Which characters have a positive impact on David's life in The Lost Boy?

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jules-cordry eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Dave Pelzer’s memoir The Lost Boy tells the story of the author's escape from a horrifically abusive home and his subsequent experiences in foster care. While the impact young David’s mother’s abusive behavior (and his father’s complicity in the abuse) has on his life is negative to say the least, several other characters in the book end up exerting a positive influence on David that helps him survive his difficult circumstances. One such character is David’s social worker, Ms. Gold, who helps him deal with his fear of talking about the abuse in court. David’s first foster parents, Lilian and Rudy Catanze, also have a largely positive influence on David's life. The Catanzes are kind, experienced foster parents who allow David plenty of freedom, but they do take him to a juvenile detention center when he begins stealing and is accused of starting a fire. Later, while living with another foster family, the Walshes, David befriends his neighbors Michael and Sandra Marsh. Michael, a Vietnam vet, becomes a mentor to David and lends him books, and David keeps in touch with him even after being placed with another family. Perhaps the character with the most significant positive impact on David’s life is his son, Stephen, with whom he visits his biological family’s old vacation spot, the Russian River, at the end of the book. In the family he has made with his wife and son, David has finally found a lasting home and happiness.

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The Lost Boy

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