Friday, January 08, 2010

Book Review: Hole In My Life by Jack Gantos

I am a fan big fan of true stories. I have always been a fan of non-fiction but I read fiction too, so think this is why biographies and autobiographies resonate with me so much. I am a big fan of Hole In My Life by Jack Gantos. Jack Gantos is a well known writer of children’s and young adult books including the Joey Pigza books and the Rotten Ralph books. He developed master’s degree programs in writing children’s literature. He is a very successful person. However, when he was a young man he went to jail for a year and a half for a drug trafficking related offense. This is the story of how he got into trouble, his trial and time in jail, and how he eventually got out of jail and went to college.

As the book begins, we meet Jack as a young man living in Florida who has dreams of going to college to become a writer. During his junior year of high school things go bad for his family’s business and his family moves to San Juan, Puerto Rico. He cannot attend school there because he cannot speak Spanish so he goes to work as an electrician and lives on his own in the hotel he works in. He develops a drinking problem. He moves back to Florida to finish high school. Then he joins his family who is now living in St. Croix. This is where he gets mixed up with some drug dealers who are looking to transport drugs into New York harbor.

Much of the story is centered on the time he spent on the drug boat. I was riveted by this book. I listened to the audiobook and could not stop listening. The audiobook is read by Jack Gantos himself.

Hole in My Life has received these acclamations: an American Library Association Best Books for Young Adults; American Library Association Notable Children's Books; American Library Association Popular Paperbacks for Young Readers; Michael L. Printz Award - Honor; Bank Street Best Children's Book of the Year; Books for the Teen Age, New York Public Library; Parents' Choice Award Winner; Booklist Editors' Choice; Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books Blue Ribbon Award; Horn Book Magazine Fanfare List; School Library Journal Best Books of the Year; Robert F. Sibert Award - Honor; Massachusetts Children's Book Award.

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