Thursday, May 24, 2018
#tbt: A Hole in My Life by Jack Gantos
A Hole in My Life by Jack Gantos. 200 p. Farrar Straus & Giroux, March, 2002, 0374399883. (Own)
A Hole in My Life by Jack Gantos was published in 2002 and was awarded both Printz and Sibert Honors. It is Gantos' brutally honest account of his life as a jailbird. He didn't have the most stable and supportive parents as he was growing up. He was working a series of dead end jobs hoping to pay for college and getting nowhere when he was approached by two men and asked if he could sail a boat from St. Croix to New York City. The fact that the boat was filled with two tons of hashish didn't bother him. He was getting $10,000! It wasn't long after docking in New York City that the FBI, who had been trailing the men, arrested them. Gantos was sentenced to five to fifteen years in prison.
Yes, the man who went on to write the Rotten Ralph books, the Jack books and the Joey Pigza books; the man who eventually won a Newbery Medal for Dead End in Norvelt, made some bad choices. He wanted to be a writer. He wanted to go to college. He wanted to survive prison.
The eighth grade LA teachers do a memoir unit and this is one of my go-to memoirs to book talk. It is a powerful read. Every single student who has checked it out has been bowled over by it and most have go on to read his other books.