Monday, November 24, 2003

Barfing Chihuahuas

Or barfing chewwhooeewhooees as one of my sisters would have said when we were kids.

I am referring to Pablo, Joey Pigza's pet in Joey Pigza Loses Control by Jack Gantos. I am a huge fan of this writer, and this book reinforces my respect. The Joey Pigza books are well-known for being about a boy with ADHD. I think that's beside the point. The quality of the writing is so fantastic--the characterization of Joey, his family, even his teachers in the first book. These books should be known for that, not because they are problem books or case studies.

The reviewer I linked you to above says he/she was surprised after reading Joey Pigza Loses Control to find that it was written for 8 to 12 year olds. That's my feeling about the Joey Pigza books, too. They seem to speak to me, the grown-up. I've heard from a fourth grade teacher who says she read the first one aloud to her class and they loved it. Gantos is a writer who anyone can read.

In this one, Joey's dad appears. He's an adult with untreated ADD. My heart is breaking for both characters.

A lot of authors would have turned the Pigza books into "disability of the week" stories. Gantos does so much more than that.

Here is an interview with Jack Gantos in which he describes how he became interested in Joey Pigza.

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