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The Lost Boy: A Foster Child's Search for the Love of a Family
by Dave Pelzer
Like a light switch, I imagined myself flicking off my entire past.
I quickly became accustomed to the routine at Aunt Mary's home, as well as my new school. Even though I was spontaneous and free at Aunt Mary's, I still became lifeless and shy around my classmates...I stood out, especially whenever children asked why I didn't live with my parents...I stuttered and turned away.
Other times I'd happily state, "I'm a foster child!" I was proud to be a member of my new family. I began to repeat this saying until one day one of the older foster children pulled me aside at school, warning me not to tell anyone
"what" I was because "...a lot of folks don't like our kind."..."Our kind? What are you talking about?"..."Don't worry little brother. You'll find out soon enough. Just be cool and keep your mouth shut." I obeyed the command, realizing I now lived in another world of prejudice.

This is the sequel to A Child Called "It". It is the continuing autobiographical saga of Dave Pelzer, a survivor of one of the worst cases of child abuse in California history. While A Child Called "It" focused on his life as an abused young boy, this one focuses on his life as an adolescent now in the foster care system.

You travel with Dave, seeing things through his eyes as his shuffles through five different foster families searching for love and a place just to call "Home". He struggles with his own feelings of self worth, still questioning why his mother treated him the way she did, thinking that he indeed must have been bad. He battles with his need for acceptance, doing whatever it takes to "fit in", even if that includes stealing. He endures the views of others who feel that all foster children are trouble, not to be trusted, because they don't have a real family.

"You're that little F-child, aren't you? How did the association ever approve of your kind of people residing in our neighborhood. I know all about your kind. You're a filthy little hooligan! You reek of street trash. I don't know what you children do to become...fostered children, but I'm sure you did something hideous, didn't you? Don't you dare approach my household or converse with my children ,ever!"

Through all of this, his mother still reaches out her hooks to dig into him. She is kept up to date on his doings, biding her time waiting. Dave gets mixed up with an unsavory group of kids and, due to a misunderstanding, gets blamed for a fire that is started at school. He is sent to the county juvenile hall. His mother swoops in and petitions the court to have him locked away in a mental institution proving once and for all that she was right in disciplining him in the way she did. He has to fight against the lies she has told just to keep what small bit of security he has. And still she makes him feel unworthy of even the love of his foster parents.

A few weeks before sixth grade, I began to turn off my feelings. By then I was completely drained of emotion. I had become fed up with the teeter-totter effect of my new life...I was fully aware that a cold change was taking place inside of me. I did not care. I told myself that in order to survive, I had to become so hard that I would never allow anyone to hurt me again.
This book shows the feelings Dave went through, what most foster children go through, in trying to adapt to a life that he could never really trust. Stability is sorely lacking for those children that need it the most. The stigma of being a foster child shadows him during his adolescent years with opinions like those above constantly telling him he was no good. The shame of being an unwanted child dogs him most of his life.

STILL, he persists. He grows, he finds bonds in the unlikeliest of places and holds onto those short time periods knowing that at any moment it could be snatched away from him. He finds love in the home of dedicated foster parents. He finds security in that love, finally accepting it. He turns his torn up life around. He survives and he thrives.


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