Hole in My Life

( 117 )

Overview

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 ...
See more details below
Available through our Marketplace sellers.
Other sellers (Audiobook)
  • All (4) from $51.09   
  • New (2) from $52.44   
  • Used (2) from $51.09   
Close
Sort by
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Note: Marketplace items are not eligible for any BN.com coupons and promotions
$52.44
Seller since 2014

Feedback rating:

(273)

Condition:

New — never opened or used in original packaging.

Like New — packaging may have been opened. A "Like New" item is suitable to give as a gift.

Very Good — may have minor signs of wear on packaging but item works perfectly and has no damage.

Good — item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Acceptable — item is in working order but may show signs of wear such as scratches or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Used — An item that has been opened and may show signs of wear. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Refurbished — A used item that has been renewed or updated and verified to be in proper working condition. Not necessarily completed by the original manufacturer.

New
Brand New Item.

Ships from: Chatham, NJ

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$80.00
Seller since 2014

Feedback rating:

(164)

Condition: New
Brand new.

Ships from: acton, MA

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Close
Sort by
Hole in My Life

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook - First Edition)
$7.12
BN.com price
This digital version does not exactly match the physical book displayed here.

Overview

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.

The author relates how, as a young adult, he became a drug user and smuggler, was arrested, did time in prison, and eventually got out and went to college, all the while hoping to become a writer.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
"Gantos uses the same bold honesty found in his fiction to offer a riveting autobiographical account of his teen years [when he agreed to help smuggle hashish from Florida to New York and wound up in jail]," PW said. "It will leave readers emotionally exhausted and a little wiser." Ages 12-up. (Sept.) n Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
From The Critics
In this bittersweet autobiography, the future author Jack Gantos is looking for away off his homeland of St. Croix, an island full of racial turmoil and personal stagnation. He wants to go to the United States and try his hand at college so he can fulfill his dreams of becoming a writer. One day, the opportunity of a lifetime lands in his lap, and he finds that he cannot say "no." All he has to do is help smuggle 2,000 pounds of hash on a boat from St. Croiz to New York. For this, he could receive ten thousand dollars, and his ticket to school. Desperate to leave, Gantos falls prey to this crime of convenience, and as fate would have it, he lands in prison. This surprising book recounts the popular YA author's late-teen life, his subsequent arrest and imprisonment. It is frank, harsh, and beautifully truthful at times — especially about life in prison. Above all, this is the story of a young writer trying to find inspiration for his work. Ultimately, he finds the greatest inspiration within himself. 2002, Farrar Straus & Giroux, 200 pp.,
— Thomas Nigel Hames
KLIATT
When Jack Gantos was 20 years old, he wanted to go to college, but his grades in high school had not been good enough. He had desperately longed to be a writer since a very young age, but he couldn't seem to find anything important to write about. He was living in the Virgin Islands when an acquaintance proposed a business venture. Rik had 2,000 pounds of hash that needed to be transported to the US, and he wanted Gantos to help drive the boat. For participating in this enterprise, he would be paid $10,000. The danger and personal risk involved never even occurred to Gantos. All he could see was the means to attend a good college. When they were caught, Gantos was sentenced to prison. Ironically, prison is what enabled him to finally pursue his dream of becoming an author. He finally had the patience to write, but the prison would not allow him to keep a journal. He circumvented this restriction by recording his thoughts in the space between the lines of The Brothers Karamozov. Every aspiring writer should read Gantos' book. It is a testament to the creative potential that exists in everyone's life. Although Gantos' experience in prison shaped him as an author as well as a man, it did not define his character. Every one of his actions following his arrest was an attempt to create a distance between himself and the criminal life. While in prison, he quit doing drugs, began to write, and ultimately applied to and was accepted into college. Hole in My Life is a fascinating and surprising look at the life of the man who has given us Rotten Ralph and the Joey Pigza books, among others. KLIATT Codes: SA*—Exceptional book, recommended for senior high school students,advanced students, and adults. 2002, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 200p. illus., Ages 15 to adult.
—Heather Lisowski
VOYA
Gantos, successful author of books for children and young adults, ventures outside his accustomed venue with this autobiographical work. At the age of nineteen, Gantos helped to smuggle one ton of hashish from St. Croix to New York City, and as a result of being caught, served two years of imprisonment in a federal penitentiary in Ashland, Kentucky. Throughout the first few chapters, the saga seems an extension of the Jack Henry stories. The tone soon changes, however, from the comical eccentricity of Gantos's later teenage years to the tension and paranoia of drug smuggling, and finally the fear and despair of prison life. The reader suffers through each agonizing and vulnerable moment until Jack is released and starts a new life, fulfilling his dream of becoming a writer. Children of the sixties, whose youthful indiscretions turned, or nearly turned, into more disasters, will read this book cover-to-cover without stopping. Even young readers without relevant experience will find their hearts racing and their blood pressure rising as the frightening events of his story unfold. Gantos's honesty and directness in describing the whole experience make reading this book a gut-wrenching experience. Gritty details make it a better fit for older high school students and adults, and teachers who have used Gantos's previous books will find it especially intriguing. (Hard to imagine it being any better written; Broad general YA appeal). James Blasingame
School Library Journal
The compelling story of the author's final year in high school, his brushes with crime, and his subsequent incarceration. Gantos has written much about his early years with his eccentric family, and this more serious book picks up the tale as they moved to Puerto Rico during his junior year. He returned to Florida alone, living in a seedy motel while he finished high school and realized that his options for college weren't great. A failed drug deal cost him most of his savings and he joined his family, now in St. Croix, where he accepted an offer of $10,000 to help sail a boat full of hash to New York. He and his colleagues were caught, and as it turns out, he was in more trouble than he anticipated. Sent to federal prison for up to six years, Gantos landed a job in the hospital section, a post that protected him from his fellow inmates, yet allowed him to witness prison culture firsthand. Much of the action in this memoir-some of it quite raw and harsh-will be riveting to teen readers. However, the book's real strength lies in the window it gives into the mind of an adolescent without strong family support and living in the easy drug culture of the 1970s. Gantos looks for role models and guidance in the pages of the books he is reading, and his drive to be a writer and desire to go to college ultimately save him.-Barbara Scotto, Michael Driscoll School, Brookline, MA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
"We didn't so much arrive at our destinations as aim and crash into them like kamikaze yachtsmen." So Gantos describes himself as a 20-year-old about to be arrested and imprisoned for smuggling two thousand pounds of hashish from St. Croix to New York City. Young Jack seems to share with his fictional characters-Joey Pigza and Jack Henry-a blithe disregard for the consequences of wild behavior. Readers follow him from a seedy motel run by the great-great-granddaughter of Davy Crockett to a Keystone Kops adventure on the sea, from a madcap escape from FBI and Treasury agents to his arrest and trial, represented by his lawyer, Al E. Newman. This true tale of the worst year in the author's life will be a big surprise for his many fans. Gantos has the storyteller's gift of a spare prose style and a flair for the vivid simile: Davy has "brown wrinkled skin like a well-used pirate map"; a prisoner he met was "nervous as a dragonfly"; another strutted "like a bowlegged bulldog." This is a story of mistakes, dues, redemption, and finally success at what he always wanted to do: write books. The explicit descriptions of drug use and prison violence make this a work for older readers. Not the usual "How I Became A Writer" treatise, it is an honest, utterly compelling, and life-affirming chronicle of a personal journey for older teens and adults.
From the Publisher
“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

 

“This true tale of the worst year in the author’s life will be a big surprise for his many fans. . . .This is a story of mistakes, dues, redemption, and finally success at what he always wanted to do: write books.”—Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807216453
  • Publisher: Random House Audio Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 7/22/2003
  • Format: Other
  • Age range: 14 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

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, Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key, a National Book Award Finalist, Joey Pigza Loses Control, a Newbery Honor book, and Dead End in Norvelt, winner of the Newbery Medal and the Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction.

Jack was raised in Norvelt, Pennsylvania, and when he was seven, his family moved to Barbados. He attended British schools, where there was much emphasis on reading and writing, and teachers made learning a lot of fun. When the family moved to south Florida, he found his new classmates uninterested in their studies, and his teachers spent most of their time disciplining students. Jack retreated to an abandoned bookmobile (three flat tires and empty of books) parked out behind the sandy ball field, and read for most of the day. The seeds for Jack’s writing career were planted in sixth grade, when he read his sister’s diary and decided he could write better than she could. He begged his mother for a diary and began to collect anecdotes he overheard at school, mostly from standing outside the teachers’ lounge and listening to their lunchtime conversations. Later, he incorporated many of these anecdotes into stories.

While in college, he and an illustrator friend, Nicole Rubel, began working on picture books. After a series of well-deserved rejections, they published their first book, Rotten Ralph, in 1976. It was a success and the beginning of Jack’s career as a professional writer. Jack continued to write children’s books and began to teach courses in children’s book writing and children’s literature. He developed the master’s degree program in children’s book writing at Emerson College and the Vermont College M.F.A. program for children’s book writers. He now devotes his time to writing books and educational speaking. He lives with his family in Boston, Massachusetts.

Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt

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.

Read More Show Less

Reading Group Guide

Introduction

In Hole in My Life, Jack Gantos recounts

an experience from his own life that many

other writers would rather keep hidden from

public view. In the summer of 1971, the young

Gantos, desperate for cash for college and

willing to take a risk, runs a boatload of

hashish from the Virgin Islands to New York

City. For this job, he is to receive $10,000. In

reality, he gets a six-year prison sentence.

This hauntingly frank story is a slice-of-life

autobiography that examines the events leading up to Gantos’s decision to take part

in illegal activities. He doesn’t make excuses;

he doesn’t rationalize his behavior by saying

he was young and foolish and impressionable.

Instead, what Gantos does so wonderfully in

this book is to confront the mistakes of his

past head-on with no apologies.

Gantos talks about his less than stellar final

year of high school, his restless search for

something to do after graduation, and his rash

decision to earn money quickly. Without a

great deal of thought, he accepts an offer from

an acquaintance, Rik, to help run a boat filled

with hashish to New York. Once he and the

skipper, Hamilton, are in the city, Gantos

helps his cohorts sell the drugs. Then he

begins to relax, telling himself that perhaps

things will work out, that his part in this

escapade will remain a secret. But that is

not to be. Rik is busted and snitches before

Hamilton and Gantos even arrive in New

York. Unbeknownst to Gantos, all of his

customers have been rounded up and have

provided statements identifying him. Gantos

is the last one to be caught and therefore

cannot “cooperate” by providing names of

drug contacts in St. Croix. At the trial, the

prosecutor, stating his belief that Gantos

is withholding information, recommends

incarceration. Gantos’s log of the journey

is also used against him, and he is left to

face severe consequences for his actions.

The result: a sentence harsher than his

companions’.

Once in prison, Gantos has the opportunity

to reflect more sensibly on his career goal —

to become a writer — and to set up a carefully

developed plan for reaching it. At first the goal

seems elusive. The harsh day-to-day existence

inside the prison makes Gantos wonder if he

will ever be able to realize any of his dreams.

However, determination to prove himself

propels Gantos forward into action, positive

actions that ultimately lead to his release from

prison and the beginning of his new life.

Gantos’s frankness and his ability to critically

examine his impetuous youth blend seamlessly

to create a story at once riveting with

excitement while tempered with caveats for

the reader. Never preachy, this book instead gives readers a chance to observe Gantos,

to draw their own conclusions about his

behavior, and, most important, to benefit

from his experience.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 117 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(53)

4 Star

(49)

3 Star

(13)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(2)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 117 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 8, 2011

    Hole in my life

    In the book "A Hole in My Life" Jack Gantos shows his ability to cut right to the point. He has no fear of telling his tragic life story. He is honest with what he did and you have to respect him for that. His experiences made him a better writer and person. Obviously he regrets what he did, but in the end it helped his career. He shows his ability to make the most out of any situation in life. He persevered, worked hard, and learned from his mistakes. He shows great courage in coming out and telling his story. He turned it into a great book and gave a great example of what can happen to you when you get mixed up with the wrong people. He was just a kid, but he committed a major crime and had to pay the price.
    The story of how a young man struggles with high school, moving around the country, avoiding drugs, and trying to become a writer will capture your attention and then leave you shocked. As Jack moved to Saint Croix with his family, he got mixed up with a couple wrong guys. He ends up taking a job sailing 2,000 pounds of hashish to New York. As he makes the journey with the insane naked British man, he is unaware of what is going on around him. The plan would have worked if not for one aspect. As they get to New York and he gets his money, Jack is soon arrested and sent to federal prison. It is there where he truly starts to become a writer. The book shows a period of time in his life where Jack went from good, to bad, to back on the right track. Readers of this book will not be able to put it down.
    The honest memoir of Jack Gantos left me shocked but satisfied. His ability to add humor into the very real story makes it interesting and fun to read. Gantos is a great writer and I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants a suspense filled true story. He puts his experiences on the line and turned his life around and made the most of it.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 8, 2011

    Hole in My Life

    Jack Gantos expresses his memoir, a true, harrowing tale riddled with comedic and despairing moments of how he came to be a successful writer in his latest book, Hole in My Life. An autobiography of sorts, this book retells the woes and humorous events of a student turned federal criminal, then into a successful writer. These stories are plentiful and Jack Gantos expresses them in full candor, without leaving out any details, leaving the reader satisfied but hungry for more. The story of this man's life so far is almost too abstract to be able to imagine but yet, while reading this book you feel sucked in; as though you are out there, on the sailing vessel, on the way to New York with two thousand pounds of hashish in the hull and a naked British man named Hamilton on deck.

    Gantos displays an oxymoron of themes in his book. Knowing the end of his memoir at the beginning foreshadows his humorous, adolescent, and even occasionally disgusting ventures by the unfortunate ending. A stylistic genius, Gantos writes so that one can imagine themselves right next to him throughout his tales.

    If this book could be described in one or two words, one would most likely use "real". This is so because it is the real occurrence of a student who became a drug runner in a series of events. It is the "real" account of a writer. Some may see or believe Gantos as an ex-con failure but Gantos became a successful writer in the end; the title he had been attempting to reach since his most adolescent times.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 8, 2011

    An Exciting Memior

    Jack Gantos wanted to be a writer ever since he read his sister's diary and realized how uncreative, tedious and dull it was. He thought that he could write better than what he had read so, he started journaling himself. It became a record that he kept daily, and he soon recognized the talent that he had in his writing. He later went on to be very successful in this hobby of his, but that's not to say he didn't come across some speed bumps on his journey.
    In his early years, Jack didn't have the smoothest upbringing. His family was constantly going from place to place, moving from house to house. As a boy, he moved to nearly 10 different homes by his senior year in high school. This was when he decided that he was done with his schooling. Unfortunately, skipping college and striving to be a successful writer was harder than he had once thought. Forgoing college was his only choice because he had no money and no way to make any.or so he thought.
    He then found a way to make a lot of money and fast. The only disadvantage was that smuggling drugs was very much illegal and he could go to federal prison if he were caught.which is exactly what happened.
    Hole in My Life is an exciting memoir that keeps the reader interested from his childhood all the way to the time he spent in prison. Gantos includes entries from his very own diary, and goes into great detail making the readers feel as if they are experiencing the adventure themselves.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 8, 2011

    Highly Recommended - you must check it out!!

    Hole in My Life starts off with a fairly normal family that is moving out of the states. When the main character, Jack, who is also the author, was in the middle of his 11th grade year he dropped out. When he decides that it would be better for him to go to school, rather than do construction work, his family sends him back to have his senior year with different family in the states. Living with his new family, the Bacons, doesn't go over very well, however, as he would rather party and drink than obey the rules of the family. He is then kicked out and sent to live on his own once again. After a few more incidents he decides to go live with his family on the island St. Croix. This is what led to his getting arrested. When he was offered $10,000 to smuggle drugs into America, he jumped at the chance because he was going to use the money to go to college, but he ends up getting arrested by the Feds, which obviously he never thought would happen. This book is a well-written memoir, a part in this man's life he wishes never happened, the "hole" in his life.
    There honestly isn't much to criticize, it is very well written and keeps your interest throughout the entire book. It keeps you on the edge of your seat as you wonder whether or not the right decision will be made. You may think his writing can be bland at some points, but this is overcome by a blend of great writing, storytelling, and that constant thought you have in the back of your mind telling you that this was real, that he actually lived this. It would be easy to say the choices he made were wrong, but the way he describes it and writes about it you soon realize that all he really wanted was college and to become a good successful writer. Unfortunately, he made, as we all do, bad choices that resulted in possibly, one of the worst possible outcome.
    It is a very well written book with a style of rough dry humor about tough situations; he is able to laugh at his downfalls in life, which is one of the reasons that makes this book so good. He gives you the examples of what he has done and casually laughs them off, while making it seem horrible enough that the reader never attempts to do any of these things. As a young adult novel, I think it is more of a "what not to do" memoir than an entertaining one, it literally is the "hole" in his life, the part of his life he wants to forget. If you go to his website and read his bio, it says nothing of his jail sentence or even his time on St. Croix, only of his achievements. It is a very good story by an extremely skilled writer that makes for an entertaining book and one definitely worth the $8 and few hours you will spend reading it. It is the first memoir that I have read, but if the others out there are anything like this, it might be a genre I pick up more often.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 16, 2012

    Hi

    Is this a kids book or not?

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 8, 2011

    Book Review over "Hole in My Life" by Jack Gantos

    I am generally not one who enjoys any books that are a required read for school; however, I found that 'Hole in my life' was quite the exception. From living in a welfare motel to being "promptly arrested" as he puts in his public speeches, the book has a certain sense of reality and entertainment that I have not found in many books. His mistakes made for one exciting, well written novel. Money - College - Writer.these were the three words ringing in his head constantly. He became so obsessed and fanatical about getting the money for college that, when the opportunity presented itself, he did not think about the end result, which would eventually be federal prison. Growing up in as unstable an environment as he did, I cannot say I fully blame him for all his mistakes, especially when they involved drugs and alcohol. Also I do not blame him completely for his major mistake, leading him into prison. He involuntarily developed this "tunnel vision" that only allowed him to see the ten thousand dollars and do whatever it took to have that money in his pocket. Overall, this memoir based on the true life scenarios lived by Jack Gantos presents many life lessons that all of us can learn from when we are presented with rather difficult situations. Gantos does a great job portraying how he felt during his experiences. With this comes a deeper understanding about what he was going through while reading the novel. This book creates a unique combination of both comedy and thrilling entertainment.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 13, 2010

    MUST READ! "fist pump" =D

    Ok, well, let me start out by saying that this book is one of the few that I actually enjoyed reading. It is the story of how the author, Jack Gantos, got into some major trouble while looking for adventure, cash for college and a better job. For 10,000 dollars, Gantos agreed to help smuggle a ton of hashish into New York but he gets caught by federal agents and was sentenced to 6 years in jail. This book teaches that there are laws and rules for a reason, and following those laws is usually the best choice.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 25, 2014

    Recommend it

    my gradson had to read it for summer ready for school.
    he liked it

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 1, 2014

    No!

    Let me be the first to say this books unbelievable. Drug smuggling, for real? Our school has to read this for summer reading for high school next year. I will be the first to say this book is not appropriate for kids under 15. There are cuss words and a lot of bad scenes. Dead end in Norvelt was better than this. My dad is a former police officer and dealt with people like this. This is not a good book. On the other hand, it teaches us what not to do in life! Not a good book, again, for children under 15.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2014

          There are multiple characteristics the book Hole in My Lif

          There are multiple characteristics the book Hole in My Life has that make it more enjoyable to read. One is that the book uses very vivid sensory language and shows the reader what a criminal life is like instead of telling them. Jack makes you picture how menacing and intimidating all aspects of prison were. Also, Jack does a really good job creating the theme throughout the book. The theme is that you that you should try to get a job and finish school so you can make something of yourself.

          I would encourage anyone who enjoys reading a nonfiction book to read this. It truly shows what life is like for a criminal and makes you realize that it is a horrible life to live. This book could really give you a new outlook on what life would be like if you were to be put in jail. That is why I encourage the book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 8, 2013

    Basic Information ¿ Genre: Young Adult ¿ Title: Hole In My Lif

    Basic Information
    • Genre: Young Adult
    • Title: Hole In My Life
    • Author: Jack Gantos
    • Setting: St. Croix, To Hamilton’s Ship, Then to New York City
    • Theme: Paranoia
    • Part of a series: No, it’s just a regular old’ Book


    Short, General Synopsis
    • Main Character: Jack Gantos
    • Something Unique: Jack faces real life battles such as drug use, unlawful use of firearms, and even JAILTIME.

    Likes/Dislikes
    • I like the way jack actually tells a real life story and how he endured the situation he was in.
    • I don’t dislike anything about this book it’s a truly amazing book to read if you are into young adult books and almost got away with it type stories.

    Writer’s style
    • The writers style is kind of unique instead of him using clues to give away the theme away he simply states how scared he is to be caught and how paranoid he gets while smuggling the hashish.
    Conclusion
    • Overall this is a very good book to read its basically a biography of the things that happened to a 20 year old man seeking money for college and he was offered $10,000 to help smuggle hashish from St. Croix into New York City.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 13, 2013

    I have a questiin

    Is this book appropriate for a 12 year old?

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 11, 2012

    Should read it!!!!!!!!!

    I read "dead end in norvelt" for a book report and ibam eager to read MORE books by Jack Gantos.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 9, 2011

    Highly Recommended - you must check it out!!

    This is a good book, not boring at all. It helps you know life has a second chance. Funny about his experience in jail but also serious because he felt lonly. Quick and easy read, you wont wanna stop reading.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 8, 2011

    awesomely entertaining - check it out

    "Hole in my life" by Jack Gantos is an incredible book that talks about the epic struggles of a young adult trying to find his way in life, of redemption, and getting his life straight. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys thrillers or introspective books. When Jack Gantos came to my school, he talked about how this was the hardest book he has ever had to write, but it is also a tough one to put down.

    This book balances both sharing his emotions and describing his surroundings. His writing style fits this story perfectly as he goes through this story of thrills and comedy. As you are captivated in the first few pages you will embark on an epic journey along side Gantos and go through the emotional roller coaster ride that is "Hole in My Life". As I finished this book I didn't even have the dreaded feeling that is post book letdown. I just turned the last page to realize that it was over

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 8, 2011

    Awweessssoommmee!

    In the middle of his senior year, Jack Gantos decides to move away from his parents in San Juan to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and starts to focus on his dream of writing. However, after getting kicked out of a family friend's house, Jack has to find a way to support himself financially and still have enough to pay for a college education, finding out later it was harder than it looks. When he moves back in with his parents in St. Croix, his friend Rik tells him of a job that can get him the tuition money quickly, so he jumps right at it, soon finding out that this one ton hash smuggle could possibly put him in jail for years to come. Jack's superb way of describing his personal experience as an innocent young adult in real life situations makes you feel as if you are in his footsteps. Every description of each setting laid out a landscape in your mind, and the adrenaline-rushing action made your heart pound in fear and kept you on the edge of your seat. Although "Hole in My Life" is an action-packed memoir of his journey to federal prison, Jack Gantos made sure that this book provided a message to the readers. From an ex-con who showed no potential in the professional field of writing to becoming a prestigious author in both children and adult novels, Jack shows that no matter what situation you're put through, always follow your dreams. I had the chance to meet Jack Gantos in person, and he is truly following his dream. If you enjoy reading true life stories with inspiring messages that will stay with you forever, then I would recommend you read this book. "You - as a reader - may be finished with a book.but the book may not be finished with you." -Jack Gantos

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 8, 2011

    Life-Changing Experience Creates a Life-Changing Book!

    As a bit of a perpetual yet reluctant reader because of school work, I rarely get excited about required reading in a class. I had the same feeling when my English teacher told us we were going to begin reading "Hole in My Life." I wasn't looking forward to it. Even when I began reading the memoir, I was simply glancing over the words; not taking in any real content. However, after the first few pages, my interest in Gantos' story grew immensely.
    In an adventure of laughter, excitement, and thrills, Jack Gantos describes his fourteen-month sentence in federal prison after smuggling hash into New York. While reading, you really feel as though Gantos himself is talking right to your face about the events. You also acknowledge the fact that Gantos really matured from a kid who doesn't think things through to, by the end of the book, a true man who had been through a lifetime of experiences in a little time.
    Overall, I would recommend "Hole in My Life" for anyone wanting to read a book that can physically impact your life. There are many life lessons that can be learned and applied to your own life through reading this book.
    Thank you

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 8, 2011

    quite elite

    "Hole in My Life", a memoir by Jack Gantos, adds photographic detail through his words to a dark and serious genre that would otherwise be frank and depressing. With well placed humor and true to life descriptions, you can't help but picture everything even when you don't want to. Throughout his criminal escapade, Gantos continues down his increasingly narrow future. Although his memoir details his smuggling operation, Gantos makes it clear that his book is truly about his becoming a writer. This book, unlike countless others, has really left me with something to take away. He reminded me of how even when something looks like it could be the best option, it might end up being the exact opposite. Gantos explained how unfair the association is between a bad kid and a desperate kid. Throughout his teenage and young adult life, Gantos had been put in the wrong places. His memoir not only showed the consequences of disobeying the law, but also how unfortunate a talented person can be. In the end, I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for an enthralling yet serious read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 8, 2011

    Great read.....Top ten

    Jack Gantos made a mistake as a young adult that completely changed his life. He had always aspired to be an author, but was unable to put his thoughts and writings together until he went on a trip that ultimately altered the way he writes. This true story of adventure, mistakes, and misfortune keeps you wanting to read more and more.

    Jack Gantos does a phenomenal job incorporating short bursts of humor all throughout the book. This book is filled with moments that put you on the edge of your seat such as getting their boat loaded with 2 tons of hashish stuck in military waters. Since the author is the one telling his own story, it is incredibly detailed, and it is all completely true. His dream of getting a college education would eventually come true and give him his lucky break after landing in jail when he gets busted for smuggling drugs.

    Personally, this one is definitely in my top ten books to read. The sheer magnitude of the situation that Gantos eventually ended up in really forces you to pay attention to details and just take everything in. It is almost like he is relaying you his account of the story while sitting right next to you. This book made me realize that if you are put in the worst situations you can change yourself for the better in ways that you may have never thought possible. Reading this book has changed the way I think and proceed with my
    life. I would recommend this book to anyone.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2011

    An easy read that will entertain

    The final year of high school is important in determining a person's future. This was the case for Jack Gantos as he pieced together the story of his restive final year. He was an aspiring writer and was desperate for some action to write about. The problem was that he did not have enough money for college. Jack was willing to do anything for the price of ten-thousand dollars. It seemed like a quick-fix solution for the money to start his writing career. He agreed to sail two-thousand pounds of hashish to New York. Getting caught by the F.B.I. and sentenced six-years in federal prison was never part of the plan, but prison allowed him to reconsider his beliefs and allowed him to become the serious writer that he is today.




    This is not simply a scared confessional; it is much more than just a moral message to the audience. Young adult readers will be able to appreciate the honesty and boldness that he expresses in his struggle in finding his true identity. This book also shows the importance of a strong family support, of which Jack was deprived. Much of the action was all brutally realistic and no events were sugar coated, allowing a more fascinating tale. Aspiring writers of any age should read this book because it is a beautiful story about the making of a successful writer.
    Tom McCallie

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 117 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)