The Lost Boy: A Foster Child’s Search for the Love of a Family, by Dave Pelzer

My Copy: 9781558745155 (image from

I hadn’t read this one before now, and am glad I picked it up. For the longest time, I thought A Child Called “It” was the only story told. It took me a few years to realize the story continued, and so did the struggle.

While one might be inclined to think, “oh thank God that the child is gone from that horrible place,” that’s a Hollywood ending. This is real life, and just as before with A Child Called “It,” the language is written to depict the worldliness–so to speak–and life experience of the moment for the boy from about 12 to 18.

I devoured this book and wanted to know more about Dave’s teen years after starting out with so many sadistically dysfunctional ones. There were times when I wanted to smack him upside the head because he would pull away from doing right and focus on being accepted by his peers (like in his most daring “light fingered” days). And then the time he got involved with the worst kids in school and ended up accused of arson… oh boy.

But I remember those days of wanting people to like and admire you, and if I’d had the dysfunctional start Dave had, I probably would’ve gone to extremes, too. Some of his behavior makes you angry because it feels like he’s squandering his chances and that he should know better…but again, with experience comes wisdom (and sometimes more pain to get the point across).

Dave reveals how with each foster family and school, he learned some lessons and even a few truths that were hard to hear. I found myself as baffled as he was when he visited his first psychiatrist. It made me want to do some serious research on what constituted psychiatric practices then. But then I felt dread alongside Dave when learning about the extent of “The Mother”‘s manipulations (or attempts to manipulate the system).

I don’t want to give too much away, but I will recommend this read (about as long as its predecessor and as involving). It is a window on the foster system and prejudices against it in the 60s and 70s (and his learning curve regarding what it meant for him). I was appalled by some people’s behavior and admit I came away from this book with a higher regard for those who participate in foster care. It’s worth a read.

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