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Hole in My Life

Hole in My Life

Jack Gantos

Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)

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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. This title has Common Core connections.

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

American Library Association Popular Paperbacks for Young Readers, BCCB Blue Ribbon Award, Booklist Editors' Choice, Bank Street Best Children's Book of the Year, Robert F. Sibert Award - Honor, Parents' Choice Award Winner, NYPL Books for the Teen Age, Horn Book Magazine Fanfare List, NYPLT Books for the Teen Age, ALA Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults, Massachusetts Children's Book Award, Michael L. Printz Award - Honor, ALA Best Books for Young Adults, School Library Best Books of the Year, Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books Blue Ribbon Award, School Library Journal Best Books of the Year, American Library Association Notable Children's Books, ALA Notable Children's Books, Books for the Teen Age, New York Public Library, Bank Street Best Children's Book of the, American Library Association Best Books for Young Adults

From Hole in My Life

From my cell window I could see a line of houses in the distance. All week the people had been putting up Halloween decorations. We didn't celebrate Halloween in prison. . . or, I should say, every day in...

Praise for Hole in My Life

“A memoir, by turns harrowing and hilarious, about a huge mistake.” —Miami Herald

“His 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

“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

Reviews from Goodreads

Jack Gantos

Jack Gantos has written books for people of all ages, from picture books and middle-grade fiction to novels for young adults and adults. His works include Hole in My Life, a memoir that won the Michael L. Printz and Robert F. Sibert Honors; the Joey Pigza series, which include a Newbery Honor book and a National Book Award Finalist; Dead End in Norvelt, winner of the Newbery Medal and the Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction; and the Rotten Ralph series.

image of Jack Gantoso

Jack Gantos

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Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)

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