When How I Spent My Summer Holidays was first published in 1981, one reviewer wrote: "If Who Has Seen the Wind told the story of a young boy's coming to terms with death, How I Spent My Summer Holidays tells of a young man's attempt to come to terms with his own sexuality and that of the world around him." The twelve-year-old young man is Hugh, and in small-town Saskatchewan it is the hot summer of 1924. When Hugh and his friends dig a secret cave out on the Prairie, they find it occupied by a patient who has escaped from the mental hospital. Defying the adult world, the boys become involved with a former war hero and current rum-runner in sheltering and feeding the runaway. But when passions explode into murder, Hugh leaves his boyhood behind him forever.
"Astonishing. Mitchell turns the pastoral myth of prairie boyhood inside out."
"Bawdy and raunchy — an uncannily accurate feel for the emotional viewpoint of a 12-year old boy."
"Moving, vivid and exciting — a beautiful, rich and utterly fascinating novel."