I was aware of Jack Gantos from having looked at reading Newbery winners (Dead End in Norvelt), but I haven’t actually read anything by Gantos before. He was brought up recently when Drew Daywalt, author of The Day the Crayons Quit visited our school: Daywalt studied at Emerson College, Gantos was one of his professors.
I was pleased to see this come up on the list, but had no idea what I was getting in to — and it turned out to be a really fascinating ride! By turns funny, horrifying, touching, and inspiring, this is probably not a book for younger teens, but it was definitely worth the read (um, listen….I found an audio version, narrated by Gantos himself).
There are lessons to be learned, but this was not a preachy book, by any means. Gantos was matter of fact about the mistakes he made, that lead to his year long incarceration for drug smuggling. This is the kind of thing that maybe some parents would prefer their kids NOT know about the authors of the books said kids are reading: but I think it’s great that this is out in the world. He could have made so many other choices, but he figured things out and turned his life around.
Definitely a thumbs up on this one, must add his other books to my reading list…..