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.
"Moving, vivid and exciting — a beautiful, rich and utterly fascinating novel."
"Bawdy and raunchy — an uncannily accurate feel for the emotional viewpoint of a 12-year old boy."
"Astonishing. Mitchell turns the pastoral myth of prairie boyhood inside out."