Excerpt from Joey Pigza Loses Control by Jack Gantos, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Joey Pigza Loses Control

by Jack Gantos

Joey Pigza Loses Control
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Sep 2000, 208 pages
    Paperback:
    Mar 2002, 208 pages

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

Chapter 1
Potholes

We were on our way to Dad's house and Mom was driving with both hands clamped tightly around the wheel as if she had me by the neck. I had been snapping my seat belt on and off and driving her nuts by asking a hundred what if's about Dad. She'd been hearing them for two weeks already and wasn't answering. But that didn't stop me. What if he's not nice? What if he hates me? What if he's as crazy as you always said he was? What if he drinks and gets nasty? What if I don't like him? What if Grandma tries to put me in the refrigerator again? What if they make Pablo sleep outside? What if they don't eat pizza? What if I want to come home quick, can I hire a helicopter?

"Yes," she said to my last question, not really listening. She was taking the long roller-coaster way to Pittsburgh, which was up and down about a million mountain backroads, because she was afraid of driving too fast on the turnpike. As she said before we loaded up the borrowed car, "My license is slightly expired and I don't have insurance, so just bear with me."

"How can something be slightly expired?" I asked. "Is that the same as day-old bread? What if we get stopped by the police? What if we are arrested? What if the jails for boys and dogs look like giant birdcages?" She didn't answer me then, and she wasn't answering my questions now, even though I kept asking. All she did was tighten her grip and lean forward so much her chin was touching the top of the steering wheel. After a while her silence beat my talking like paper covers rock, so I kept my mouth shut even though the list of questions kept sprouting in my brain.

But then Pablo, my Chihuahua, started yapping nonstop. Maybe it was his neck she was thinking of squeezing because he was driving her nuts too. The roads were beat up and I asked her not to hit the holes because Pablo has a weak stomach and gets carsick easily, but she didn't even try to steer around the bumps and holes. Her elbows were shaking and her jaw was so tight her front teeth were denting her lower lip. I knew she was stressed-out with the thought of seeing Dad, but right now I was more concerned about Pablo.

"Go around the holes!" I kept shouting as I rubbed Pablo's swollen belly with the very tippity tips of my fingertips. He was lying on his back with his four feet up in the air like he was already dead, except his eyes were twitching.

"When you're driving you can't exactly zigzag down the road!" she hollered back. "We could lose control and flip over."

"Well, Pablo's stomach is about to flip," I said, warning her.

"Then hold your hand over his snout,"' she suggested, and squeezed the steering wheel a little tighter as the car stumbled along.

"Then he'll get carsick through his ears," I replied. "Or worse, it will back up and shoot out his you-know-where."

She glanced over at me and glared. "You better keep his you-know-where aimed out the window," she ordered. "I don't want any nasty accidents."

Just then we hit a deep hole and I lifted up off my seat. I saw another one coming and I took my hand from Pablo's fizzing snout and reached for the steering wheel and Mom slapped my hand away just as the tire hit the hole hard and I bounced sideways and cracked my head on the half-open window and Pablo flipped over onto his hind legs like he was doing a wheelie then opened his mouth and did what I said he'd do all over the front of the radio.

"Oh, sugar!" Mom spit out. "Sugar, sugar, sugar!"

I knew that word meant trouble. The last time she said "sugar" like that was when she got the letter from Dad's lawyer in the mail and I knew it wasn't because she had something sweet in her mouth.

"Open the glove box," Mom said. "There might be some napkins in there."

  • 1
  • 2

Copyright © 2000 Jack Gantos

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    The Marriage of Opposites
    by Alice Hoffman
    Alice Hoffman's latest work, The Marriage of Opposites, is a historical fiction novel focusing on ...
  • Book Jacket: Miss Jane
    Miss Jane
    by Brad Watson
    National Book Award Finalist Brad Watson returns with an intimate novel about one woman's journey to...
  • Book Jacket: Dinner with Edward
    Dinner with Edward
    by Isabel Vincent
    In late 2009 Isabel Vincent and her family were still newcomers to New York City. She and her ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Secret Language of Stones
    by M. J. Rose

    "A fantastic historical tale of war, love, loss and intrigue."
    – Melanie Benjamin

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    All Is Not Forgotten
    by Wendy Walker

    This is fast-paced psychological suspense/thriller at it's very best.

    Read Member Reviews

Members review books pre-publication. Read their opinions in First Impressions

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
Girl Waits with Gun
by Amy Stewart

An enthralling novel based on the forgotten true adventures of one of the nation's first female deputy sheriffs.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Summer Stunner
Summer Giveaway

Win 5 books, each week in July!

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

W M T N, W C F All

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
X

BookBrowse Summer Giveaway

We're giving away
5 books every
week in July!