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Joey Pigza Loses Control


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First introduced in Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key, Gantos's hyperactive hero Joey Pigza has not lost any of his liveliness, but after undergoing therapy and a stint in special ed., he now can exercise a reasonable amount of self-controlDprovided he takes his meds. His mother has reluctantly agreed to let him spend the summer three hours from home with his father, an alcoholic who, so he claims, has taken steps to turn his life around. Readers will sight trouble ahead long before Joey's optimistic perception of his father grows blurry. Mr. Pigza is at least as "wired" as the old Joey, and when he resorts to his drinking habits and becomes belligerent, Joey (who still wants to win his father's favor) feels scared. Then Mr. Pigza, telling Joey his medicine patches are a "crutch" that Joey doesn't need, summarily flushes them down the toilet: "You are liberated... You are your own man, in control of your own life," he announces. Joey is torn between wanting to call his mom immediately and sticking with his father. "Even though I knew he was wrong," Joey says, "he was my dad, and I wanted him to be right." Like its predecessor, this high-voltage, honest novel mixes humor, pain, fear and courage with deceptive ease. Struggling to please everyone even as he sees himself hurtling toward disaster, Joey emerges as a sympathetic hero, and his heart of gold never loses its shine. Ages 10-up. (Sept.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

Gr 4-8-In this sequel to Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key (Farrar, 1998), Joey is full of questions as his mother drives him to spend the summer with his long-estranged father. Both Joey and his dad have problems with self-control, but Joey is on medication for ADHD and dad says he's given up drinking. Author/narrator Jack Gantos (Farrar, 2000) pairs humor with insight as Joey tells about his need to stay in touch with his mother and his desire to connect with his father. There also is a crusty, but loving grandmother, his father's helpful girlfriend, and a tiny dog named Pablo who are all there to help when Joey's father starts drinking again and decides to stop the boy's medicine. Baseball is central to the father-son relationship, and all their problems come to a head during a championship game. This is a humorous story about very serious subjects. The inner conflicts and secret wishes that often affect children of divorce are well expressed. Gantos, at his best with real kidspeak dialogue, conveys the nervous tension that plagues both the young and old Pigzas. With its cast of less-than-perfect characters, this recording is a good choice for libraries looking for material to help kids deal with real world concerns.-Barbara Wysocki, Cora J. Belden Library, Rocky Hill, CT Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

?Sad, scary, blackly funny.?Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"Sad, scary, blackly funny." -- Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Sad, scary, blackly funny. --Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"Sad, scary, blackly funny."--Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

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