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1 Burnside Children's- Children's Authors and Illustrators

Hole in My Life

by

Hole in My Life Cover

ISBN13: 9780374430894
ISBN10: 0374430896
Condition: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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. For his part in the conspiracy, Gantos was sentenced to serve up to six years in prison.

In Hole in My Life, this prizewinning author of over thirty books for young people confronts the period of struggle and confinement that marked the end of his own youth. On the surface, the narrative tumbles from one crazed moment to the next as Gantos pieces together the story of his restless final year of high school, his short-lived career as a criminal, and his time in prison. But running just beneath the action is the story of how Gantos – once he was locked up in a small, yellow-walled cell – moved from wanting to be a writer to writing, and how dedicating himself more fully to the thing he most wanted to do helped him endure and ultimately overcome the worst experience of his life.

Jack Gantos's books include Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key, a National Book Award finalist, and the sequel, Joey Pigza Loses Control, a Newbery Honor Book. He lives in Boston, Massachusetts.
A Michael L. Printz Honor Book
A Robert F. Sibert Honor Book
A Booklist Editors' Choice
 
In the summer of 1971, Jack Gantos was an aspiring young writer looking for adventure, cash for college tuition, and a way out of a dead-end job. For ten thousand dollars, he agreed to help crew a boat loaded with drugs from the Virgin Islands to New York City, setting sail on an ill-fated expedition that eventually landed him in federal prison.
"[Gantos's] account is remarkably free of both self-pity and self-censorship . . . This is a tale of courage and redemption, proving that a bad start in life does not have to lead to a bad life story."The New York Times Book Review
 
"Jack Gantos is not just a writersomething he dreamed about from childhood. He's a National Book Award finalist, a Newbery Honor medalist and a university writing instructor. In this tough, sad, funny memoir, he tells how he got there."The Washington Post Book World
 
"A memoir, by turns harrowing and hilarious, about a huge mistake."Miami Herald
 
"Gantos really is Everyman, but an Everyman who has landed himself into a deeper pit than most. What separates Gantos is the determination that took him out of his dreams and into a successful life as a writer. Those writerly skills are in full evidence here, in this thoughtful and provocative memoir as valuable to those who have never heard of Gantos as to those who have read all of his books."Hyde Park Review of Books
 
"The ultimate cautionary tale."Smithsonian
 
"'We didn't so much arrive at our destinations as aim and crash into them like kamikaze yachtsmen.' So Gantos describes himself as a 20-year-old about to be arrested and imprisoned for smuggling two thousand pounds of hashish from St. Croix to New York City. Young Jack seems to share with his fictional charactersJoey Pigza and Jack Henrya blithe disregard for the consequences of wild behavior. Readers follow him from a seedy motel run by the great-great-granddaughter of Davy Crockett to a Keystone Kops adventure on the sea, from a madcap escape from FBI and Treasury agents to his arrest and trial, represented by his lawyer, Al E. Newman. This true tale of the worst year in the author's life will be a big surprise for his many fans. Gantos has the storyteller's gift of a spare prose style and a flair for the vivid simile: Davy has 'brown wrinkled skin like a well-used pirate map'; a prisoner he met was 'nervous as a dragonfly'; another strutted 'like a bowlegged bulldog.' This is a story of mistakes, dues, redemption, and finally success at what he always wanted to do: write books. The explicit descriptions of drug use and prison violence make this a work for older readers. Not the usual 'How I Became A Writer' treatise, it is an honest, utterly compelling, and life-affirming chronicle of a personal journey for older teens and adults."Kirkus Reviews
 
"Jack Gantos' riveting memoir of the 15 months he spent as a young man in federal prison for drug smuggling is more than a harrowing, scared-straight confession: it is a beautifully realized story about the making of a writer. As Gantos himself notes: 'It [prison] is where I went from thinking about becoming a writer, to writing.' His examination of the processincluding his unsparing portrayal of his fears, failings, and false startsis brilliant and breathtaking in its candor and authenticity. Particularly fascinating is his generous use of literary allusions to everything from Baudelaire to Billy Budd, which subtly yet richly dramatize how he evolved from a reader who became a character in the books he was reading to a writer and a character in his own life story. Gantos' spare narrative style and straightforward revelation of the truth have, together, a cumulative power that will capture not only a reader's attention but also empathy and imagination. This is great for every aspiring writer and also a wonderful biography for teens struggling to discover their deepest, truest selves."Michael Cart, Booklist (starred review)

"The compelling story of the author's final year in high school, his brushes with crime, and his subsequent incarceration. Gantos has written much about his early years with his eccentric family, and this more serious book picks up the tale as they moved to Puerto Rico during his junior year. He returned to Florida alone, living in a seedy motel while he finished high school and realized that his options for college weren't great. A failed drug deal cost him most of his savings and he joined his family, now in St. Croix, where he accepted an offer of $10,000 to help sail a boat full of hash to New York. He and his colleagues were caught, and as it turns out, he was in more trouble than he anticipated. Sent to federal prison for up to six years, Gantos landed a job in the hospital section, a post that protected him from his fellow inmates, yet allowed him to witness prison culture firsthand. Much of the action in this memoirsome of it quite raw and harshwill be riveting to teen readers. However, the book's real strength lies in the window it gives into the mind of an adolescent without strong family support and living in the easy drug culture of the 1970s. Gantos looks for role models and guidance in the pages of the books he is reading, and his drive to be a writer and desire to go to college ultimately save him."Barbara Scotto, School Library Journal

"After penning a number of novels for preteens, including the Joey Pigza books and the Jack series, Gantos makes a smooth transition as he addresses an older audience. He uses the same bold honesty found in his fiction to offer a riveting autobiographical account of his teen years and the events may well penetrate the comfort zone of even the most complacent young adults. The memoir begins with the dramatic image of the author as a young convict ('When I look at my face in the photo I see nothing but the po

Review:

"After penning a number of novels for preteens, including the Joey Pigza books and the Jack series, Gantos makes a smooth transition as he addresses an older audience. He uses the same bold honesty found in his fiction to offer a riveting autobiographical account of his teen years and the events may well penetrate the comfort zone of even the most complacent young adults. The memoir begins with the dramatic image of the author as a young convict ('When I look at my face in the photo I see nothing but the pocked mask I was hiding behind'). The book then goes on to provide an in-depth examination of the sensitive and intelligent boy residing behind a tough facade. Inspired by the words and lives of some of his favorite American authors, Gantos sought adventure after leaving high school. He eagerly agreed to help smuggle a shipment of hashish from Florida to New York without giving thought of the possible consequences. Knowing that the narrator is destined to land in jail keeps suspense at a high pitch, but this book's remarkable achievement is the multiple points of view that emerge, as experiences force a fledgling writer to continually revise his perspective of himself and the world around him. The book requires a commitment, as it rambles a bit at times, but it provides much food for thought and fuel for debate. It will leave readers emotionally exhausted and a little wiser. Ages 12-up. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Synopsis:

"This true tale of the worst year in the author's life will be a big surprise for his many fans . . .This is a story of mistakes, dues, redemption, and finally success at what he always wanted to do: write books." --Starred, Kirkus Reviews

Synopsis:

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. For his part in the conspiracy, Gantos was sentenced to serve up to six years in prison.

In Hole in My Life, this prizewinning author of over thirty books for young people confronts the period of struggle and confinement that marked the end of his own youth. On the surface, the narrative tumbles from one crazed moment to the next as Gantos pieces together the story of his restless final year of high school, his short-lived career as a criminal, and his time in prison. But running just beneath the action is the story of how Gantos - once he was locked up in a small, yellow-walled cell - moved from wanting to be a writer to writing, and how dedicating himself more fully to the thing he most wanted to do helped him endure and ultimately overcome the worst experience of his life.

 
Hole in My Life is a 2003 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.

Synopsis:

In this Michael L. Printz Honor Book, the Newbery Honor-winning creator of the Joey Pigza books shares the true story of how he became a writer the hard way by learning a valuable lesson while he was in college.

About the Author

Jack Gantos's books include Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key, a National Book Award finalist, and the sequel, Joey Pigza Loses Control, a Newbery Honor Book. He lives in Boston, Massachusetts.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Beverly B, March 1, 2013 (view all comments by Beverly B)
The image most people have of a highly respected children's book author is probably not of a convicted drug dealer, but award winning author Jack Gantos is just that. Hole in My Life is an honest enthralling biography of a very foolish young Jack Gantos looking for adventure and money for college. His inspiring story tells how he used his time in prison to grow up, grow wise and grow his talent. Hole in My Life shows, very painfully, how one foolish decision can derail a young person's dreams. But it also shows how one foolish decision does not have to define the rest of your life.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No

Product Details

ISBN:
9780374430894
Author:
Gantos, Jack
Publisher:
Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Subject:
Biography & Autobiography - Literary
Subject:
Law & Crime
Subject:
Children's 12-Up - Biography / Autobiography
Subject:
Personal Memoirs
Subject:
General Biography
Subject:
Biography & Autobiography : Literary
Subject:
Children s Young Adult-Biography
Subject:
Literary
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Publication Date:
20040908
Binding:
Electronic book text in proprietary or open standard format
Grade Level:
from 9 up to 13
Language:
English
Pages:
208
Dimensions:
7.64 x 5.19 x 0.56 in
Age Level:
12-17

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Related Subjects


Children's » Authors and Illustrators » General
Children's » Awards » Michael L. Printz Award Winners
Children's » Featured Titles
Children's » Nonfiction » Biographies
Children's » Peace and Justice
Children's » Sale Books
Young Adult » General
Young Adult » Nonfiction » Biographies

Hole in My Life Used Trade Paper
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Product details 208 pages Farrar Straus Giroux - English 9780374430894 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "After penning a number of novels for preteens, including the Joey Pigza books and the Jack series, Gantos makes a smooth transition as he addresses an older audience. He uses the same bold honesty found in his fiction to offer a riveting autobiographical account of his teen years and the events may well penetrate the comfort zone of even the most complacent young adults. The memoir begins with the dramatic image of the author as a young convict ('When I look at my face in the photo I see nothing but the pocked mask I was hiding behind'). The book then goes on to provide an in-depth examination of the sensitive and intelligent boy residing behind a tough facade. Inspired by the words and lives of some of his favorite American authors, Gantos sought adventure after leaving high school. He eagerly agreed to help smuggle a shipment of hashish from Florida to New York without giving thought of the possible consequences. Knowing that the narrator is destined to land in jail keeps suspense at a high pitch, but this book's remarkable achievement is the multiple points of view that emerge, as experiences force a fledgling writer to continually revise his perspective of himself and the world around him. The book requires a commitment, as it rambles a bit at times, but it provides much food for thought and fuel for debate. It will leave readers emotionally exhausted and a little wiser. Ages 12-up. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by ,
"This true tale of the worst year in the author's life will be a big surprise for his many fans . . .This is a story of mistakes, dues, redemption, and finally success at what he always wanted to do: write books." --Starred, Kirkus Reviews

"Synopsis" by ,
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. For his part in the conspiracy, Gantos was sentenced to serve up to six years in prison.

In Hole in My Life, this prizewinning author of over thirty books for young people confronts the period of struggle and confinement that marked the end of his own youth. On the surface, the narrative tumbles from one crazed moment to the next as Gantos pieces together the story of his restless final year of high school, his short-lived career as a criminal, and his time in prison. But running just beneath the action is the story of how Gantos - once he was locked up in a small, yellow-walled cell - moved from wanting to be a writer to writing, and how dedicating himself more fully to the thing he most wanted to do helped him endure and ultimately overcome the worst experience of his life.

 
Hole in My Life is a 2003 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.

"Synopsis" by , In this Michael L. Printz Honor Book, the Newbery Honor-winning creator of the Joey Pigza books shares the true story of how he became a writer the hard way by learning a valuable lesson while he was in college.
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