Sunday, March 20, 2011
Jack Gantos is a young man with a hole in his life. We've all met someone with a hole in their life. Maybe they are missing love, understanding, ambition, creativity or self-esteem. Whatever is missing causes crippling decision making and leaves the person wondering what went wrong and why do bad things always happen to me.
Jack wants to be a writer and this memoir of his tragic life experiences lead him to follow his dream. Jack wants to go to college to learn to be a writer, except every time he wants to write he becomes crippled. He starts drinking and doing drugs and goes home to a blank page and then sinks deeper into despair. He makes a major life decision to transport drugs from the island of St.Croix into New York City in 1971. He will earn 10,000 dollars which he plans to use toward college. Except he gets busted by the Feds and sent to prison for an indefinite period of time.
I read this book aloud to my 9th grade World Studies class. I would describe this book as gritty, edgy, shocking and at times hard to swallow. My students loved it! Gantos does not sugar coat his prison experiences and in fact many of my students got the message that they don't want do drugs or mess with the law. Prison is not a fun place to be. Throughout the book, Jack compares his life and his wish to write to authors and their books. The book contains an excellent reading list.
Going to prison helped Jack Gantos seal the hole in his life and was the impetus to begin his writing career. Today he is a successful author of children's books and Young Adult works. In fact my own children have come home from the library with his Joey Pigza books. Hole in my Life is a Printz honor book.
Life is a journey and sometimes you have to take a lot of back roads and wrong turns before you can live your dream. Are you living your dream?