40 pages 1 hour read

Dave Pelzer

The Lost Boy

Nonfiction | Autobiography / Memoir | Adult | Published in 1997

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The Search for Home and Family

The search for home and family is the overarching theme of Pelzer’s memoir. Because of his early experiences of abuse and neglect, David feels as if he has no real home or family while he is living with his parents. Since his mother abuses him and isolates him from his brothers, and his father fails to adequately defend him from her mistreatment, he does not feel safe in their house or as if he is part of the family. Once he is placed in the foster care system, David longs to find a home and family where he feels safe, loved, and accepted. He starts to feel at home while he is living with Lilian and Rudy Catanze, who give him the affection and support that he never received from his own parents. As a young adolescent, however, he gets so wrapped up in trying to understand why his family isolated and mistreated him that he starts misbehaving and eventually has to leave the Catanzes’ home. His fixation on his troubled parents and broken home eventually leads to him getting involved with John and sentenced to time in the juvenile penitentiary.