Shaundell's Reviews > Hole in My Life

Hole in My Life by Jack Gantos
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's review
Jul 19, 2012

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bookshelves: biography, byu-books-for-young-readers
Read in July, 2012

After reading his sister’s diary when he was in the sixth grade and knowing that he could articulate better, Jack Gantos knew that he wanted to be a writer when he grew up. With his goal and strong desire, one would think that it would be easy to achieve. Right? Wrong!

Right off the bat in chapter one, Gantos states that the prisoner in the photograph is him. He then relates the story of how he ended up in federal prison. In the early 1970s, while living in St. Croix, he was persuaded to “help” a so-called friend named Ric smuggle thousands of pounds of hash into the United States on a boat. Upon arriving in New York City, they were caught. Jack hired an attorney to plead the case before the judge; however, the ship’s log where Jack wrote the words “I’m not doing anything wrong. I’m just afraid of the punishment,” was proof enough for him to be sent to federal prison.

Deeply afraid of prison life, Jack managed to stay completely clean by reading The Brothers Karamazov by Dostoyevsky and sketching his own thoughts and feelings in between the lines of the books. In addition, he was hired to be the X-Ray technician for the prison. Jack, along with his case worker and the administrative assistant, crafted a college application to Graham Junior College in New York, where he was accepted to start in January. This quick play allowed him to be released from prison after serving about 18 months.

To be quite honest, I didn’t want to read this book at all! Knowing that he spent time in prison and then having to read about his life there, quite frankly didn’t appeal to me at all. I like the fact that he learned from his lesson and didn’t ever to choose to repeat it again. By the end of the book, I was rooting for Gantos and even found myself wanting to search out and locate the Karamazov journal in which he wrote faithfully and then had to leave behind at the prison. Even though he experienced many setbacks in life, he truly achieved his dream of wanting to be a writer! How many of us can faithfully say that we set out and accomplished our goals?

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Quotes Shaundell Liked

Jack Gantos
“Someone once said anyone can be great under rosy circumstances, but the true test of character is measured by how well a person makes decisions during difficult times.”
Jack Gantos, Hole in My Life

Jack Gantos
“Each time I read a book, I cataloged the parts that struck me dumb with envy and admiration for their beauty and power and truth.”
Jack Gantos, Hole in My Life

Jack Gantos
“Since I was trying so hard to make books lead my life, I didn’t want to read them and then just put them back on the shelf and say, “good book,” as if I was patting a good dog. I wanted books to change me, and I wanted to write books that would change others.”
Jack Gantos, Hole in My Life

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