What is Hole in My Life about?  

Jack Gantos's Hole in My Life is a memoir that details his life in the early 1970s when, with a desire to earn money for college, Gantos ended up in a drug-smuggling venture and finally in prison. During his time behind bars, Gantos dedicated himself to his writing and discovered what he really wanted out of life.

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Hole in My Life by Jack Gantos is a memoir that focuses on a difficult period in Gantos's life. In the early 1970s, Gantos was stuck in a dead-end job, trying to earn money to go to college and become a writer. He made a very wrong choice in his money-earning methods, however, when he agreed to take a sail on a yacht, a yacht carrying about a ton of drugs that he and his partners proceeded to sell in New York City.

When one of the members of the group snitched, Gantos was arrested by federal agents and sentenced to five years in prison. During those years, though, he realized that he had never really dedicated himself to being a writer, and now that he had plenty of time on his hands, he did exactly that. He read; he wrote; he studied; and he worked. Indeed, his activities helped him grow as a person, cope with his time behind bars, and figure out what was really important in his life.

The book provides an exciting account of Gantos's life, and it shows how far he has come as a human being and a writer. His creative and interesting style is vividly descriptive. His fellow prisoners, for instance, strut “like a bowlegged bulldog” or are as “nervous as a dragonfly.” One even has “wrinkled skin like a well-used pirate map.”

The book is designed to inspire reflection and conversation about Gantos's experiences as readers analyze his choices, relate to his feelings, and learn from his mistakes.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on
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