Summary and book reviews of Joey Pigza Loses Control by Jack Gantos

Joey Pigza Loses Control

by Jack Gantos

Joey Pigza Loses Control
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  • First Published:
    Sep 2000, 208 pages
    Paperback:
    Mar 2002, 208 pages

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Book Summary

As if Joey didn't get into enough trouble in his unforgettable debut, Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key(1998), Gantos has him wig out again in this sad, scary, blackly funny sequel....   A tragic tale in many ways, but a triumph too. (Ages 11 and up)

When Joey Pigza meets his dad, Carter, for the first time in years, he meets a grownup version of his old hyperactive self -- the way he was before his stint in special ed, the way he was before he got his new meds.

"He was wired, No doubt about it . . . , Now I knew what Mom meant when she said he was like me, only bigger."

During their summer visit together, Carter is eager to make up to his son for past wrongs. He wants to teach Joey how to be a winner. He wants to show Joey how to take control of his own life. And Joey is willing to do whatever his dad says, even though -- in this high-energy sequel to the acclaimed Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key -- he fears it will do him more harm than good.

"All I could imagine was the worst part of me getting or a train a long ways off.  That old Joey was coming to get me and I couldn't do anything about it . . . There was nothing to do but wait, and worry."

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...

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Reviews

Media Reviews

Kirkus

As if Joey didn't get into enough trouble in his unforgettable debut, Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key (1998), Gantos has him wig out again in this sad, scary, blackly funny sequel.... A tragic tale in many ways, but a triumph too. (Ages 11-13)

School Library Journal

Readers will be drawn in immediately to the boy's gripping first-person narrative and be pulled pell-mell through episodes that are at once hilarious, harrowing, and ultimately heartening as Joey grows to understand himself and the people around him. The ride home isn't smooth, but it is hopeful and loving. Does this mean that he is on the way to a happy, "normal" life? Grades 4-8.

Publishers Weekly

Like its predecessor (Joey Pigza Swallowed The Key), 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

Reader Reviews

Phillip

Joey pigza book #3
This book was fantastic, it had a lot of emotion and it described all of Joey's feelings. Joey went from his old wired self to a normal boy. Joey's grandmother died at the end of the book and Joey did everything correctly. I totally understand the ...   Read More

KIKI

joey pigza loses control
This is really, really great!

Louis B

Joey Pigza review
Uh I thought this book was great, it tied in well with the first Joey Pigza, I recommend this book for any one that has a "free book project" or if they want to relax, or just get some laughs. Its a great " pick up and go book"

Joe G.

Confusing book
This book is probably the best I've ever read. It was quite confusing, but I enjoyed it!

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