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The Lost Boy: A Foster Child's Search for the Love of a Family - Dave Pelzer

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  • it can bring tears to the eyes
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      12.01.2010 23:04
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      a fantastic read.

      This book was one of the most emotional and heartbreaking books i've ever read. I find it extremely hard to find a book i can read and feel addicted to. Although at points i didn't want to read on to find the extra horrors of Daves life, it was truly an amazing read. The horrific games his mother played with him, the cruel taunts from the school children and the lonliness and grief he faced is outstanding. The fact that he survived the monstorous life was also an extra amazement. I have a tendancy to make it obvious what happens in a book so i shall move on to why it was such a great read.
      The book built up tension in such a great way. The techniques and style of writing was also very good although at some parts i felt words were repeated. The language and the way of explaining the traumatic events was extremely well done; even the end and start of the chapters were set out beautifully.
      The price was reasonable at the time i bought it and well worth it but it has decreased since then, to around £4 depending on where you buy it.
      The cover didn't tell alot about the story which i like because it keeps you guessing; although the blurb pointed a few hints.
      I throughly enjoyed this book although i wouldn't recommend it on a down day because it will probably upset you more. Good with a cuppa tea; just make sure you don't spill it when you dive deep in.

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        05.03.2009 20:00
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        Dave has been abused by his Mother, but now he's free to see what life should really be like.

        Having read the first book 'A Child Called It' I was slightly apprehensive about reading this sequel. The first book is a dark, emotional roller coaster and a tough book to get through. Based on true events, it depicts the life of a young boy who is abused by his Mother. The events outlined in the book are unpleasant, unsettling and unimaginable.

        In this follow up, Dave, the abused child, is much older and fighting for freedom. This book is refreshing and far from that of it's grim and sinister prequel. It was a joy to read, you see light at the end of the tunnel for a boy who has had to overcome much more than many will in their lifetime.

        There's times in this book that your heart bleeds for a poor boy who is too naive in this complex world. Yet there's times when you are filled with happiness for a boy who has had one terrible life.

        If you can make it through the first book, as harsh as it is, this is a pleasant surprise of joy and happiness. It's an inspirational read.

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        18.07.2005 10:07
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        The second of the trilogy telling of Dave Pelzer's life, his turbulent years as a foster child.

        David ran away from home, he was just nine years old. Only given food when he had completed his chores to the satisfaction of “the Mother” he dreaded weekends because no school to go to meant there was no food available to steal, even though he was made to vomit on his return to “the House” at the end to the day to prove his success at eating without permission, or the lack of it.

        Following yet another battle of wills between his parents when “the Mother” argued with Father, who had made an objection to her treatment of “It” or “the Boy”, David was told to leave, to reinforce the message she shouted to him,

        “I don’t like you! I don’t want you! I never loved you! Get the hell out of my house!”

        And so he did!

        Wearing ragged trousers, a torn long-sleeved shirt and a pair of tennis shoes David ran, hoping somehow to make it to Guerneville where he could swim in the Russian River at Johnson’s Beach, the place of his fondest early memory. It wasn’t to be, of course it wasn’t. I knew that even as an adult he’d have been unsuccessful. But, even though I knew he stayed in his parental home until he was twelve before being rescued, still I read on, hoping beyond hope that this would work. I hoped he’d get away and not really have to suffer what I’d read about in the earlier book “A Child Called ‘It’”. This isn’t a novel, it’s real life, an autobiography book and real life has a horrible habit of not changing for the better when you really want it to!

        The poor boy was offered a fresh pizza by a bar owner after he was spotted trying to steal some money. Lured by the prospect of not only freshly cooked food, but also by something hot, he stayed and, of course, the chef phoned the Police. David was taken off to the Police station from where he was collected by his father. Back he went to “the House” where he continued to be abused, tormented and tortured for a further three years until his injuries were so severe that on 5th March 1973 he was at last taken into care.

        That’s only the first chapter, 29 pages out of 340, and it made me weep, in despair. Despair at society, despair at the lies that were told to get him home again, and despair at the possible fear of those in authority who didn’t seem to question just what on earth a filthy dirty and undersized little boy dressed in tattered clothing was doing trying to steal money from a bar to buy some food!

        Are we all so scared of asking, “Why?”


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        So, the rest of the book, what’s it about?

        Following on from "A Child Called 'It'", which it isn't necessary to read first but I'd advise it if you can, this biography details the middle few years of David’s life which he spends in foster care searching for the love of a family. It spans the years from when he’s twelve, and taken away from his violent and abusive mother, until he’s eighteen when as a special, but terrifying, birthday present from the state he has to leave foster care forever and fend for himself. What a gift!


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        David lives in a succession of foster homes. The first is ‘Aunt Mary’, a temporary foster parent who has seven other children in her care. For the first time in years he is given a whole meal to eat, all of his own, not one that’s scrounged from the waste bin, stolen from lunch boxes in school or gobbled from the dog’s bowl. He is put into a bed to sleep. He is given a clean bed in a bedroom, no longer will he be forced to sleep in an army cot in the basement garage and cover himself with dirty rags in an attempt to keep warm.

        David’s Mother comes to visit him while he’s at ‘Aunt Mary’s’. The visit leaves him so terrified of her ability to get him back, and of course the physical punishment she will mete out, that he tells his angel of a social worker Ms Gould that he won’t speak in court. This leads to her telling him something that is so very true, not just for the Davids of this world but for all of us,

        “ … in a person’s life there are a few precious moments in which decisions, choices that you make …, will affect you for the rest of your life ….”

        These words had just as huge an impact on him as they did on me when I read them. He chose to speak if needed, and the Judge made him a ward of court. If you’d been within twenty miles of my house when I read that bit you’d have heard my enormous sigh of relief!


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        Life for any teenager can be difficult and David’s life wasn’t easy, but it was a million times better than it would have been had he stayed with his birth parents. He has some good times and, oh dear, some bad times, times that almost had me biting my nails ~ and that’s something I haven’t done for years! I just kept on forgetting that this is an autobiography and the main character of the book was the person who wrote it all, not some made up kid who is a figment of the author’s imagination. It isn’t a novel; it’s all terribly real.

        Should I perhaps have written down the names of all his foster parents and the finer details of these years to share with you? No, I don’t think so and I’m now rather glad I didn’t, I think that if you’d like to know you should read the book for yourself. I don’t want to go into more details than I need but really want to tell you my thoughts now that it’s a fortnight since I reached the end of the book.


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        How does this book compare with the first?

        It doesn’t. Nothing prepared me for what I read in that book and for that reason alone the autobiographical details written in “The Lost Boy” were a lot easier to take in. However, looking back, far too much of Dave Pelzer’s story is terribly difficult to come to terms with, I’ve thrown away a lot of ideas I didn’t know I had and have found a whole load of new ones.

        The first chapter is written as an introduction for those who may not have read “A Child Called ‘It’”, retelling in part, something I already knew about from the earlier book, but written in greater detail than before. The main body of the book tells of Dave’s teenage years and at the end are Perspectives on Foster care written by David Pelzer himself, Alice Turnbough ~ the foster carer he calls Mum; Dennis Tapley ~ teacher, Carl Miguel ~ Chief Probation Officer and Michael March~ Mentor. These are thought provoking to read.

        The book wasn’t quite as quick a read as the first of the trilogy, it’s written in the language of a teenager of the time. Learning the details of some of the events in David Pelzer’s teenage years life I was rather disgusted to find myself thinking, “Huh, typical boy!” at some of the scrapes he got himself into. But then I smiled, because if he hadn’t been taken into care he wouldn’t have had the chance to be anything resembling a normal teenager, he might have died.

        I’m slightly embarrassed to admit that for a time I forgot how appalling his earlier years had been, forgot how he had managed to survive his early childhood because of his sheer doggedness and determination. I forgot to remember that his emotions must have been in tatters when he was assaulted by the testosterone explosion of adolescence and the desperate need to fit in with somebody, anybody, and the need to be part of a group, it really didn’t matter which one!

        I wonder if, hand on heart, any adult can say they did nothing at all wrong when we were passing through their teenage years, the transition from being a child to becoming an adult. It’s the nature of that age to rebel in some way, to test the world to see how far you can go, to have cliques, groups and a common identity. Our rebellion may have been trivial, for some it is to wear what to others are outlandish clothes, have strange haircuts and wear too much make-up. No doubt at some point in their future all will own a lawnmower and have what are considered adult values. What I do know is that most of us will reach this age in our lives having had a secure and safe childhood, not having had the tormented early years of David Pelzer, and for that we have to be so very grateful.


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        I’m grateful to learn that it is easier for ‘the services’ to step in when there child abuse is suspected than it was in 1970s, that this series of books has played a large part in shaping policies. I dearly hope this is true in all cases. Even though the earlier system may have been flawed, without this safety net it is unlikely that David Pelzer would have survived to reach adulthood. I admire Foster Parents and the work they do and I ask each and every one of you to consider and question your deep-seated thoughts and opinions.


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        Reading the words of David Pelzer in “The Lost Boy” has made me question my values, again! His implied questions have made me think about my previously unspoken and even unconsidered judgements. He’s made me think about my opinion both of the adults who open their hearts and their homes in order to care for needy and desperate young people, and also those young people themselves.

        Have I secretly always felt that it’s the children who are to blame when they are fostered? Have I ever thought that a foster child is different from any other? Have I thought that foster parents are only “in it” to make a quick and easy pound or two? Have I ever thought unkindly of those who foster young people, sometimes only for 24 hours while their families work out what to do for the best? No, I don’t think I have, I was too disgusted when I read these ideas in the book, but I wonder if there are really some people who think it’s the childs fault that they are fostered? Are there really people who think foster kids are less than normal, just because they are fostered? I sincerely hope not.

        David Pelzer has made me think about what might happen to my own children if disaster struck. We live so far from any relatives and in any case most of our family are very much older than us that they wouldn’t know what to do with a couple of teenage children who are deeply traumatised by some terrible event. Who is there that would honestly and truly open the door and take them in, even for just one night, after a knock on the door or an urgent phone call? There are people who can and do just that ~ and they’re called Foster Parents.


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        I’ll close with the same words Dave Pelzer uses to close his book, something that may also be read on a bumper sticker,

        “SUPERMAN HAD FOSTER PARENTS!”


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        I borrowed my paperback version of “The Lost Boy” (ISBN: 0752837613 ) from the library, you could do the same or buy a copy from any bookshop in the high street or online for £6.99 or less.



        Read it ~ and think!




        © Mum52

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          27.06.2002 03:00

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          • "it can bring tears to the eyes"

          this book is brilliant if that was me in that boys situation then i don't think that i could forgive - Advantages: there is hope for people in his situation, proves even when you have had a bad start you can change if you try hard enough, gives people corage to come forward if it is happening to them and helps them not to hate - Disadvantages: told in detail, not for the faint hearted, it can bring tears to the eyes

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          01.05.2002 04:27
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          'The Lost Boy' is the sequel to 'A Child Called It' by Dave Pelzer. As a child, he was horribly abused by his alcoholic mother. Rescued at the tender age of 12, this is where this book carries on. This book covers his ages from 12 - 18. The story starts with a story from the past, then begins his journey on the road to freedom. After being rescued from his basement home, he was placed in to care. His first foster home was Aunt Mary, who fostered many children from many different backgrounds. Here he had to learn how to play, laugh and love again. Throughout his years in care, he was placed in 5 different care homes, for one reason or another, not all bad reasons. He faced some difficult times growing up. Getting himself into trouble at school and doing things wrong. All because he wanted the attention, and wanted to be 'in' with the crowd at school. He'd always been bullied at school because he was different. All he wanted was to be liked. That's not so much to ask, is it? Even out of school, he was shunned. In one home, even an adult told him they didn't want 'his kind' in their neighbourhood. They didn't want an 'f'(foster) child there. It looked bad on the neighbourhood, and lowered the tone. He did come across some very loving and kind people. All of which he very much appreciated. In this book, you will come across his time in court. His mother, even then, said it was all his fault he was in this state, and she was the loving, caring woman! As he grew up, he had to deal with a lot. He had to learn a lot and still face a lot of rejection from certain people. His dream was to fly. As a kid living in the basement, he would dream of Superman - free and happy, and a hero. He did eventually fulfil his dream by joining the US Air Force and flying plances. He now has a son of his own, and now helps people with
          child abuse problems/parents. This book is truly remarkable. Dave Pelzer is one remarkable man. He writes about his life - tells it like it is and doesn't beat around the bush in doing so. It just goes to prove that you can come out on top, and there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. ISBN: 0-75253-761-3 PRICE: £6.99

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        • Product Details

          The author continues the story of his own child abuse, and his experiences being a foster child moving in and out of five different foster homes.