In the summer of 1971, Jack Gantos was an aspiring author 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 with 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 a federal prison.
In Hole in My Life, this prizewinning author of over thirty books for young people confronts the period of struggle an confinement that marked the end of his own youth. On the surface, the narrative tumbles from one crazed moment to the next as Gantos pieces together the story of his restless final year of high school, his short-lived career as a criminal, and his time in prison. But running just beneath the action is the story of how Gantos once he was locked up in a small, yellow-walled cell moved from wanting to be a writer to writing, and how his newfound dedication helped him endure the worst experience of his life.
"Gantos uses the same bold honesty found in his fiction to offer a riveting autobiographical account of his teen years [when he agreed to help smuggle hashish from Florida to New York and wound up in jail]," PW said. "It will leave readers emotionally exhausted and a little wiser." Ages 12-up. (Sept.) n Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.