The author of this novel is Jack Gantos. Jack Gantos is a man who does not easily give up on his goals. Throughout the whole novel, his goal of becoming a writer had never diminished. The whole novel A Hole In My Life was about his own personal life. He grew up with the talent and desire for reading and writing. Jack wanted to go to college but he didn’t have the ability to afford it, so he was persuaded into dealing drugs with his friend, which he was promised to have his share of the money they earned. Later in the book, Jack was arrested and put in jail. What probably drew him to writing about this is the idea of letting others know his mistake and not repeat it.
The most interesting chapter in this novel is Chapter 4 of Part 2. “Everybody in prison has a story about how they were caught.” (Gantos 99). That was the beginning sentence of Chapter 4 in Part 2. Right when I read that sentence, I had a feeling something was going to go terribly wrong, which was Jack getting caught. After reading the stories of how some prisoners got caught, Jack stated “This is how I got caught.” This sentence made me nervous, anxious, and excited to go on and read and see how Jack was caught. “..but I can tell you the fear of waiting to get caught was worse than getting caught.” Somehow, I could visualize all this in my mind and feel the fear that Jack is facing. Then Hamilton reassured Jack that the police can’t catch them on their own unless there is a snitch. Jack wasn’t paying attention, but I was beginning to think about it. I had questions in mind like ‘what if there is a snitch?’ and ‘what if it’s Hamilton or Rick?’. Then Hamilton was caught, and Jack luckily escaped. This chapter really captured my mind and had me thinking, visualizing, asking myself questions, and predicting of what was going to happen next.
It all started when Jack Gantos wanted to become a writer, when he didn’t even finish high school. He joins his family in St. Croix and expects to be assisting his father in the construction business. However, arriving in the weeks following the Fountain Valley incident, the only construction taking place was the building of packing crates to help out the mass moving of continentals fleeing the island with all their furnishings. When asked to smuggle drugs on a sailboat from the Virgin Islands to New York, he quickly agrees without considering the consequences. Jack was promised he would receive ten thousand dollars after the mission was over. During the days at sea, Jack described how he never had time to actually sit down and write. However, there was nothing to do at sea but sit there and wait until they reached their destination. He actually had the time to sit down and write his experience and feelings down. This demonstrates Jack’s fondness of writing. Nevertheless, Jack and his partners were caught by federal agents at the Chelsea Hotel, after being so close to finish selling the drugs. Jack and Hamilton found out that Rick was the snitch and had betrayed them. Jack Gantos was sentenced to serve six years in prison. However, things turned out to be not so bad after all. Jack continuously tried with all his effort to keep up with his writing and reading. One day, he asked Mr. Casey, his new caseworker, if he could get out of prison earlier if a college accepted him. Although Mr. Casey’s hopes for this were low, it turned out that this idea had changed Jack’s life forever. A college finally accepted him, and he got out of prison a lot earlier than six years, which was only a year and three months.
The “messege” of this novel may be to never give up and that life isn’t a toy to play with, so you have to really think about the consequences before you do something. Jack never gave up his thought of becoming a writer and going to college. Even though he has been through a lot trying to escape from federal agents, and has been through jail, he had never a day forgot about writing and going to college. Due to his determination, Jack was able to achieve his goal and got out of prison earlier than expected. When Jack was offered the chance to sail the boat to New York City, knowing there was drugs in there, he quickly agreed without hesitating for a few seconds to think about consequences. Sooner or later, Jack was punished and he had learned his lesson. Jack mainly wrote this book to inform others about his mistake, and hopefully let the readers learn that you should never give up and take life seriously.
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