Saturday, June 20, 2009

A Hole in my Life by Jack Gantos

This the first biography I've read in a long time. It's the second book for my YA lit class that we are reading together.

Jack has the writing bug – but can’t seem to figure out how to go about writing. Instead he floats through life making questionable choices, but not actually getting into much trouble until he meets Rik. Rik offers him the opportunity of his life – serve as second mate on a sailboat smuggling hash to NYC from St. Croix and earn $10,000. It seems like an easy way to make the money he needs to get into college – so Jack agrees.

The mission is doomed from the beginning, with storms, a broken sextant and a crazy skipper. But, Jack is hopeful. They arrive in NYC and aren’t caught until most of the hash is sold. Though Jack was not directly involved with the sale of drugs, he was an accomplice and put into prison.

Here his life begins to change. For the first time – he actually has something to write about. He uses the Brothers Karamazov as a journal and writes himself into a better frame of mind as he works in the prison hospital as an X-ray tech. After 15 months he is released.

The book is graphic in it's description of prison life and exploits. It is also very free in the details about doing drugs. I wanted to like Jack - but I really didn't care about him very much. So, if this was meant to be a cautionary tale about drug use - it was lost on me!!

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