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Hole in My Life by Jack Gantos

Hole in My Life

by Jack Gantos, Nicole Rubel

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Narrated by author. This autobiography focuses on the author's life from senior high in high school through age 21 when he is released from prison and starting college. While living in the Virgin Islands with his family, he recklessly agrees to help sail a yacht full of hashish to New York City and sell the drug in exchange for $10,000. He's caught by federal agents and jailed for 15 months. In prison, he keeps a journal, works as an x-ray technician in the prison clinic and cleans offices. The horrors he witnesses in jail and the time wasted helps him see that writing is something he can do if he works at it.
  Salsabrarian | Feb 2, 2016 |
Biography of author during his teen years into college. Mistakes made and lessons learned. Good read for teens. ( )
  Erika.D | Jan 28, 2016 |
This was an interesting autobiography of a great children's writer, but not as compelling as his fiction. ( )
  Jen.ODriscoll.Lemon | Jan 23, 2016 |
This was an interesting autobiography of a great children's writer, but not as compelling as his fiction. ( )
  Jen.ODriscoll.Lemon | Jan 23, 2016 |
Jack Gantos tells the story of his high school days, living in a cheap hotel, going to high school and working in Florida while his family moved to the Virgin Islands. Upon graduation he headed down to St. Croix to meet them and arrived in the midst of a Revolution. He ended up smuggling hash up to New York, where he was caught and served several years in federal prison. Throughout this time Gantos struggled to try to become a writer and it was only while he was in prison that he really learned what was important and why he was struggling so much as a writer.

This was a great read. Gantos' narration style is first person friendly. It feels like someone is telling you their story and it works well for the message he is trying to convey. The text is never preachy or didactic even though there are clearly lessons to be learned from the author's story.

Gantos also doesn't pull any punches. His story is very violent and terrifying at times and he could have glossed those things over but he didn't. He's honest about his mistakes and how long it really took him to figure things out.

However I don't want anyone thinking this book is all gloom and doom. It does have it's funny moments, both funny ha ha and funny awkward. All in all it feels like a well rounded book that is short (which many of the teens I know love) with a lot of great discussion points.

( )
  Rosa.Mill | Nov 21, 2015 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jack Gantosprimary authorall editionscalculated
Rubel, Nicolemain authorall editionsconfirmed

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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0374430896, Paperback)

"I find myself moving like a knife, carving my way around people, cutting myself out of their picture and leaving nothing of myself behind but a hole." A gaping hole of misery is what popular young adult author Jack Gantos remembers when he thinks back to 1972, "the bleakest year of my life." Just 20 years old, Gantos was in a medium security prison for his participation in a get-rich-quick drug scam. Scared silly by the violence he saw around him daily, Gantos's only lifeline was a battered copy of The Brothers Karamazov, which he painstakingly turned into an impromptu journal by scratching his own thoughts into the tiny spaces between the lines. There, he recorded both his fears and his dream of someday writing a book of his own. Before prison, Gantos had penned a scattered myriad of journals, but had never been able to pull them together into a cohesive narrative. It was during his time behind bars that he found himself growing into a focused, diligent writer who eschewed drugs for the bigger high of watching his words fill the hole once and for all.

Gantos, best known for his award-winning Joey Pigza titles, mines darker material here that is as deeply compelling as his lighter fare. Using short, meaty sentences, Gantos manages to write in a way that dismisses the dubious "romance" of prison, drugs, and "life on the edge" without ever sounding didactic or heavy-handed. Older teens will appreciate his candor and sheer willingness to give them the straight story. Vigorously recommended. (Ages 13 and older) --Jennifer Hubert

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:21 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

The author relates how, as a young adult, he became a drug user and smuggler, was arrested, did time in prison, and eventually got out and went to college, all the while hoping to become a writer. Becoming a writer the hard way in the summer of 1971, Jack Gantos was an aspiring writer looking for adventure, cash for college tuition, and a way out of a dead-end job. For ten thousand dollars he recklessly agreed to help sail a sixty-foot yacht loaded with a ton of hashish from the Virgin Islands to New York City, where he and his partners sold the drug until federal agents caught up with them.… (more)

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