Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Joey Pigza

Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key
Joey Pigza Loses Control
What Would Joey Do?
I Am Not Joey Pigza
by Jack Gantos
February - March, 2013

     I listened to all four books in this series. They were all narrated by Jack Gantos  himself. After hearing him read his books Dead End in Norvelt and Hole In My                                           Life, I am a big Jack Gantos fan.

After many years of seeing these books on my library's shelf, I finally gave in and read them.  Norvelt convinced me that I shouldn't hesitate to pick them up.  I'm not sure what my reluctance was all about.   Jack Gantos was one of the  featured speakers at the McConnell Literature Conference, thus I was motivated to dig in to these.

Joey Pigza is a ten year old with ADHD.   "They say I'm wired bad or wired sad, but there's no doubt about it - I'm wired."   The description of Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key from Amazon.com is probably why I never felt the urge to pick these books up before now:

Joey Pigza has problems. Big problems. He was emotionally abused by his       grandmother. He has never met his dad. He can't get along in his elementary school classroom because of his mood swings and his "dud meds." We gradually see that Joey must have Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), which is not being effectively controlled with his current medication. Joey's life is a terrifying roller-coaster ride, 

Ugh. Who wants to read that book?  But, Jack Gantos is such a funny writer and Joey is such a very likable character that the book becomes on of my favorites.
This character and these stories are not based on Jack Gantos' life. But I'm sure his boyhood informed the plots.  He's a regular boy (living in an irregular world) that
many boys and even girls can relate to.

Joey's crazy grandmother is raising him when the series begins. His mother walks back into his life after being gone for years. His dad, who hasn't been a part of his life for even longer, also returns.  Jack wants to love them and wants to see the best in each one of them.  The wild ride his life becomes because of these people is the plot of the series.

I have heard that Jack Gantos has said there is another Joey book in him that is yet to be written. I hope so. And I hope he narrates the audiobook as well.  

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