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Extended Audio Sample Hole In My Life, by Jack Gantos Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (2,610 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Jack Gantos Narrator: Jack Gantos Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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In the summer of 1971, Jack Gantos was an aspiring writer desperate for adventure, college cash, 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 hashish from the Virgin Islands to New York City, where he and his partners sold the drug until federal agents finally caught up to them in a bust at the Chelsea Hotel. For his part in the conspiracy, the twenty-year-old Gantos was sentenced to serve up to six years in prison.

In Hole in My Life, this acclaimed author of more than 30 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 intense moment to the next as Gantos pieces together the story of his restless final year of high school, his short-lived career as a smuggler, and his time in prison. But running just beneath the action is the story of how Gantos—once he found himself locked up in a small, yellow-walled cell—moved from wanting to be a writer to writing, and how this newfound dedication helped him endure the worst experience of his life.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “[Gantos’s] account is remarkably free of both self-pity and self-censorship…This is a tale of courage and redemption, proving that a bad start in life does not have to lead to a bad life story.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “A memoir, by turns harrowing and hilarious, about a huge mistake.”

    Miami Herald

  • “This true tale of the worst year in the author’s life will be a big surprise for his many fans…This is a story of mistakes, dues, redemption, and finally success at what he always wanted to do: write books… Not the usual ‘How I Became a Writer’ treatise, it is an honest, utterly compelling, and life-affirming chronicle of a personal journey for older teens and adults.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • A 2003 Michael L. Printz Award Honor Book
  • A 2007 Abraham Lincoln Award Nominee
  • Winner of Printz Honors, 2003

Listener Opinions

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 by Heather | 2/20/2014

    " I get that sometimes this is the only type of book that you might think you can get a teenager to read, but, seriously, I did not find it intellectually stimulating at all. It seemed that Gantos was maybe trying to get his audience to analyze the idea of misinformed choices? (Which could be important to teenagers.) But I don't see an of them actually "getting that" from this book. As a teacher, I don't think I would recommend this book beyond a reading class where you might just be working on those basic skills. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Rhonda | 2/6/2014

    " Currently reading this book to my 5th period during reading break. More descriptive than I expected. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Anne | 1/11/2014

    " A year in a life told with complete candor and honesty. "Hole in My Life" is sometimes troubling to read, and is completely unexpected from acclaimed children's author, Jack Gantos. A cautionary tale indeed of youth gone awry, this is Gantos' story of poor choices and decisions which ultimately lead to fifteen months in jail for drug running. Fortunately, for young adult readers, redemption and self-regard win the day and the year eventually becomes a blip on the radar of Gantos' successful writing life. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Megan Horrocks | 12/29/2013

    " This book was a really interesting read for me. It was strange to see the progression in his thoughts as he committed his crimes and then got caught. Because I read the back of the book, I knew the basic storyline so it was interesting to see the experience of him in high school listening to the past criminals as he laughed at the druggy who got caught. I knew he would eventually get into drugs and get caught as well so it was strange to know that and see that experience through his still innocent eyes. It was horrifying to see his thought processes as he began buying hash and then decided to be a part of Rik's operation. It was like he knew that he wasn't thinking about things, but it didn't matter that he wasn't thinking about things. Seeing that lack of reasoning was a little frightening. His honest portrayal of his own life, his thinking, and the consequences of his actions was interesting to see. It was also terrifying to see the violence he experienced in prison. I cannot imagine going through it and was scary to see it through his somewhat innocent eyes. I didn't love this book, but I did appreciate his complete honesty. It was interesting to see life through his eyes, and although I didn't love it I didn't hate this book either. "

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