Joey Pigza swallowed the key ISBN: 9780440864332
Gantos, Jack
Published by Corgi Yearling, 2000
Joey is 'wired'. His gran and his dad are wired too, but underneath all the hyperactivity and behavioural problems is a sad little boy. Told by Joey himself, this long novel charts his day to day activities, his inability to concentrate or sit still, his bad choices, and how this impacts on his mum and his friends. Joey's mum left home for some time when he was small, leaving him with his gran. A mistake, this, as gran was not kind and messed him about psychologically and physically. Mum, who had left to try to sort out his dad,loves Joey very much and tries her best, as do his teachers, but his 'meds' aren't effective, and after several serious incidents, including one in which Joey hurts a classmate, he is sent to a special education centre where he can be properly assessed. One can only feel it should have happened long before. On proper medication, and with help for his behavioural problems (as well as Joey's mum's realisation that their life style doesn't help), there is hope that he will take control of his decisions. One of the strengths of the book is that one sees different points of view - his mum's, his teachers' as well as Joey's. No easy answers, but Joey is lovable and a very real little boy, and one hopes for the best. Outstanding. Set in the United States.
Age: 10+