Sunday, February 1, 2009

Hole in My Life - Jack Gantos

Well, even though Jack Gantos himself spoke at great length about the usefulness and glory of reading slowly, I just finished his memoir.  I bought all 200 pages of it with my gift certificate this morning at the conference and consumed it this evening on my couch. I couldn't help myself. It was an amazing read. 

Usually when I read so maniacally fast it is because I can not sit in the anxiety of unknowingness. I need to know how it all ends. However, what is sacrificed at this pace is an attention to craft. But I'm a junky for climax and resolution. More specifically, the ability of both to demonstrate a revelation.  

Hole in My Life is a memoir. I knew where the story was going: good boy makes bad choice, becomes bad boy spending time in federal prison, becomes good boy who writes and publishes award winning fiction for middle schoolers. 

And yet, I could not wait to hear it in his words. I wanted to hear how he shaped it. I wanted to know what EXACTLY he gleaned from this story and the retelling of it. 

It is clear that I need to hear other people talk about their lives and their moments of introspection and transformation because I want a model. I read for that moment of clarity in all literature. I watch for it in real life. And I try for it for myself.

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