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Joey Pigza Loses Control Hardcover – September 22, 2000

4.3 out of 5 stars 153 customer reviews
Book 2 of 5 in the Joey Pigza Series

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The loveable, disaster-prone hero of Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key is back, this time in charge of his attention deficit disorder and ready to greet the world as a normal kid--with the help of his new and improved meds, of course. Now that Joey has a handle on his actions, he feels prepared to face the most mysterious member of his family--his estranged father, Carter Pigza. He convinces his skeptical mom to let him spend part of his summer vacation getting to know his dad again. The only problem is that Joey's dad is just as wired as Joey used to be: "I looked over at his mouth, which never seemed to close--not even the lips touched together--and it made me dizzy to listen to him." Carter believes that Joey can kick his ADD the way he himself kicked alcoholism--cold turkey. But when Carter flushes his meds, Joey has to decide if being friends with his dad is worth losing his hard-won self-control. "That old Joey was coming to get me and I couldn't do anything about it... I closed my eyes and told myself to sleep while I could."

Jack Gantos's second book about Joey Pigza is just as delightful and soulful as his first. Joey's attempts to keep the fragile peace in his life intact are touching, and his intense longing to just be normal will mirror the feelings of most preteens, whether they have ADD or not. Joey Pigza may sometimes lose control, but he never loses his heart. This is an exceptional sequel. (Ages 10 and older) --Jennifer Hubert

From Publishers Weekly

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. His mother has reluctantly agreed to let him spend the summer three hours from home with his father, an alcoholic who, so he claims, has taken steps to turn his life around. Readers will sight trouble ahead long before Joey's optimistic perception of his father grows blurry. Mr. Pigza is at least as "wired" as the old Joey, and when he resorts to his drinking habits and becomes belligerent, Joey (who still wants to win his father's favor) feels scared. Then Mr. Pigza, telling Joey his medicine patches are a "crutch" that Joey doesn't need, summarily flushes them down the toilet: "You are liberated... You are your own man, in control of your own life," he announces. Joey is torn between wanting to call his mom immediately and sticking with his father. "Even though I knew he was wrong," Joey says, "he was my dad, and I wanted him to be right." Like its predecessor, this high-voltage, honest novel mixes humor, pain, fear and courage with deceptive ease. Struggling to please everyone even as he sees himself hurtling toward disaster, Joey emerges as a sympathetic hero, and his heart of gold never loses its shine. Ages 10-up. (Sept.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 - 14 years
  • Grade Level: 5 - 9
  • Lexile Measure: 800L (What's this?)
  • Series: Joey Pigza (Book 2)
  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) (September 22, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0439338743
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374399894
  • ASIN: 0374399891
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 0.8 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (153 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,224,344 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Joey Pigza Swallowed a Key, and Joey Pigza Loses Control by Jack Gantos  Joey Pigza is a kind but impulsive, inattentive boy, living with his divorced mother. In the first book, Joey is diagnosed with AD/HD. The author deals humorously and sympathetically with Joey's impulsivity and how it gets him in trouble in school and at home. Eventually Joey and his mother learn how to compensate through humor, educational strategies and medication.  The second book still retains some of the humor of the first, but deals with more serious issues. Joey's estranged father arranges to have Joey stay with him for the summer. The father clearly has ADHD symptoms similar to those of his son. Further, the father struggles with alcoholism and legal problems. During the summer, he makes Joey stop he medication. In his father Joey sees what he might have become. This second story deals with the very serious issues of custody disputes, parental disagreement about medication, alcoholism and its effect on a child with AD/HD. Some parents might want to read this book with their older elementary school and middle school children to explain some of these complex issues.  Carol E, Watkins, M.D. Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist
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By A Customer on September 24, 2000
Format: Hardcover
The "good meds" that Joey Pigza takes has calmed down the youngster considerably, but he worries when his mom drives to meet his dad for the first time in several years. His mom is even more nervous because she knows that her son's dad Carter is a bigger version of Joey without the medicine. Joey also is worried because he wants his dad to like him so they can be more like a real father and son.

Over the next six weeks, Carter proves to be much more complex than Joey's wife described or the way the lad dreamed his dad would act. Carter's lessons in life reinforce his behavior leading to the tossing of Joey's medicine down the toilet while insisting real men tough out their problems without external aids. Although Joey knows what happens without the "good meds", he decides to "tough" it out even as his own behavior begins to spin out of control.

JOEY PIGZA LOSES CONTROL, the sequel to the great JOEY PIGZA SWALLOWS HIS KEY, is a tremendous dark tale aimed at middle schoolers, but should be prime reading for grown-ups. The story line cleverly plays at two levels. The interesting plot engages young readers as they cheer for Joey to survive to balance his out of control universe. The tale also targets adults to understand that we serve as role models that our children will one day emulate. Readers of all ages who wire into Jack Gantos will know they have read some of the most poignant drama available.
Harriet KlaUSNER
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Format: Paperback
I love Joey Pigza! Joey is such an erratic, yet heartwarming, character that really has you on his side for the entire book. As Joey says himself, he's always had a certain way about him that gets people on his side. As a teacher of both general education and special education students, I have at least one student with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, just like Joey, every year. Never before have I felt so in touch with those students or empathize with their symptoms than I did while reading about Joey. Joey states plainly that he doesn't have many friends because most of the kids tease him. Joey also talks about his experiences in school and how about half the class wants him to get better and behave, and the other half eggs him on, so that he'll stop the teacher's lesson. This was a revelation for me. I had never made the connection that other students would encourage disruptive behaviors in class for less than pure motives and then turn around and ridicule these behaviors outside of school for being "weird". But it certainly fits the characteristics of the typical social interactions with such students. Joey's mom is such a patient and loving mother who just can't take Joey's antics and trouble that he gets into. Being a single mom, doesn't make matters better and when Joey is going to spend the summer with his loony dad and grandmother, things just get worse. Joey's dad is a HUGE disappointment throughout the book as he is given this momentous "second chance" with the son he left behind to begin a new life. He yells at Joey while he's playing baseball, he drinks in excess, and is very irresponsible with the role of parenting Joey. He cared more about Joey brushing his teeth than other essential needs for his son.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
Joey Pigza is a pre-teenager and very active. Like his father, he suffers from ADD. He has lived with his mother for the past several years, and now is going to visit his father. His mother said his father was a bigger version of him. That's certainly true because his father is hyper too. Joey sees many new things, like his father favorite place, storybook land, and goes to buy his grandmother cigarettes, as well as seeing his father after he drinks beer in breakfast. Will Joey be able to fulfill his hopes and get his mother and father to be a family again?

Joey Pigza is a very touching book. It speaks of the everyday life of a boy my age, yet something in his life that I don't understand makes him hyper. His thoughts and beliefs are only of good cause, yet his body is crazy and does harmful things. This book touched me because I understood the feelings, but it was bad because just as much I didn't. But at some parts the book became boring and scary with nothing that spoke to me. I think this book would be good for people who like an eventful book. I would rate this book a 2 on a scale of 1-5.


** rating
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