What Would Joey Do? (Joey Pigza Series #3)

( 36 )

Overview

Sequel to Joey Pigza Loses Control, a Newbery Honor Book

Are they flirting or fighting? This is Joey Pigza's question when the fireworks suddenly start to explode between his long-separated mom and dad, whom he's never really had a chance to see together. The more out of control his parents get, the less in control Joey feels and the more he wants to help make things better. But Joey's ailing tell-it-like-it-is grandmother wants her grandson to see it like it is with his ...

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What Would Joey Do? (Joey Pigza Series #3)

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Overview

Sequel to Joey Pigza Loses Control, a Newbery Honor Book

Are they flirting or fighting? This is Joey Pigza's question when the fireworks suddenly start to explode between his long-separated mom and dad, whom he's never really had a chance to see together. The more out of control his parents get, the less in control Joey feels and the more he wants to help make things better. But Joey's ailing tell-it-like-it-is grandmother wants her grandson to see it like it is with his unpredictable parents. Knowing that she is fading fast, she needs Joey to hurry up and show that he can break the Pigza family mold by making a friend in the outside world. The only potential candidate, however, is Olivia Lapp -- Joey's blind homeschooling partner, who brags that she is "blind as a brat" and acts meaner to Joey the more desperate he gets for her friendship -- even if Joey senses there's more to her than meets the eye.

In this dazzling episode, Jack Gantos's acclaimed hyperactive hero discovers that settling down isn't good for anything if he can't find a way to stop the people he cares about from winding him up all over again.

What Would Joey Do? is a 2003 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.

Joey tries to keep his life from degenerating into total chaos when his mother sends him to be home-schooled with a hostile blind girl, his divorced parents cannot stop fighting, and his grandmother is dying of emphysema.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
What they’re saying about Joey:

"Joey . . . is an impossible, contradictory, glorious creation." —Liz Rosenberg, The Boston Sunday Globe

* "Joey isn’t leading the easiest of lives, but he’s a tough and triumphant kid with an absorbing story." —The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, starred review

"In Joey Pigza, Mr. Gantos has meticulously crafted the voice of a troubled kid with a solid center of goodness. Joey tells his own story, and it reads like a ride in a car without brakes." —Sue Corbett, Knight Ridder News Service

* "Joey emerges as a sympathetic hero, and his heart of gold never loses its shine." —Publishers Weekly, starred review

* "Readers will cheer for Joey, and for the champion in each of us." —School Library Journal, starred review

"Stepping into Joey Pigza’s skin isn’t easy . . . But it’s worth the discomforting fit." —Deirdre Donahue, USA Today

Knight Ridder News Service Sue Corbett

In Joey Pigza, Mr. Gantos has meticulously crafted the voice of a troubled kid with a solid center of goodness. Joey tells his own story, and it reads like a ride in a car without brakes.
Liz Rosenberg
Joey . . . is an impossible, contradictory, glorious creation.
The Boston Sunday Globe
Sue Corbett
In Joey Pigza, Mr. Gantos has meticulously crafted the voice of a troubled kid with a solid center of goodness.
Knight Ridder News Service
School Library Journal
Readers will cheer for Joey, and for the champion in each of us.
Deirdre Donahue
Stepping into Joey Pigza's skin isn't easy . . . But it's worth the discomforting fit.
USA Today
Starred
Joey isn't leading the easiest of lives, but he's a tough and triumphant kid with an absorbing story.
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
Sue Corbett
In Joe Pigza, Mr. Gantos has meticulously crafted the voice of a troubled kid with a solid center of goodness, Joey tells his own story, and it reads like a ride in a car without brakes.
Knight Ridder News Service
Deirdre Donahue
Stepping into Joey Pigza's skin isn't easy . . . But it's worth the discomforting fit.
USA Today
Publishers Weekly
The final title in the saga that includes the Newbery Honor book Joey Pigza Loses Control finds the hero flustered by his parent's questionable reunion and his ailing grandmother's efforts to push Joey to make friends. Ages 10-up. (Apr.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Gr 4-8-Joey's back, and this time he's not doing as much of the "weird Joey stuff" as usual. Now that he's ready to be "Mr. Helpful," it seems that everyone around him needs more help than he can give. His mom and dad have crazy fights involving motorcycle crashes, kidnapped Chihuahuas, and a restraining order. Joey's new homeschool partner is Olivia, a blind girl who earns the title of "Mistress of All Evil," and whose fundamentalist mother teaches them. And Grandma, the person who best understands Joey, is dying. The boy's first-person narration is as frenetically fun as it was in the first two books. Here, though, his energy and insights are turned more on those around him, and he turns out to be terrifically perceptive. His observations are totally believable because he vividly recalls (and sometimes still indulges in) dysfunctional behavior. His ability to connect with several diversely troubled personalities sets up many humorous scenes. A convoluted, but oddly logical scheme involving Olivia, Grandma, and tickets to Godspell culminates in the boy's touching (and very funny) first date. By book's end, Joey has lost a loved one, but he has gained enough confidence, and even wisdom, to look out for himself without letting his external problems overwhelm him or hold him back. Readers who don't know Joey will have no trouble jumping right in with this book, and those who have met him in the previous books will enjoy the way "Mr. Helpful" tries to set things right in a chaotic and uniquely amusing world.-Steven Engelfried, Beaverton City Library, OR Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Clad in black leather, Carter Pigza motorcycles into town like some mad vampire on the loose, with Mrs. Pigza chasing after him with a broom, looking like a witch about to take flight. Grandma huffs on the tube from her oxygen tank, threatening to shrivel into a zombie and haunt Joey for eternity. Moreover, Joey’s only friend happens to be the baddest blind girl in town. Welcome to Joey’s world. Hard to believe that Joey is the almost-normal one in this third and last installment in the chronicles of Joey Pigza. With his med patches, Joey has gotten better, but nobody else has. As in Joey Pigza Loses Control (2000), Humpty Dumpty is a powerful metaphor. In a world of untogether people—like Humpty after his fall—Joey wants to be together, even the one to make the whole world better. But it’s a hard thing for a boy with problems of his own to be in charge of keeping house, family, and hope from being blown to smithereens. Images of monsters, allusions to fairy tale characters, and sparkling similes make for a wild tale. However, it’s not just a funny story with nutty parents out of control, it’s a poignant story of family, loss, lessons learned, and one boy’s learning to make his way in the world with confidence and good cheer. This work easily stands by itself, but readers new to Joey Pigza will rush out to get the others, too. A must read. (Fiction. 10+)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books Starred

Joey isn't leading the easiest of lives, but he's a tough and triumphant kid with an absorbing story.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781250061690
  • Publisher: Square Fish
  • Publication date: 7/1/2014
  • Series: Joey Pigza Series, #3
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 133,977
  • Age range: 10 - 14 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.60 (h) x 0.80 (d)

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.

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Read an Excerpt

What Would Joey Do?

1

SPARKS

About three weeks ago Dad suddenly showed up in town and started buzzing us on his motorcycle at all hours of the day and night. At first I was afraid because I thought he had come to get me, but I was wrong. He was much more interested in Mom. I lost track of how many times he roared down our street and ran the corner traffic light past Quips Pub, where Mom lounged in the leather window seat sipping a mixed drink with her new boyfriend while making plans for her future. Dad must have spotted her there during one of his rounds. He didn't say anything, but he'd look at her in the window like she was something he wanted. Then, he'd blast off. If it was dark out, I could look through my back bedroom window and between the lines of damp laundry catch his single jittery headlight brightly striking the white marbletombstones lined up like crooked teeth behind our yard as he cut through St. Mary's Cemetery and raced out and around the neighborhood making a crazy eight before he looped back down Plum Street and past our house again. He must have been watching her closely because sometimes he'd show up the minute she got home from work. Then, her face would go red and I'd watch her run out to the front porch and yell at him as he raced by, but the louder she yelled the louder he revved the engine.

"I'm losing my patience with that man," Mom would say when she came back inside, pacing wildly up the hall, swinging around and down again, past the furniture and me and Pablo and Grandma, as if she too were on a motorcycle that was darting past us.

"If you didn't yell at him I bet he'd get bored and go home," I said once while trying to be helpful.

"He'd better return to the hole he lives in," she said, "or I'll send him into the next kingdom."

"Just ignore him," I advised. "It'll drive him nuts."

"And I'll go nuts if I don't yell at him," she replied.

I knew Dad. Yelling at him was only going to make him want to yell back twice as loud. The only way Mom could be louder than him was to be quiet. He couldn't stand to be ignored and Mom couldn't stand to be quiet, so I knew something bad was on the way. I could feel it coming, just as I could hear his motorcycle circling.

And then it finally happened. We were out on the front porch late one afternoon. I was squatted down behind a wooden railing, holding my dog Pablo and peeking out between the slats, while Mom was on the top step hollering at Dad. The muffler on his motorcycle was dragging across the asphalt and a steady stream of sparks trailed behind him like the lighted fuse on a bomb that was headed right at our house. He looked like a giant black bat in his studded leather biker outfit with his hands raised up in the air on his chopper handlebars and his shiny blue-eyed wraparound sunglasses clamped tight against his bony face. He had already circled our block about ten times in a row and each time he got a little closer to the house, as if he were zeroing in on a target. He was really flying and when he reached our yard he jerked up on his handlebars and lifted his front wheel over the stone curb. When his back wheel hit the curb the rear of the chopper bounced up and almost catapulted him forward. Still, he hung on and landed with a smack back in his seat as he fishtailed across the sidewalk and headed straight for the porch.

But Mom was waiting for him, and she was ready for a fight. As soon as he jumped the curb she sprang forward and bolted down the porch stairs with a broom held up over her head as if she would swat him like a biker vampire who had come to suck our blood. But when she reached the bottom stair andleaped forward he stuck out his leg with a huge, nasty boot on the end of it and without flinching knocked her back on her butt as he turned and roared across our rutted dirt yard and toward the street. She bounced just once and flattened out like something heavy dropped from the roof as he laughed, or cursed, or announced his return—I couldn't tell which because of the engine noise, and with Mom's yelling and Pablo's yapping in my ear, I couldn't hear anything clearly. Then, as he flew off the yard, his muffler hit the curb and suddenly there was an explosion of sparks like a comet smashing into the earth, only it was his muffler flipping into the air and spinning like a pinwheel, showering the street with sparks. Instantly the engine noise was a hundred times louder and I had to drop Pablo to cover my ears as Dad snarled down to the end of the block where he turned right and I could hear him open the throttle along the straightaway and rattle the windows across the neighborhood, across all of Lancaster, maybe the whole state of Pennsylvania.

And then Mom scrambled to her feet and raised her fist in the air. "So you want to play dirty?" she hollered. "I'll show you what dirty is!" She charged up the porch stairs two at a time. "Outta my way," she panted, and rushed past me with her broom held forward like a witch about to launch herself.

"Are you okay?" I asked. "Are you hurt?"

"This time I'm gonna kill that creep," she promised with a murderous look on her face that made her words seem real to me. "I should've done it years ago and put him out of my misery."

I followed her into the house.

"I don't think you should kill him," I said, and held on to the back end of the broom. "He's just a nut."

"A dangerous pain-in-the-butt nut," she replied, and yanked the broom away. "He can't scare me, but I'm gonna make him pay for messing with you."

"Don't do it because of me," I said. "Just leave him alone and he'll go away."

"No, this time he has to pay."

"But he doesn't owe me anything," I pleaded. "Just lock the door and call the police."

"Hey, I'm doing this for you!" she replied, and gave me an exasperated look as if I didn't appreciate her protection.

"But you don't have to," I said.

"Fine! Fine!" she snapped. "Fine!"

And because it looked like she might blow a gasket I stood up on my tiptoes and imitated her by saying "Fine! Fine!" right back, just like a mirror she might see herself in and calm down, and then we would call the cops and they would scare Dad away and all of this would be over with.

But my little act didn't work.

Instead, her eyes bugged out and she was definitely not calm. "If you won't help just stay out of my way," she said, glaring at me. Then she pointed to the carpet and gave me an intense, squinty look. "Don't you dare move from this spot." Her finger stabbed the air over the dark stain where Pablo had made a little doggy mess after we left him behind while we did our ten-mile walkathon against lung cancer that almost killed us. Her new boyfriend—who has a name that sounds like Tooth Decay but is really Booth Duprey—took us. He's very enthusiastic.

"I can't promise that I won't move," I said. "What if I have to scratch my nose or go to the bathroom or faint?"

She grabbed me by the neck of my shirt and yanked my face toward hers. "Look into my eyes!" she demanded. "Look! Can't you see I'm half nuts right now? That I'm at my wit's end and the last thing I need is you playing games with me?"

"Sorry," I said in a tiny voice the size of a talking ant. "Soooooo sorry."

Then she let me go and ran out the back door hollering, "You are a dead man, Carter Pigza!" She sprinted across the yard and out the metal gate and into the cemetery behind our house. She was going to ambush him from behind the big silver statue ofJesus, who had his arms stretched out from side to side like someone trying to stop a fight.

"What in the blazes is going on?" Grandma growled from her curtained-off corner of the living room.

Grandma was living with us again. When I was little she took care of me. Then Mom returned and they bumped heads over how to raise me so Grandma moved in with Dad. But Dad drove his own mom crazy too. When she came back at the end of the summer there wasn't an empty bedroom for her, so Mom pushed the couch into a corner of the living room for a bed, then rigged up a plastic shower curtain that pulled to and fro and gave her a bit of privacy. But nothing gave us privacy from her.

I pulled the shower curtain to one side and covered my eyes. Sometimes she wasn't fully dressed, and with her clothes off and teeth out it was like lifting the lid on a coffin.

But she was sitting up with a cutting board across her lap that she used as a desk. She had taken a job earning money at home by folding junk-mail advertisements and stuffing them into envelopes. She had a lot of paper cuts on her tongue which only made her meaner.

"I said, what in the blazes is going on out there? You bring home a jackhammer?" She started coughing so loudly I didn't think she could hear me replythat Dad was buzzing us again and Mom had snapped and was running with a broom from the front yard to the cemetery.

But Grandma had heard everything I said, and once she sucked a few deep breaths out of the tube from her oxygen tank, she swelled up and blurted out, "This is exactly how it was before you were hatched. Always flirtin'. Always this kind of fightin' back and forth so that you never knew if he wanted to kiss her or kill her, and she is just dumb enough to play his little dating game. I've seen this before when he left her pregnant, then returned and made up, and then they had a big blowout and you were born, and the next thing you know he swings by and she runs off with him and leaves you to me. I didn't see much of her until she walked in the door last year and started treating me like an old shoe."

"She's not interested in Dad. She already has Booth," I said. "They're in love."

Grandma's laugh sounded like flames crackling. "Not for long," she predicted. "Once he gets wind of these antics he'll pack up his heart and be long gone and hard to find."

In the distance I could hear Dad slow down in order to slip through the narrow back gate in the cemetery fence, and I knew he had one more short straightaway before he'd reach the corner of our street and wouldsoon be ripping past our house and I didn't want to miss him. "Relax," I said to Grandma.

"Relax?" she said. "Impossible. I'm back here because when you left me at your father's I knew I had made a big mistake leaving you in the first place. Oh no, I won't relax until I'm running this show again."

Suddenly Mom staggered through the back door. She bent over with her hands on her knees and took a few deep breaths. "Darn it," she growled, then stood up. "I missed him and he kicked me on my can again." Once she got her breath back she ran out the front door and squatted down behind the busted porch swing that was hanging lopsided from me dancing on it until the chain on one end pulled out of the ceiling.

"Don't you have anything else to do besides sit around here and watch this catfight?" Grandma asked.

"Not right now," I said.

"Then come here," she whispered. I leaned forward and she reached out and grabbed my ears as she hoisted herself from the couch with a grunt.

"Ouch," I cried. Her old bony fingers were like monkey claws.

"Don't you have some friends you need to visit?"

"No," I said, and wrestled away from her. I wantedto get to the front porch. I hadn't seen my parents together very much and I had missed all their fireworks. Every other kid gets to see their parents fight, so watching mine actually made me feel kind of normal.

"You know, Joey," Grandma said, "you gotta make some friends."

"I have Pablo," I said.

"Pablo is a dog," she replied.

"He's more than a dog," I cut in. "When I rub his belly a genie pops out his mouth and grants me wishes."

"I don't care if he does card tricks, he's still a dog," she shot back. "Just a dog. Face it. Nothing but a dog—and not much of one at that. So don't tell me what he is or isn't. What you need is a person friend your own age. Not a genie, or a wind-up toy, or a robot. Pablo should go play with other dogs and you should go make a friend."

"I almost have a friend," I said.

"Who?" she spit back. "That mean blind girl who makes you cry?"

I never should have told Grandma that Olivia Lapp made me cry.

"She hates you," Grandma continued. "You said so yourself."

"Well, I'm working on her," I said. "You'll see."

"Yeah," Grandma scoffed, "I'll believe it when I see it."

Just then I heard Dad downshift, turn the corner, and start tearing up our street.

"Excuse me," I said to Grandma and skipped away. "I don't want to miss this."

I reached the porch just as Dad was making his first move. He launched his chopper up over the curb as Mom dashed down the stairs with the broom held out like a bayonet. When he saw her he smiled and stuck out his boot again, but this time she thrust the handle toward his front wheel. There was a snapping sound as the handle jammed into the spokes and the bike flipped through the air. Dad shot forward yowling like a cat blasted out of a cannon. Where our yard stopped and the neighbor's began stood a dead apple tree with gray branches sticking out like dry old bolts of lightning, and he went sprawling into it and something cracked and then he just hung there with his legs kicking as the tree vibrated.

The motorcycle tumbled head-over-heels behind him, hit the trunk of the tree, and choked to a stop. Suddenly it was very quiet. Then Dad cried out, "Help me, I'm speared on a branch!"

And Mom screamed, "Oh my God, I killed him!"

"He's not dead yet," I said. "He's still talking."

"Who's dead?" Grandma asked as she shuffled onto the porch, then broke into a phlegmy cough. Every time she spoke it sounded like me sucking milk spit through a straw.

"Dad," I blurted out. "He's stuck on a tree branch, but he's alive."

"Unless that branch pierced his heart he'll be fine," she said. "He's part vampire."

"That's just what I thought," I said.

"Well, it's about time you realize we are alike," she confirmed. "You and me, we're cut from the same cloth. Now run inside and call an ambulance before his howling attracts every cat in the neighborhood."

I ran inside for the phone and tried to dial 911 but I was so worked up I couldn't get the numbers right and I kept jabbing at the dial like a hyper woodpecker until by luck I got directory assistance and I just told the lady to give me 911. When the emergency operator answered I was breathing as hard as Grandma. "We've had a motorcycle accident," I said. "Send an ambulance." I fired out the address, then hung up and ran back to the porch.

"Hold on, Dad!" I yelled. "I called the ambulance." Just then the branch snapped and he fell to the ground like a rotten apple. He moaned loudly, and I could see a piece of bloody branch sticking through a gap between his leather jacket and his pants.

Mom knelt down beside him with one hand on his head and the other on the branch that came out of his back around the outside of his ribs. "Don't worry," she said. "Don't worry. It's just a little branch. It won't kill you."

It wasn't killing him, but he was bleeding, and complaining and squirming around like when you step on a snake. "Dang it, I'm going to have the cops put you in jail for attempted murder."

"Quiet," she said. "Just relax."

"You'll spend the rest of your life in prison," he threatened. Then he let out a desperate yowl because at that moment Mom grabbed the piece of branch and gave it a good shake.

"I said be quiet," she growled. "And don't threaten me or else you won't be around to see the police arrest you for assault. What I did was self-defense."

If he was dying, he was doing it loudly. "You always wanted to kill me and now you have. I was just trying to have a little fun and as usual you have to go and ruin it."

"Shut up, you big baby," she said, and wiggled the branch as if she were shifting gears.

"Ow.w.w," he moaned. "Don't hurt me."

"What's it matter now that you're dying?"

I started to run toward them but Grandma snatched my shirt from behind. "Joey, you stay up here on the porch and leave those two fools alone."

"But I want to help," I pleaded.

"You can't," she replied. "They don't want help. They're just gluttons for punishment. Either they're givin' a beating or gettin' one."

I must have figured she was right because I stoppedin my tracks and stayed by her side. She jerked me around behind her as if she were protecting me from a fire. "Listen," she said. "I can hear a siren."

And in a minute an ambulance pulled up and a couple of paramedics jumped out and ran over to Dad. One of them slowly started to feel his arms and legs for broken bones while the other one took a pair of shears and cut his jacket so he could look at the branch. "Just relax, mister," he kept saying."It's not as bad as it looks. Just calm down and breathe normal."

"Hell's bells," Dad replied. "How can I calm down when I have a piece of tree running through my body and you've cut up my leathers?"

"It's just a flesh wound," the medic said. "It's only gone through the fat on the outside of your ribs."

"I'm dyin'," he said. "I'm bleeding to death."

"Settle down," the medic said, "and you won't bleed as much."

"He can't settle down," Mom said. "He's permanently jerky."

Dad started to say something but the other medic put a big foam collar around his neck that pushed his chin up so he couldn't talk anymore. Then they shifted him sideways onto a wooden stretcher and I could see right away that even though he was slick with blood the piece of branch that was poking through him was only about as big around as a cue stick.

Mom climbed into the ambulance after him, and just before the driver closed the door I could see her reach for Dad's hand and hold it tight.

Grandma saw it too. "What'd I tell you," she said bitterly after they sped off. "They're a couple of sick love-puppies who deserve each other."

As soon as the ambulance was out of sight, a police car slowly rolled up to our house and two cops got out. One of them had a clipboard and the other one had a walkie-talkie that squawked like an angry parrot trapped in a box. I knew I should have been upset about what had happened, really off the wall and pulling my hair out in clumps, but somehow I wasn't. I just stood there and breathed as deeply as I could and then let all the air leak out until I felt empty inside, as if my breath were a visitor who entered me, looked around, found nothing of special interest, and left.

Grandma turned and stared down at me with a harsh look on her lined face. "Go get lost," she said, wheezing like a broken accordion.

"What are you going to tell them?" I asked.

"Nothing," Grandma replied, and reached down the back of my shirt and peeled off my med patch that kept me from being too hyper. Sometimes we shared medication. The doctor wouldn't give her a patch for being hyper, because he said at her age hyper was good. "Let me borrow this for a few minutes while thecops are here," she said, and slapped it on the side of her neck as if she were covering up a vampire bite.

"Why can't I stay and tell them what I saw?"

"Because you might tell the truth, and as far as I'm concerned, who can say between the two of those nuts which one is criminally insane and which one is mentally ill? Let the cops figure it out on their own. Now, skedaddle."

"Okay," I said, and shrugged. "See you later." Then I scooped Pablo up, grabbed the leash that was hanging over the doorknob, and zipped out the back door.

Copyright © 2002 by Jack Gantos

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Table of Contents

Contents

Title Page,
Copyright Notice,
1 - SPARKS,
2 - PEEK-A-BOO!,
3 - BRAT GIRL,
4 - MR. HELPFUL,
5 - LOST DOG,
6 - WANTED MAN,
7 - STOCKYARDS,
8 - DAY BY DAY,
9 - HAIRCUT,
10 - KNOCK-KNOCK,
11 - SMITHEREENS,
12 - SOCKS AND SHOES,
13 - TUG-OF-WAR,
14 - W.W.J.D.?,
BY JACK GANTOS,
Copyright Page,
A Note from the Author,
Gofish - Questions for the Author,
Joey Pigza Fan Mail,
Preview: I am not Joey Pigza,
Read All the Joey Pigza Books!,
The Jack Henry Adventures,
The Norvelt Novels,

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First Chapter

What Would Joey Do?

Chapter One

SPARKS

About three weeks ago Dad suddenly showed up in town and started buzzing us on his motorcycle at all hours of the day and night. At first I was afraid because I thought he had come to get me, but I was wrong. He was much more interested in Mom. I lost track of how many times he roared down our street and ran the corner traffic light past Quips Pub, where Mom lounged in the leather window seat sipping a mixed drink with her new boyfriend while making plans for her future. Dad must have spotted her there during one of his rounds. He didn't say anything, but he'd look at her in the window like she was something he wanted. Then, he'd blast off. If it was dark out, I could look through my back bedroom window and between the lines of damp laundry catch his single jittery headlight brightly striking the white marble tombstones lined up like crooked teeth behind our yard as he cut through St. Mary's Cemetery and raced out and around the neighborhood making a crazy eight before he looped back down Plum Street and past our house again. He must have been watching her closely because sometimes he'd show up the minute she got home from work. Then, her face would go red and I'd watch her run out to the front porch and yell at him as he raced by, but the louder she yelled the louder he revved the engine.

"I'm losing my patience with that man," Mom would say when she came back inside, pacing wildly up the hall, swinging around and down again, past the furniture and me and Pablo and Grandma, as if she too were on a motorcycle that was darting past us.

"If you didn't yell at him I bet he'd get bored and go home," I said once while trying to be helpful.

"He'd better return to the hole he lives in," she said, "or I'll send him into the next kingdom."

"Just ignore him," I advised. "It'll drive him nuts."

"And I'll go nuts if I don't yell at him," she replied.

I knew Dad. Yelling at him was only going to make him want to yell back twice as loud. The only way Mom could be louder than him was to be quiet. He couldn't stand to be ignored and Mom couldn't stand to be quiet, so I knew something bad was on the way. I could feel it coming, just as I could hear his motorcycle circling.

And then it finally happened. We were out on the front porch late one afternoon.

I was squatted down behind a wooden railing, holding my dog Pablo and peeking out between the slats, while Mom was on the top step hollering at Dad. The muffler on his motorcycle was dragging across the asphalt and a steady stream of sparks trailed behind him like the lighted fuse on a bomb that was headed right at our house. He looked like a giant black bat in his studded leather biker outfit with his hands raised up in the air on his chopper handlebars and his shiny blue-eyed wraparound sunglasses clamped tight against his bony face. He had already circled our block about ten times in a row and each time he got a little closer to the house, as if he were zeroing in on a target. He was really flying and when he reached our yard he jerked up on his handlebars and lifted his front wheel over the stone curb. When his back wheel hit the curb the rear of the chopper bounced up and almost catapulted him forward. Still, he hung on and landed with a smack back in his seat as he fishtailed across the sidewalk and headed straight for the porch.

But Mom was waiting for him, and she was ready for a fight. As soon as he jumped the curb she sprang forward and bolted down the porch stairs with a broom held up over her head as if she would swat him like a biker vampire who had come to suck our blood. But when she reached the bottom stair and leaped forward he stuck out his leg with a huge, nasty boot on the end of it and without flinching knocked her back on her butt as he turned and roared across our rutted dirt yard and toward the street. She bounced just once and flattened out like something heavy dropped from the roof as he laughed, or cursed, or announced his return -- I couldn't tell which because of the engine noise, and with Mom's yelling and Pablo's yapping in my ear, I couldn't hear anything clearly. Then, as he flew off the yard, his muffler hit the curb and suddenly there was an explosion of sparks like a comet smashing into the earth, only it was his muffler flipping into the air and spinning like a pinwheel, showering the street with sparks. Instantly the engine noise was a hundred times louder and I had to drop Pablo to cover my ears as Dad snarled down to the end of the block where he turned right and I could hear him open the throttle along the straightaway and rattle the windows across the neighborhood, across all of Lancaster, maybe the whole state of Pennsylvania.

And then Mom scrambled to her feet and raised her fist in the air. "So you want to play dirty?" she hollered. "I'll show you what dirty is!" She charged up the porch stairs two at a time. "Outta my way," she panted, and rushed past me with her broom held forward like a witch about to launch herself.

"Are you okay?" I asked. "Are you hurt?"

"This time I'm gonna kill that creep," she promised with a murderous look on her face that made her words seem real to me. "I should've done it years ago and put him out of my misery."

I followed her into the house.

"I don't think you should kill him," I said, and held on to the back end of the broom. "He's just a nut."

"A dangerous pain-in-the-butt nut," she replied, and yanked the broom away. "He can't scare me, but I'm gonna make him pay for messing with you."

"Don't do it because of me," I said. "Just leave him alone and he'll go away."

"No, this time he has to pay."

"But he doesn't owe me anything," I pleaded. "Just lock the door and call the police."

What Would Joey Do?. Copyright © by Jack Gantos. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 36 )
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(24)

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(5)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 36 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 10, 2006

    it was amazing

    This was a great book because it gave me alot of laughs. This book was about joey and his parents got divorced and his parents try to get along with each other. But you will just have to read this book to find out what happens!

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted January 27, 2013

    Good book

    I love this book i think its a must read

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted February 17, 2012

    I read this in school and now i am reading it every day

    I read this book in school and now i am reading it every day

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted February 25, 2013

    Annyoumus

    Crazy joey funy book

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted January 22, 2013

    god is good

    I like someone

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted January 19, 2013

    pretty good

    Joey is weird.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted November 28, 2012

    This is kool


    This thing is kool

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted November 7, 2012

    Connor....

    Go to us res 5

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted August 21, 2012

    Hannah Colorado

    Should i read it after i read the second? Maybe i will just give it 5 stars for now.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted May 5, 2012

    Does it have love

    ?

    1 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted October 14, 2011

    Wow

    Awsome but havent read it yet????????????????????:(

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 15, 2011

    Harstan

    Harstan your spoiling it for me i havent read it STOP

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted January 10, 2008

    WWJD?

    The book What Would Joey Do? is a very interesting book. It is bout Joey, a kid who has ADHD. He I always hyper and has a lot of family problems. His grandmother is a lady who is always talking about how she is going to die and his mother and father are always getting into arguments. Not only does Joey have problems in his house but also in his school. He is home schooled at one of his mother¿s fiend¿s house. He has problems in school because he has to help out a blind girl who is very mean to him and is always trying to get him into trouble. The only friend that Joey has is his Chihuahua, but Joey has a big problem when his Chihuahua stolen. I liked this book because it shows that there is no perfect family and it also shows that children with disabilities or with violent parents have a very rough life. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes to listen to or read adventurous books. This book is full of adventures that Joey has because of his rough life. I would also recommend this book to abusive parents so that they can learn that they are really hurting their children by having so much violence around them. I would give this book three and a half stars out of five because it was fun to read but with a lot of unnecessary detail.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2007

    What Would Joey Do To Help Others?

    The book that I read was â¿¿What Would Joey Do?â¿ This book starts out with Joey Pigza telling us about his Dad riding his motorcycle around the house driving Mom mad. They do this for weeks until Dad crashes and lands in a tree with a branch in his side. Joeyâ¿¿s Dad gets away from the hospital and starts it up again. Mom hides with Booth. Joey is home schooled with Olivia Lapp. Olivia is a blind girl with a bad temper. Joey has to take care of his Grandma that just licks stamps and letters for her lung transplant. Dad steals all the dogs like Joeyâ¿¿s dog to try to get Joey to meat with him. Joey meats him and takes the dogs with him to return the dogs. On Thanksgiving Day it was fine until Dad came and Mom started throwing things at him, she even throws knives. A couple of days latter Grandma died. At the funeral his parents are fighting again so Joey leaves. He goes to Miss. Lapp if Olivia and he could go to Godspell. If you want to find out what happens you will have to read the book, â¿¿What Would Joey do?â¿ I liked this book because it has a lot of entertainment in it. This book is in a series but you can read it in any order. People that will like this book is with parents that are always fighting.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted February 23, 2005

    Joey Pigza Strikes Again

    I know many people have commented about this book and said it's great, deserving a 5 star. I give it four, since it's not the best ever. It's a great book to read but reading the back summary gives all the information and surprise.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted May 26, 2015

    LUVVED IT!

    Darn autocorrect. I meant to write IVE NEVER READ THIS BOOK AND I ALREADY KNOW ITS BAD BECAUSE IN THE FIRST ONE A GIRLS NOSE GOT CHOPPED OFF!!!! Oh well.

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

    Posted April 27, 2015

    Awesome

    One of the best books I ever read

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

    Posted January 21, 2014

    J10 is back for a period of time

    Hi guys! I still haven't found my nook, I'm on my mom's right now. But don't worry, I'll be up and writing again soon! ~J10

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

    Posted January 14, 2014

    To Jen 10

    Today is my bithday -Haidn

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

    Posted January 11, 2014

    JEN10

    SHE LOST HER NOOK!!!!!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 36 Customer Reviews

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