Joey Pigza Loses Control, by Jack Gantos

Joey Pigza Loses Control

Rating: 5/5

Awards: New York Times Outstanding Book of the Year; ALA Notable Children’s Book; Newbery Honor Book

I love this book. I adore this book. I am buying the rest of the Joey Pigza books! I could ramble on and on about this story, but I’ll try to keep it short.

Joey Pigza is a little boy who suffers from a severe case of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, better known as ADHD. Thanks to his time with his special ed. teacher, his caring mother and his new and improved medication, he can now make better decisions that will not get him, or others, into trouble. Now his wish is to become a “normal” boy and to help his mom and dad get together again. When summertime comes along, his mom reluctantly lets him spend time with his estranged father, who is like him but bigger. Joey wants the summer to be perfect, but when his father decides that the perfect gift for his son is to flush his meds down the toilet, Joey fights to stay in control.

This story provides a realistic insight into the life of one little boy with ADHD who drives everyone around him crazy. He’s a good kid with a real problem that does not let him think things through, focus, or make good decisions. Think of a remote control always stuck on “next”. The mind simply is not able to focus on one channel for a long period of time. At first, Joey is on his meds and in control, like a “normal” boy. Then “normal” Joey slowly becomes “wired” Joey and out of control.

The book is written from Joey’s point of view and the reader feels an instant connection with this screwed up, loving boy. Though the story has the possibility of being too sad, the author pulls the reader away from depression with just enough humor to encourage continued reading. The reader can both laugh at, relate to, and consider Joey’s life with an estranged criminal/alcoholic father and his ADHD.

You will laugh out loud, you will be shocked, you will worry, but most of all, you will find hope between every page of this book. If there is a reluctant reader in your life, (especially a boy), this is a book that he/she cannot miss.
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