Things that we hear pass quicker from our minds
than what we read.
--Ausonius

Elementary readersUpper elementary readersMiddle school readers
9 stars

Joey Pigza Loses Control

AR: 4.9
Lexile: 800
RC: 5.2
by Jack Gantos
Short Novel
Genre: Realistic Funny Fiction

Original post — Friday, April 11, 2008
ALA Notable Book
Newberry Honor Award

Young Joey Pigza, former out-of-control ADHD kid, goes to visit his dad for the summer. He has never met dad before, having been raised by his grandmother. Joey is a little scared about meeting Dad because Dad is "wired" just like Joey except that Dad is not on meds and drinks a little too much sometimes. Okay, more than sometimes. Anyway, Dad has some pretty strong ideas about how Joey should be raised, meaning he thinks Joey needs to be a little more "manly". So Dad helps Joey "man up" by taking his ADHD meds and flushing them down the toilet. Even though Joey remembers what it felt like to be out of control before he got his meds, he wants Dad to like him and be proud of him so he goes along with the plan (as if he had a choice; Dad's a big scary ADHD man). After a few days, the meds wear off and Joey is back to old Joey, which is not a good thing.

In this sequel to Joey Pigza Swallows the Key, Joey is once again a very real, very funny protagonist. I really enjoyed reading more about him, though I have to admit that this was a much darker story than the first. There were parts where I really worried for his well-being. I really like Joey; his dad....mmmm, not so much. If you are okay with having a little darkness with your funny, then you will enjoy this book.

For a longer synopsis, read my "What I'm Reading Now" article.

(Last modified:04/11/2008)

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