesn’t shy from describing addiction, suicidal thoughts, and a constant feeling of inferiority but places an emphasis on the love that keeps them all afloat. His writing is colloquial enough to please those new to reading and sprinkled with vocabulary to keep mature readers entertained.

As someone who tends towards adult novels, this young adult (YA) fiction was a refreshing break from my usual materials. It progressively sheds light on the millions worldwide who yearn for acknowledgment and opportunities, a gritty chronicle of the American Dream and its pitfalls. If you were a fan of Cummins’ American Dirt or Euwer Wolff’s Make Lemonade, you’ll love this fresh perspective on the reality of the underprivileged.

Ben Levin explores homelessness and its implications with empathy for those displaced today. He reminds readers to be grateful for their friends, families, and security and to remember that those without such luxuries are people still. In the Hole is ultimately a story about the human condition through a child’s eyes, and an auspicious entry for the teen author’s career.

The author's comments:

This is Bridget's first article Teen Ink, so look out for new articles!

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