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Reviewed by Barbara Harper for Readers' Favorite
The Lost Child: And Demons of the Past by W. Lawrence Johnston starts with an introduction to Caroline, a sophomore, beautiful, self-absorbed, and giddy with excitement as she is invited by Jimmy to attend the prom. Caroline’s youthful indiscretions which included experimental use of recreational drugs resulted in a tragic accident that leads to the negative trajectory of her life. More than five years later she is pregnant, working in a bar, still plagued by a guilty conscience and habitually taking drugs and indulging in promiscuous behavior to drown her remorse. When she goes into labor, she is high on cocaine and other drugs. One of the nurses assisting with the birth laments that Caroline’s baby is ‘another crack baby, just another lost child.’ Baby Lizzy becomes a ward of the state and spends the first few weeks of her life in hospital, on medication to wean her off any drug dependency. One of the nurses lovingly takes Lizzy under her wing and makes the necessary arrangements for Lizzy to be placed in her foster care. Then she decides to legally adopt her and Caroline fights tooth and nail to gain custody of her baby, due to malice against the nurse, attempting to take back what is hers. Eighteen-month-old Lizzy is ripped from a loving foster parent and uprooted from a safe and secure environment into a harrowing, hostile existence due to Caroline’s inappropriate behavior, impaired sense of morality, and neglect. Lizzy has the saving grace of a high IQ but will this be enough to assist her in navigating the landmines placed in her path and the cause of her undiagnosed PTSD?
The Lost Child: And Demons of the Past by W. Lawrence Johnston is a dramatic social issues tale about Lizzy, a baby born into the world of a drug-addicted mother. It is narrated through the eyes of the toddler, Lizzy, who is wrenched from the safety of secure and loving arms and placed in the unpredictable and hostile environment in which her drug-addicted mother, Caroline exists. The author takes you on a tear-jerking and haphazard journey of the life of ‘the lost child’ and the catastrophic consequences of being born into the world with an addict who has no self-control, moves around in a drug-induced haze, haunted by her past, and running from her nightmares. Her daughter Lizzy’s existence consists of moving from one adventure to the next as she navigates each challenge with perseverance and intelligence. This story about a gifted, sensitive, and lonely little girl is extremely moving and well written. The author demonstrates the personal expressions of the physical and mental suffering of the adults that inhabit little Lizzy’s life. This story will make you weep for this intelligent, sensitive, and lonely little girl.