Kevin Brooks on a book that’s so good it makes you groan…
Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key is the first in a series of books about a young boy who has Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder. Joey lives with his mum and his grandmother, and it’s his relationship with them, and his absent dad, and the everyday problems that they all have to deal with, that form the basis of the story. The plot itself is deceptively simple. It seems at first to be nothing more than a series of random incidents, but gradually these incidents are woven together into a wonderfully complete and unforgettable tale.
From an author’s point of view, it really is one of those books that’s so good it makes you groan. There’s nothing gushy or sentimental about it, but it makes you cry, and it makes you think, and it genuinely makes you laugh out loud. And the style, the way it’s written… beautiful, poetic, raw, rhythmic, thoughtful – it reminds me of Jack Kerouac at his best.
The worst, and the best, thing about it is – all of his books are just as good!
Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key by Jack Gantos is published by Corgi Yearling, 0 440 86433 X, £4.99 pbk.
Kevin Brooks’ Martyn Pig won the Branford Boase Award, and was shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal. Lucas won the North East Book Award and the Kingston Youth Book Award. His next book, The Road of the Dead , will be published by The Chicken House in March at £8.99.