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14 January 2008 @ 11:06 am
JOEY PIGZA SWALLOWED THE KEY by Jack Gantos (5 stars)  
For the first time in my life, I legitimately felt ADHD. Jack Gantos does a fabulous job delving into the mind, heart, and life of a boy with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and readers will undoubtedly emerge from the story with a greater empathy for children like Joey.

"At school they say I'm wired bad, or wired mad, or wired sad, or wired glad, depending on my mood and what teacher has ended up with me. But there is not doubt about it. I'm wired."

Joey Pigza can't control himself. Whether in class during math drills or at home trying to take a bath or at the doctor's office with the stethoscopes and Band-aids, it doesn't matter because Joey is hyper, wired so bad that he can't sit still long enough to get any work done or keep himself out of trouble. Joey doesn't like to think about "Why" and if you ask him he'll just respond with "Can I get back to you on that?" His teachers can't handle his classroom antics and sometimes even worry about the safety of the other children.

It's not all Joey's fault, though. Sure, he should learn to make good decisions, but if his pills didn't always end up being duds, things sure would be easier. His family life isn't the greatest either since he lives with his grandma because his dad is an alcoholic and bounced off to Pittsburgh or somewhere and his mom let him at grandma's to be taken care of, so you'd think when mom returns home and takes Joey off of grandma's hands, that life would get better, and it does, though just like in life things often have to get worse, even much much much worse, before they get better.

Joey's is a hopeful story. With so many kids in Special Ed, from those severely handicapped to those with mild dyslexia, stories like Joey's bring hope that those kids who don't see themselves as normal, who aren't seen as normal by friends and enemies, and who certainly don't feel normal, might one day BE normal again. A National Book Award Finalist and ALA Notable Children's Book, JOEY PIGZA SWALLOWED THE KEY is a hilarious story written in an ingeniously attention-deficit style that will knock your retainer out with laughter, all the while touching your heart and stirring your soul.

If this book review was helpful, please vote for it at Amazon
ryan_fieldryan_field on January 16th, 2008 12:45 am (UTC)
Another great review. I was with a friend of mine this weekend who is a school teacher in Brooklyn, and she was talking about something just like this.I voted, too, and I tried to leave a comment. But I'm not sure it took because I always forget my amazon password.
The Blog of Author Jonathan Stephensjonstephens on January 18th, 2008 10:21 pm (UTC)
Hey thanks. And for the vote and the attempted comment. Though I think you're right, the comment didn't survive.