Hole in My Life

Hole in My Life

by Jack Gantos
4.3 118

Paperback(Large Print)

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Hole in My Life by Jack Gantos

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780786273379
Publisher: Gale Group
Publication date: 03/14/2005
Edition description: Large Print
Pages: 267
Product dimensions: 5.52(w) x 8.48(h) x 0.63(d)
Age Range: 14 - 17 Years

About 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 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.

Table of Contents


Title Page,
1 / look straight ahead,
2 / misfit,
3 / king's court,
4 / pair of jacks,
1 / st. croix,
2 / bon voyage,
3 / ship's log,
4 / I love new york,
1 / evidence,
2 / face-to-face,
3 / a long, long day,
4 / my yellow cell,
5 / drug lust,
6 / marking time,
7 / getting out,
8 / a closed book,
By Jack Gantos,
Copyright Page,

Reading Group Guide


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.

Classroom Connections

Since reading, language arts, and English curricula often contain overlapping skills and strategies, this autobiography can be used in any setting that encourages students to read and respond to print. Hole in My Life offers teachers the chance to utilize a text that is nonfiction in genre yet employs several of the same techniques used in fiction. Many state tests rely on nonfiction selections in their reading component, so this book can help students read nonfiction effectively.

Additionally, several standards in social studies may be addressed with this book.

Language Arts /English /Reading Standards:

This guide meets the following standards from the International Reading Association (IRA)

and the National Council of Teachers of

English (NCTE):

• Students read a wide range of print and nonprint texts to build an understanding of texts, of themselves, and of the cultures of the United

States and the world; to acquire new information;

to respond to the needs and demands of society and the workplace; and for personal fulfillment.

Among these texts are fiction and nonfiction,

classic and contemporary works.

• Students apply a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret, evaluate, and appreciate texts. They draw on their prior experience, their interactions with other readers and writers, their knowledge of word meaning and of other texts,

their word identification strategies, and their understanding of textual features (e.g., soundletter correspondence, sentence structure,

context, graphics).

• Students apply knowledge of language structure,

language conventions (e.g., spelling and punctuation), media techniques, figurative language, and genre to create, critique, and discuss print and nonprint texts.

Students participate as knowledgeable, reflective,

creative, and critical members of a variety of literacy communities.

• Students use spoken, written, and visual language to accomplish their own purposes (e.g., for learning, enjoyment, persuasion, and the exchange of information).

Social Studies Standards:

This guide meets the standards of the National

Council for the Social Studies.

• Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of the ideals, principles, and practices of citizenship in a democratic republic.

• Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of individual development and identity. Personal identity is shaped by one's culture, by groups,

and by institutional influences. How do people learn? Why do people behave as they do? What influences how people learn, perceive, and grow? How do people meet their basic needs in a variety of contexts? Questions such as these are central to the study of how individuals develop from youth to adulthood. Examination of various forms of human behavior enhances understanding of the relationships among social norms and emerging personal identities,

the social processes that influence identity formation, and the ethical principles underlying individual action.

Pre-Reading Activity

What is the significance of the title? What could cause a "hole" in someone's life? What do students think the story will be about?

Does the photo of Gantos facing the title page give any clue as to his identity? What conclusions about this person could a reader draw from the photograph alone?

Would the conclusions differ when paired with the title?

Discussion n Much of the story is told in flashback. The opening chapter refers to Gantos's prison photo and the food in the prison. Then Gantos reflects on something from his childhood.

This collapsing of settings/time frames could be confusing without the use of literary techniques. How does the author signal whether he is talking about something in the distant past versus the setting/time frame of the story?

n Go through the book and make a list of the titles of each chapter. How does Gantos signal the reader ahead of time about what will occur in the chapter? What kinds of clues do the chapter titles provide?

n As you read through the chapters, keep a chart of the decisions Gantos made that culminated in his trip to smuggle drugs. For instance, in chapter 2, he talks about living on his own as a teen and wandering through casinos and drinking. How did these early actions lead up to the one that changed the course of his life?

n The story is divided into three sections.

Why do you think the author decided to separate parts of the story? What important event occurs in each part?

n In part 1, chapter 4, Gantos refers to On the Road by Jack Kerouac. Look up a synopsis of this book, or read an excerpt from its early chapters. Why do you think Gantos was enamored of the life described by Kerouac?

What connections do you see between Gantos and Kerouac?

n "I have learned this: it is not what one does that is wrong, but what one becomes as a consequence of it." How does this quote from Oscar Wilde (found on the epigraph page) reflect the major theme of this book?

How does Gantos change as a result of what he has done wrong? What does he "become"

that might not have happened without his experiences in prison?

Reaching across the


Social Studies

This story could be used to focus on current events as they relate to topics such as prisons,

prison life, drugs, drug abuse, drug smuggling.

Students could be placed in groups and given some choices about possible topics to explore. After students have had the chance to complete their research using print and nonprint materials, their information could be presented in the form of a traditional report,

a Power Point presentation, or a Web site designed to provide readers with links to sites related to the individual topics. Alternatively,

students could research similar topics as they relate to other countries. What is the prison system like in Britain or Russia? How does the criminal justice system in the United

States differ from that of Australia or Japan?

Teachers can tailor these comparisons to curricular demands.

Additionally, map skills could be a topic chosen by the students, as they trace the route sailed by Gantos from the Virgin Islands to

New York.

Reading / Language Arts

Throughout the book, Gantos refers to the saving power of books and reading. In the list at right, he identifies books that were important to him as he worked through his time in prison. However, he also refers to reading as something like a drug. Gantos used books to comfort himself in times of trouble,

to distract him from his problems. How can reading be both beneficial and detrimental?

Ask students to write in their journals about this almost schizophrenic approach to books and reading. Ask them to provide examples from their own lives that mirror this conflicted view. Are there other elements in their lives that are similar? For instance, what about the positive and negative effects of Internet surfing? Of music? Of television? Etc.

Alternatively, students could be asked to select one of the books from the list below, read it,

and write about why they think this particular book was important in Gantos's life.

Customer Reviews

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Hole in My Life 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 118 reviews.
Timi8 More than 1 year ago
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.
cburn12 More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Is this a kids book or not?
qmQM More than 1 year ago
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.
walt_johnston More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
ROSEBUDD More than 1 year ago
my gradson had to read it for summer ready for school. he liked it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
      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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Is this book appropriate for a 12 year old?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read "dead end in norvelt" for a book report and ibam eager to read MORE books by Jack Gantos.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
plumpkindeep More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
mohmohmoh More than 1 year ago
"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
JOHN14 More than 1 year ago
"Hole in my life" By: Jack Gantos Are you looking for a book that has heart, or maybe one that has intensity, or one that has hysterical laughs and epic heartbreaks? One that you will not want to put down; well listen up. The story "Hole in my life" by Jack Gantos is an amazing book for anyone whether you're12 or 120 this book will steal your soul with awesomeness. The idea of a good kid that gets involved in bad things is something we can all relate to. Jacks predicament only adds to the feeling when he is caught between a rock and a hard place. He decides to hop on a ship carrying 2,000lbs of hash from St. Croix to New York, but the unthinkable happens. Jack is now faced with a problem of a lifetime. A problem we can all learn from. Some things I learned from this book are, redemption is possible, shame hurts but is healed, please don't smoke pot, and the last most important lesson you can get from this is to learn from your mistakes. As this is a life lesson that we should all take away from this book. I don't care who you are, because you could be Hitler or Napoleon and still love this book. The way he throws his whole existence in to the book captivates the mind and holds on relentlessly. Trust me; you will not want to put it down. Once you've finished the book you will have two feelings, either holy crap I want to read it again, or holy crap, this was as rad as a movie starring John Travolta in his dramatic role as Jack. But maybe you don't like John Travolta, but you get my point. As I read this I thought wow! This happened to an actual teenager just like me, and this could've happened to anyone. It could've happened to you, and that's what makes this book unique and incredible
TibbLe14 More than 1 year ago
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
Jones__Candler More than 1 year ago
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
mccallieswim More than 1 year ago
The book "Hole in My Life" is about a young adult (Jack Gantos) traveling through the emotional hardships of life as a teenager and becoming a writer. It starts out as he is in school and he gets drunk at the bar and smokes his brains out. Then his family is moving. But he needs to finish up school so he moves in with another family in Florida. He is eventually kicked out of the house for vomiting all over the living room after another night of partying and drinking and has to support himself while living in a Davy Crockett apartment/motel. After living in the apartment for a while he moves back to his family in St. Croix where a black revolution is going on. When he is offered (what seems like) the opportunity of a lifetime he tells his dad he is going to sail a boat carting 2,000lbs of hash. Jack navigates the boat all the way to New York mildly unscathed. Where he and the two people that hired him begin dealing the hash they had smuggled. After he gets paid he is basically "just chillin'" until the cops bust his partners and the punks snitch on him. Then he is wanted by the FBI and agrees to turn himself in. He gets out of the clank after serving only 15 months of prison time, when they let him on parole to complete college. I am not a big reader or anything but this book really grabbed my attention from the moment I read the first word. It wasn't the normal book where I dreaded reading it, I actually wanted to read it. Jack's creative and descriptive writing style makes it seem as though you are right there with him as he navigates the boat or is in prison. It never leaves you asking where or why, because you can see the walls of his cell or the boat as it hits shore multiple times. This is a great book for teenagers and young adults as it shows you how one choice can change your life. It is a great story about how he went from making mistakes to being the sophisticated writer that he is now.
R0B3RT More than 1 year ago
"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.
Austin97 More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
From living in an apartment alone his senior year of high-school, to making his way out of federal prison, Gantos gives an account of his life that is both easy and fun to read. He does an exceptional job of incorporating the actual events with his thoughts and feelings. Through this, the reader receives a deeper understanding of the actions that are actually taking place. His humor, wit, and overall self-expressive writing creates a book with hardly a dull moment. Many wrong decisions formed the situation that Gantos eventually found himself in. At the time he was presented the opportunity to sail 2,000 pounds of hash to N.Y for $10,000, he was overwhelmingly unhappy with his situation in St. Croix. This unhappiness caused him to take the chance that was in front of him. By taking this opportunity, only to create a future for himself, Gantos instead found himself prolonging his college opportunity serving time in jail. "Hole in My Life" is an amazingly well written book about a man stuck in the darkness of his mistakes, turning his life around and coming into the light of what he always wanted to be, a writer. After meeting with Gantos at my school I realized the writer he became is one who never lets any thoughts escape his head. He never leaves you wondering why he did what he did in the book, and at the same time gives an astonishingly descriptive narration of the events that took place. I would recommend this book for anyone looking to hear Gantos' story of his miraculous turn around in a way that is both thoughtful and excitingly written.