Life of a Bastard
This book can be downloaded and read in Apple Books on your Mac or iOS device.
A real account of Javier Soto’s journey of life in foster care. Javier was born in Spanish Harlem (1972) to a 16-year-old Puerto Rican mother and 24-year-old Black father during a period in America when this was considered taboo. Removed from his mother ‘s home along with his sisters due to a suspicious fire "allegedly" set by his mother, and with a father serving prison time, Javier and his two sisters enter foster care.
Their first stop is the Catholic Home Bureau. Survival at all cost becomes Javier’s mantra as he is moved from one home to the next and, along the way, he meets others that have similar backgrounds.
Soon, he outgrows foster homes and a chance to be adopted, and is placed in Children’s Village, and then Pleasantville Cottage School (a home for the “emotionally disturbed”).
What should be your normal teenage angst and growing pains? Like others, his angst is compiled with rage, self-loathing, depression, suicidal thoughts, and juvenile delinquency. Javier tells his story with honesty and brutality while he wonders “how it will end for him?”
Behind the Scene
Behind the scene of "Life of a Bastard."
There are editing issues that I overlooked; I am determined going forward that I will be more careful in the process. Continuity, for the most part, flows. It was a daunting task of putting together journals, social worker sessions, and one on one therapy notes without adding hindsight to create a timeline for Javier's journey.
While it does take place in foster care and Javier's interactions with abusive people, for me it is a coming of age story rather than a referendum on the foster care system but a look at a child that as a few roads to follow. Those roads may or may not lead him to a dark path of destruction. So many have been here before some of the worst human beings start out as victims trying to balance and make sense of the world, what is right and what is wrong and then they make a choice. Javier doesn't always strike because it's out of self-defense but striking by choosing wrong over right. Javier was placed in 17 different foster homes and institutions; I avoided including all of them because it takes away from the theme of a coming of age story, I rather focus on Javier's growth as a human being and if he can overcome repeating history and just becoming a number.
Language and Vulgarity
The language is what it was if we can talk about the past we can sure use the language of that time. I would hate to see a movie about slavery all while the slave master refers to them in a PC way, that takes away from the attitude, attitude equals treatment of others. Javier to others is a thing, case number, a family court docket, and many times a check to cash. And Javier saw others as a thing, refer to them in a vulgar matter, he lack the maturity to think things out before opening his mouth, that is called being a youth. Hypersexuality was a reality for Javier and his peers and many times this was the only expression of love they understood, the only thing they had to offer others to get "love".
I hope you can enjoy "Life of a Bastard Vol. 1" and stay with the series, contact me if you like to have a chat.
I read this book twice in a row and you probably will too!
Have you ever read a book that left you speechless? A book that you needed to read again right away? Life of a Bastard by Damien Black did this to me. This book made me cry, it made me laugh, and, most of all; it opened my eyes to a reality that is worse than I could have ever imagined!
The book recounts the true and horrifying journey of Javier Soto growing up in the American Foster Care system where violence and sexual abuses are every day on the agenda.
This story could sound very dark. Well, it is¬–as it shows you the worse in humans. So, the book is often “painful to read”. I had to take some breaks between chapters to breath and give me strength to continue reading. Javier, this poor bi-racial kid was right off the bat loathed by his own mother who attended murder on him and his younger sister Marilynn. She tried to burn them both alive and ran away for god sake! And this, was just the beginning of Javier’s life, he was 4 years old. From here began Javier (and Marilynn)’s journey into the “maze” of the atrocities of the foster care system (rape, verbal and physical abuses body part burned, more abandonment, deceptions…)
Astonishingly, Life of a Bastard is also a story told with humor. There is nothing more powerful than a story that succeeds to balance drama with humor.
First and foremost, this true story is also the best story of survival I have ever read! Unbelievably, Javier survives all of this. He is now living in China and has made a good life for himself by becoming an attentive and beloved father and teacher.
By telling his story and sharing his experiences, Javier Soto/Damien Black wants to help the survivors of the foster care system to not feel isolated. As the author says: “Javier is one of the a millions of stories that have been untold until now.”
Everyone should read this book! I am a dreamer who wishes politicians would read this book as well and in their next reform package a reform that could help bring back humanity to the system.