What Would Joey Do?

by Jack Gantos Book 3 of the Joey Pigza Series

In Jack Gantos’s third novel about Joey Pigza, the ten-year-old’s life... read more

In Jack Gantos’s third novel about Joey Pigza, the ten-year-old’s life is as chaotic as ever. But it’s not Joey’s ADHD that’s the problem this time. It’s his parents. Joey’s taking his medication and his behavior is on an even keel, but his mom and dad are tangling again and again. His mom has a new boyfriend, and his dad’s back in town trying, it seems, to make her regret ever leaving him. Instead, his childish behavior brings out the worst in Joey’s mom. Joey’s brash and ailing grandmother knows no good can come from any of it. She wants Joey to have a different outlook on life than his family alone can provide and encourages him to make a friend. It seems an unlikely prospect. The only kid Joey has contact with since his Mom decided he should be homeschooled is Olivia Lapp. Olivia’s mom teaches both Joey and Olivia, who is blind. Each day, Mrs. Lapp greets Joey at the door by asking him “What would Jesus do?” And each day Joey provides an unexpected yet thoughtful response. Joey can’t imagine making friends with Olivia, who is mean-spirited and selfish. But there is more to Olivia, to her mother, and, as always, to Joey himself than meets the eye in this funny, sensitive, provocative story that includes an extraordinary scene when Joey wakes one morning to find his grandmother has died in her bed. It is one of many quiet, touching moments in the midst of the turmoil that so often surrounds Joey, and in it, as always, his goodness shines. (Ages 10-14)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2003

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