I Am Not Joey Pigza by Jack Gantos

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Synopsis

Just when Joey Pigza's wired world finally seems to be under control, his good-for-nothing dad pops back into his life. This time, though, Carter Pigza is a new man - literally. After a lucky lotto win, Carter Pigza has a crazy new outlook on life, and he's even changed his name to Charles Heinz. He thinks Joey and his mom should become new people, too. Soon Joey finds himself bombarded with changes: a new name, a new home, and a new family business - running the beat-up Beehive Diner. He knows he should forgive his dad as his mom wants him to, and get with the new family program. But Joey is afraid that in changing names and going with the flow he will lose sight of who he really is.
 
In this rocket-paced new chapter in Joey Pigza's life, a favorite hero discovers what identity and forgiveness really mean, and how to cook a delicious turkey burger.
 

About Jack Gantos

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Jack Gantos has written books for people of all ages, from picture books and middle-grade fiction to novels for young adults and adults. His works include Hole in My Life, a memoir that won the Michael L. Printz and Robert F. Sibert Honors, Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key, a National Book Award Finalist, Joey Pigza Loses Control, a Newbery Honor book, and Dead End in Norvelt, winner of the Newbery Medal and the Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction. Jack was raised in Norvelt, Pennsylvania, and when he was seven, his family moved to Barbados. He attended British schools, where there was much emphasis on reading and writing, and teachers made learning a lot of fun. When the family moved to south Florida, he found his new classmates uninterested in their studies, and his teachers spent most of their time disciplining students. Jack retreated to an abandoned bookmobile (three flat tires and empty of books) parked out behind the sandy ball field, and read for most of the day. The seeds for Jack's writing career were planted in sixth grade, when he read his sister's diary and decided he could write better than she could. He begged his mother for a diary and began to collect anecdotes he overheard at school, mostly from standing outside the teachers' lounge and listening to their lunchtime conversations. Later, he incorporated many of these anecdotes into stories. While in college, he and an illustrator friend, Nicole Rubel, began working on picture books. After a series of well-deserved rejections, they published their first book, Rotten Ralph, in 1976. It was a success and the beginning of Jack's career as a professional writer. Jack continued to write children's books and began to teach courses in children's book writing and children's literature. He developed the master's degree program in children's book writing at Emerson College and the Vermont College M.F.A. program for children's book writers. He now devotes his time to writing books and educational speaking. He lives with his family in Boston, Massachusetts.
 
Published July 24, 2007 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR). 274 pages
Genres: Humor & Entertainment, Children's Books, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for I Am Not Joey Pigza

Kirkus Reviews

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If Rotten Ralph were a boy instead of a cat, he might be Joey, the hyperactive hero of Gantos's new book, except that Joey is never bad on purpose.

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Kirkus Reviews

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He’s a new man with a new plan, even a new name: Charles Heinz, lottery winner and entrepreneur.

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Publishers Weekly

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Desire Lines) humanely examines nature (both Joey's father and grandmother are as ""wired up"" as he) versus nurture (abandonment by Joey's parents, abuse by his grandmother, children's taunts) as factors in Joey's problems.

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Publishers Weekly

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First introduced in Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key, Gantos's hyperactive hero Joey Pigza has not lost any of his liveliness, but after undergoing therapy and a stint in special ed., he now can exercise a reasonable amount of self-controlDprovided he takes his meds.

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Publishers Weekly

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The hilarious “rewedding” vows—his “I forgive you for all the times you called me a lifelong loser” begets wife Fran’s “I forgive you for trying to run me over with your motorcycle”—establish the theme for this episode in Joey’s chaotic childhood: How do you forgive people for being who they are?

Jul 23 2007 | Read Full Review of I Am Not Joey Pigza

Reader Rating for I Am Not Joey Pigza
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