The Lost Boy Characters

  • David Pelzer, the author and protagonist, who enters the foster care system after being removed from his abusive mother's care.
  • Roerva Pelzer, David's abusive mother, whom he calls "Mother."
  • Stephen Pelzer, David's alcoholic father, who retires from his job as a firefighter.
  • Ron, Stan, and Russell Pelzer, David's brothers.
  • Ms. Gold, David's social worker, whom he calls an "angel."
  • Lillian and Rudy Catanze, David's first foster parents.
  • Gordon Hutcheson, David's probation officer.


David Pelzer

David Pelzer is the author of two bestselling memoirs, A Child Called "It" and The Lost Boy. These books tell the story of David's childhood, beginning with the horrific abuse he suffered at the hands of his mother and following him through the foster care system. While serving in the Air Force, he began volunteering at Hillside, the juvenile hall where he'd been briefly detained as an adolescent. His desire to give back to the system that saved his life led him to write his memoirs.

Mother (Roerva Pelzer)
David's deranged, alcoholic mother. For the first years of David's life, Mother is a loving and caring person and dotes on David, her youngest son at the time. Only later does the abuse start. Her actions are unforgivable and horrific in their ingenuity. She attempts on several occasions to gas David with a concoction of bleach and ammonia. It's unclear exactly what triggered this behavior. Her excessive alcohol consumption certainly didn't help. In the epilogue of The Lost Boy, David hints that she, too, had a family secret like David's—something tragic enough to make David cry, though obviously not enough to justify the abuse.
Father (Stephen Pelzer)
When David was a child, he thought of Father as his hero. Stephen was a career fireman known for his bravery in the line of duty. He was unable to prevent the abuse, however, and instead of getting a divorce he retreated into alcoholism to escape David's crazy mother. At the end of The Lost Boy, the teenage David visits his father in San Francisco and finds him a broken man with a severe drinking problem. Stephen encourages David to enlist in the military. We can only assume that he's proud of his son.
Ron, Stan, and Russell Pelzer
David's brothers. In A Child Called...

(The entire section is 858 words.)