In this dazzling episode, Jack Gantos’s acclaimed hyperactive hero discovers that settling down isn’t good for anything if he can’t find a way to stop the people he cares about from winding him up all over again.
Are they flirting or fighting? This is Joey Pigza’s question when the fireworks suddenly start to explode between his long-separated mom and dad, whom he’s never really had a chance to see together. The more out of control his parents get, the less in control Joey feels and the more he wants to help make things better. But Joey’s ailing tell-it-like-it-is grandmother wants her grandson to see it like it is with his unpredictable parents. Knowing that she is fading fast, she needs Joey to hurry up and show that he can break the Pigza family mold by making a friend in the outside world. The only potential candidate, however, is Olivia Lapp — Joey’s blind homeschooling partner, who brags that she is “blind as a brat” and acts meaner to Joey the more desperate he gets for her friendship — even if Joey senses there’s more to her than meets the eye.
“Hard to believe that Joey is the almost-normal one in this third and last installment in the chronicles of Joey Pigza . . . It’s not just a funny story with nutty parents out of control, it’s a poignant story of family, loss, lessons learned, and one boy’s learning to make his way in the world with confidence and good cheer. This work easily stands by itself, but readers new to Joey Pigza will rush out to get the others, too. A must read.”
School Library Journal
“Readers who don’t know Joey will have no trouble jumping right in with this book, and those who have met him in the previous books will enjoy the way ‘Mr. Helpful’ tries to set things right in a chaotic and uniquely amusing world. “