Sarah's Reviews > Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key

Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key by Jack Gantos
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's review
Apr 20, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: middle-grade, novel
Read in March, 2007

Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key is the first in a series by Jack Gantos, telling the story of Joey Pigza a boy with ADHD who was initially raised by his grandmother (who also appears to have ADHD) until his mother returns and Joey begins to get the help he needs. With ADHD getting a lot of attention around the time this book was written in 1998, I think it's a very timely tale told from the perspective of Joey, giving us an insider's look at what ADHD feels like. Joey is ultimately a good kid at heart who tries to not to upset the people around him, but most of the time he's moving so quickly he can't think straight.

I think this is a good book for kids, but maybe an even better book for parents and those working with kids with ADHD to better understand the challenges associated with this disorder. Joey's mother tries to help him, but when he won't stop bouncing around the house, you can see why she drinks so much. Mrs. Mazy, his teacher tries to trust Joey, but when his meds seem to wear off every time she turns her back, causing some terrible accident, you understand why Joey spends so much time in trouble and eventually in special ed.

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