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I AM NOT JOEY PIGZA by Jack Gantos Kirkus Star

I AM NOT JOEY PIGZA

By Jack Gantos

Age Range: 10 & up

Pub Date: Aug. 7th, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-374-39941-2
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Joey’s father, Carter Pigza, is back in Joey’s life. He’s a new man with a new plan, even a new name: Charles Heinz, lottery winner and entrepreneur. Mrs. Pigza is now “Maria,” not Fran, and Joey is “Freddy.” New names, new identities, a chance to jettison the past and start over. But as craziness unfolds, Joey/Freddy begins to realize that “once you give up who you are, you can become anybody,” but then how do you ever know who you really are? As Fran says, Maria was starting to feel “like a guest who wouldn’t leave,” and to Joey, “Freddy” is feeling like a lunatic. “I’m going crazy from not knowing who I am,” he says. With this fourth installment in the series, Gantos offers it all: outrageous schemes, funny scenes, strong voice, dramatic characters and profound reflections on identity, family and love. It stands well on its own, though anyone new to Joey’s saga will want to read more. This is Gantos at his best, and that’s saying a lot. (Fiction. 10+)