Title: The Lost Boy (Based on a true story) Author: Dave Pelzer No. of Pages: 340 Major Characters: “¢ Dave Pelzer ” A young boy who grows up in a home with a terribly abusive mother. He is incredibly skinny due to malnutrition, he wears rags for clothes, and his personal hygiene is appalling because he rarely has the privilege to bathe. He desires love from a family who is eager to care for him, and he desperately searches for that throughout his adolescent years as he moves from one foster home to another in order to escape his wicked mother. His strong-will is constantly evident, even in the most difficult situations that he faces.
“¢ Dave’s Mom ” Dave’s brutal alcoholic mother who has a cold heart and no sense of love or affection anywhere in her being. Her character is despised by the reader because of her unmerciful and heartless nature. She relentlessly puts Dave through torturous punishments and cruel games that seriously harm him physically and emotionally, yet bring her twisted pleasure.
“¢ Ms. Gold: A kindhearted social worker who rescues Dave and guides him as he searches for a foster home that can care for him. She is Dave’s cornerstone who stands by his side in the most difficult times and protects him from the mother.
Major literary devices and examples: “¢ Setting: The setting of the story takes place during the middle years of Dave’s childhood in a small town.
“¢ Tone: The tone of the book is overly depressing. It brings tears to the reader’s eyes when Pelzer tells of his violent and lonely past, yet brings hope as he tells of his future.
“¢ Flashback: This literary device is used throughout the book as Pelzer reflects on his past and informs the reader of the heartache he went through in his persistent search for a loving foster family. With this specific devise Pelzer tells of painful abusive experiences that his mother put him through, uplifting encounters with counselors and foster families who deeply cared for him, and also his personal thoughts during those times.
“¢ Personification: While Dave is in a juvenile home, the other boys in the home compare him to “fresh meat”, which gives meat the characteristics of a little boy. There are also other uses of personification throughout the writing.
Key passage which is integral to the book: “I tried my best to tell myself that through the wonder of the county’s social services and the court system, I had a new lease on my life. I tried my best to isolate my past, to bury my dark experiences deep inside my heart. Like a light switch, I imagined myself flicking off my entire past. (p. 79-80)” Brief plot summary: The book focuses on a young boy named Dave Pelzer and his experience growing up in a broken home with an extremely abusive mother. As his physical body is weakened as a result of his mother’s treatment, his spirit only gets stronger and pushes him even harder to search for the unconditional love of a family. The reader follows Dave when he escapes his biological home and is moved from one foster home to another with the assistance of the social services as they support Dave in overcoming his dark past and looking for a brighter future.
Personal analysis: After reading this book, not one person can go away unaffected. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Dave’s experiences. Personally, I was in complete shock at the way Dave’s heartless mother treated him. There were countless times in the book that I was brought to tears because of they way she treated him. I was angry yet sympathetic toward Dave’s father in his timid attempts to protect Dave from further harm.
It was as if I could feel Dave’s emotions throughout the reading because Pelzer is such an extraordinary writer. His descriptions of the situations are so real and he recalls them so vividly that it was intriguing.
It was like I received a slap in the face after reading the book. I was brought to the reality that some unfortunate innocent children are raised in broken homes that treat them like dirt. However, it made me thankful for the social services because in many cases they are the only source of freedom for the children. I was also thankful for the adults who give their lives to foster children in heartbreaking situations like Dave’s. They are true heroes in my eyes.
I honestly can’t think of one aspect of the book that I disliked. Pelzer did an amazing job writing it and he successfully inspires the readers.
Literary Criticism: While looking on the internet I didn’t find many reviews on the book but I did find some honest opinions from people who had read the book. One includes a reader from England who says: “The book has a slightly more fractured and episodic feel than the relentless, depressing atmosphere of its predecessor, but I guess that reflects David’s life quite accurately at that stage.” (Amazon.com. June 16, 2001. A reader from London England.) I agree with this reaction to the piece of literature because it accurately describes that the sequel is less depressing than the first book, but it is as equally intriguing to see how Dave has overcome his difficulties and triumphed victoriously by finding the love that he has long awaited.
Comparison to other American writers: I would compare The Lost Boy to another personal biography of an author’s difficult childhood. This American author is Frank Peretti, and he is traditionally known for his fictional Christian books, but his book titled The Wounded Spirit is parallel to that of Pelzer’s The Lost Boy. They both focus on the pain from their pasts and how they persevere in overcoming the scars they endured. Their messages of hope are inspiring and easily affect the reader by instilling a sense of hope in their hearts.