Monday, April 26, 2010

The Lost Boy, by Dave Pelzer

Note- the full title is The Lost Boy: A Foster Child’s Search for the Love of a Family

In his second book detailing his survival from a life of abuse, Dave Pelzer discusses his removal from his biological mother, his dealings with the legal system, and his life as a foster child. Told in a very frank manner, Dave never once condemns the foster system, as so many are apt to do. Instead, he honestly talks about his relationships with his social workers, probation officers, foster parents, teachers, classmates, and friends. Dave also honestly discusses his flaws, and how he contributed to his own troubled path through adolescence.

As I read this book, my heart continued to break for the child that David was, and yet my heart rejoiced knowing the man Dave had become as a result of his journey. It was painful to watch the slow, painful healing of the festering wounds inflicted by his mother. There were times when I thought she really was glad he was taken from her and given a second chance, and there were other times I found her incapable of having such feelings.

Honestly, there were times I wanted to just shake young David and say, please know that people love you and not everyone behaves like your mother. I think he learned this lesson eventually, thankfully. The most heartbreaking part of the book is when he sees one of his younger brothers, and suspects that the brother is now the target of mother’s wrath. I cannot imagine how one would feel in that situation, guilt for leaving, relief that it is not you?

As with his first book, Dave does an excellent job allowing the reader to experience this situation from the child’s point of view. Again, I think this is an extremely important book for every youth minister, teacher, social worker, pediatrician, or any other professional working with children. Also, anyone considering becoming a foster parent should read this, because it paints an accurate picture of the hardships, as well as the joys, of fostering. Thankfully, the social views of foster children have improved somewhat since Dave was in the foster system.