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Joey Pigza Loses Control (2000)

por Jack Gantos

Séries: Joey Pigza (book 2)

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1,6593710,681 (3.78)17
Joey, who is still taking medication to keep him from getting too wired, goes to spend the summer with the hard-drinking father he has never known and tries to help the baseball team he coaches win the championship.
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As if Joey didn’t get into enough trouble in his unforgettable debut, Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key (1998), Gantos has him wig out again in this sad, scary, blackly funny sequel. His hyperactivity under control thanks to new meds, Joey is looking forward to a six-week stay with his father Carter, hoping for some bonding. Unfortunately, his mother’s warning: “. . . he can be, you know, wired like you, only he’s bigger.” understates the case. As a father, not to say a human being, Carter turns out to be appallingly dysfunctional: irresponsible, utterly self-centered, domineering, callous, and ominously short-fused. Smart enough to see through his father’s loud assertions that he’s turned over a new leaf, Joey nonetheless struggles to please, even when Carter flushes Joey’s medication down the toilet, insisting that real men only need willpower to solve their personal problems. Joey tries to tough it out, hoping (despite bitter experience) that this time he won’t go spinning off. Swept along by Joey’s breathless narrative, readers will share his horrified fascination as, bit by bit, he watches the bad old habits and behavior come back. Joey’s emphysemic Grandma, alternating drags on a cigarette with whiffs of oxygen as she trundles about the neighborhood in a shopping cart, and his Chihuahua Pablo, who survives both being locked in a glove compartment and having his ear pierced by a dart, provide the closest thing to comic relief here. The situation takes a dangerous turn when Joey eggs Carter into a wild rage; fortunately, his mother is just a phone call away, waiting in the wings to bail him out. Carter is truly frightening, a vision of what Joey could grow up to be, did he not possess the inner honesty to acknowledge his limitations (eventually), and caring adults to help him. A tragic tale in many ways, but a triumph too. (Fiction. 11-13)

-Kirkus Review
  CDJLibrary | Jul 27, 2022 |
  lcslibrarian | Aug 13, 2020 |
Joey goes to stay with his estranged dad for the summer, hoping to form a relationship with him, but his mother's warnings about how wired and weird his dad can be may prove too true, and Joey is also still learning a new balance of meds to help with his own excess of wired energy.

This is a Newbery Honor Book and has one other acclaims, but I can't seem to figure out how to appreciate Gantos' stories. I've tried other of his books, and for some reason he's just not my cuppa. I'm happy that others appreciate his work, though. ( )
  electrascaife | Jun 27, 2018 |
A really cute story. Joey Pigza really wants his six-week visit with his dad to count, to show him he's not as wired as he used to be, to show his dad how much he loves him. But Carter Pigza's not an easy guy to love. He's eager to make it up to Joey for past wrongs and to show him how to be a winner, to take control of his life. With his coaching, Joey's even learned how to pitch a baseball, and he's good at it. The trouble is, Joey's dad thinks taking control means giving up the things that "keep Joey safe. And if he wants to please his dad, he's going to have to play by his rules, even when the rules don't make sense. ( )
  LynneQuan | Jan 30, 2018 |
Joey Pigza's family are all people with problems who don't have it all together. He has to come to terms with his Dad and Grandma being selfish, greedy and sometimes abusive. Most kids have to realize at some point that their parents aren't always right or good, and decide how they're going to deal with the realization. Joey is saddened by his Grandma's declining health and wants her to be happy, even though she seems to have little empathy for him and plays some pretty mean tricks on him. He also wants to connect with his Dad and be a good son, even as we see that his Dad is reckless, irresponsible and self-absorbed. Despite the dysfunction of Joey Pigza's family, Gantos creates a some terrific humor. The book opens with Pigza's broke and stressed mom telling him that they must drive carefully, because "My license is slightly expired and I don't have insurance, so just bear with me." I'm sure plenty of kids can relate to having parents who are at the end of their rope and barely holding it all together.

I enjoy Gantos' descriptive language and humor. He describes someone's smile as looking like a "cracked bar of soap in a gas station bathroom;" his grandma reaching out her hand for money "like a music-box monkey;" she also "ripped a pack (of cigarettes) open like they were the only medicine in the world to save her from a rattlesnake bite." ( )
  motorbuffalo | Mar 4, 2017 |
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Joey, who is still taking medication to keep him from getting too wired, goes to spend the summer with the hard-drinking father he has never known and tries to help the baseball team he coaches win the championship.

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