The Story of Gantos Growing Up in the Book, Hole in My Life by Jack Gantos

Categories: Hole in My Life

The book, Hole in My Life tells the story of a young man’s growing up. The author, Jack Gantos, always wanted to be a writer and this book gives us a chance to follow him as he took a long way around to get to his goal. When he was a young boy his father always tried to show him who was a criminal and characteristics they had. Even though his dad tried to educate him a little it looks like his mother was not present in his life and that led to his making mistakes.

The memoir tells of a hole in this young man’s life; a whole that got him in a lot of trouble. Gantos made the mistake of selling drugs; he sold it to get an education. Two of the factors that led to Gantos’ poor decision making are his independence and his lack of parental authority.

While growing up, Gantos did not have a lot of parental support.

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The little support Gantos received came from his father. When Gantos was a young boy his dad always tried to educate him. Gantos’ dad always showed Gantos the characteristics of a criminal: “…. He tried to warm me about going their direction,” (Gantos 5). However, he never notice that his son was going to become a criminal. The criminal was always in front of his eyes, but he never perceived it. His dad always tried to protect him from becoming a criminal, and once Gantos ended in jail he felt like he failed to his son: “I blame myself….

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, he mentioned,” (Gantos 149). Gantos’ dad was important in Gantos’ life; he always supported Gantos. Although Gantos’ father was important for him, it looks like his mother was not because he barely talks about her in two occasions.

Gantos’ dad tried to be there in his son’s life, but the mother was the missing key in Gantos’ life. Gantos says very little about his mother, and every time someone said something about her he changed the subject. When Gantos was in the court and his dad was talking to him about how worried his mother was, Gantos switched topic and started talking about something else instead. Also, while he was in jail, The Federal Correctional Institution, he tried to talk to his psychologist, Mr. Akers, because his reports were not very helpful. Mr. Akers asked about his mother and he said, “she’s is totally supportive, she’s wonderful.” (Gantos 182), but Mr. Akers did not believe him and he saw that Gantos was not telling the truth. Gantos also knew he was not being honest and he noticed when Mr. Akers was not happy about it: “he had seen right through me,” (Gantos 183). This shows us that Gantos’ mother did not have an impact in his life, also it looks like he does not want to know about her and she was not important. In life mother are the ones that always support and teach their children the good and the bad, that’s what Gantos was missing. Gantos independence was due to the lack of parental support.

Independence was really important in someone’s life. Gantos was young; he always tried to be very independent from his parent. Gantos always worked, had his own car and even had a fake id. His independence led him to make many poor decisions. Gantos’ biggest and first mistake was that he never finished the eleven grade; instead, he went to Puerto Rico. He always did what his friends wanted him to do, however, he always knew that they were not real friends.

Trusting Tim was another of Gantos’ mistakes; he thought Tim was a good and responsible guy.

Gantos made many mistakes; he wanted an education.

Gantos always wanted things to be his way and education was very prestigious for him.

Gantos’ car was his independence and he decided not to go to the university because they would not allow his car on campus for the first two years. Gantos always put his education first; he wanted to become a writer. He went to St. Croix thinking he was going to find something to write about, but he could not find anything because of the situation of the island at that moment.

He realized that education is the key for everything and he wanted to go to college, and also get out of St. Croix. He believed that the only way he was going to college was if he would work and pay it himself, “…the best way to predict a future is to create it,” (Gantos 45). Gantos was willing to do everything in order to receive an education.

Gantos was very naïve and he never thought well before doing something. Gantos met Rick and Hamilton; they offered him a job to working for them. When they offered him the job, transporting the hash to New York, Gantos never thought about the consequences it would have; he only thought about the money, “all I heard was ten thousand dollars cash,” (Gantos 45). He was so desperate to go to college that he only wanted to do it, to get his money, pay for college, and become a writer. Gantos was not a very brave guy because while they were on the trip from St. Croix to New York and when they were delivering the hash he was always afraid. When the police caught Hamilton, Gantos tried to escape and he made it. Even though he tried to escape; Gantos end up turning himself in. He never realized that it could get him to jail, “never thought dope would lead to trouble and certainly no idea it would lead my ass to jail,” (Gantos 58), but jail was where Gantos realized that the best thing to write about was his life and his experiences.

Gantos was very independent, but had lack of parental support and made a lot of poor decisions. He grew up with his father showing him what he should and should not do, however, it look like his mother was never present on Gantos’ life. Education was Gantos’ motivation and key for success; he made some poor decisions to get money and for his education. He always wanted to become a writer, but never found anything interesting to write about, until he got in jail and realized that best thing to write about was his life and his experiences. Gantos was a guy really independent from his parent, but he always depended on society.


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The Story of Gantos Growing Up in the Book, Hole in My Life by Jack Gantos. (2022, Apr 12). Retrieved from

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