9780374399887

Hole in My Life

by
  • ISBN13:

    9780374399887

  • ISBN10:

    0374399883

  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 3/26/2002
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)

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Supplemental Materials

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Summary

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.

Author Biography

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.

Table of Contents

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 prison was scarier than any Halloween, so there was no reason to do anything special on October 31st. But thinking of Halloween reminded me of a funny story from when I was in fifth grade. We were living in Kendall, Florida, right on the train tracks. One Halloween afternoon police cars flooded our neighborhood and announced that Halloween was canceled because there had been a prison break upstate at Raford. A couple of guys had hopped a freight and the cops thought they may have jumped off in our area. We locked our doors and turned on all the lights. We pulled the curtains. All night I scampered from window to window peeking out and looking for unshaven suspicious types in striped outfits. Every time a bush rustled in the wind my heart leapt. I saw rugged prison mugs in every shadow. It was the most exciting Halloween ever. The escapees were caught not far from our house and I was disappointed that I hadn’t spotted them slinking around.

I wrote this story down in my journal. From time to time I wrote down other funny stories and memories about my family and my childhood. It was a relief to write stories that didn’t have bars around them.

Excerpts

From Hole in My LifeFrom 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 prison was scarier than any Halloween, so there was no reason to do anything special on October 31st. But thinking of Halloween reminded me of a funny story from when I was in fifth grade. We were living in Kendall, Florida, right on the train tracks. One Halloween afternoon police cars flooded our neighborhood and announced that Halloween was canceled because there had been a prison break upstate at Raford. A couple of guys had hopped a freight and the cops thought they may have jumped off in our area. We locked our doors and turned on all the lights. We pulled the curtains. All night I scampered from window to window peeking out and looking for unshaven suspicious types in striped outfits. Every time a bush rustled in the wind my heart leapt. I saw rugged prison mugs in every shadow. It was the most exciting Halloween ever. The escapees were caught not far from our house and I was disappointed that I hadn’t spotted them slinking around.I wrote this story down in my journal. From time to time I wrote down other funny stories and memories about my family and my childhood. It was a relief to write stories that didn’t have bars around them.

Excerpted from Hole in My Life by Jack Gantos
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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