The Boy From the Basement
If you have ever read Dave Pelzer's "A Child Called It", the story of Charlie will seem very familiar. Charlie's has never really been allowed to play with other children and when his family moved to their new home, he found himself being assigned to punishment in the basement for various small transgressions. Left in a state of semi-starvation in the cold, dark recesses of the basement, he finds himself sneaking upstairs for warmth and nutrition. When he accidentally locks himself out of the house while going to the bathroom, he wanders around aimlessly until he passes out.
Charlie has lived in the basement for a long time, his angry father has kept him hidden in there as a punishment for small accidents that Charlie was involved in. He has no knowledge of school or Christmas so when he accidentally escapes from the basement and winds up in a hospital, he is shell-shocked but the nurses and doctors who hear his story are even more surprised. He winds up in a foster home where he discovers wonders that he never imagined and is coping with the real world until his father finds him. To find out what happens to Charlie, you have to read "The Boy From the Basement."
Things are revealed slowly to readers of "The Boy from the Basement." We first learn that young Charlie is being punished by being made to stay in the basement. Charlie seems to agree that he deserves his punishment, but he never makes it clear what he's done to be punished for. Then, while breaking the rules and leaving the basement in order to relieve himself, Charlie is locked out of the house, wanders off, and ends up in the hospital. Clearly, things aren't quite right with him, as the doctors quickly learn. He is paranoid, hallucinating about spiders in the corner, and can't even answer simple questions like what his last name is or where he lives.
When the truth emerges-- that Charlie is the victim of abuse-- he is whisked away into what is for him a whole new world...one of unconditional love and the frredom to go outside. But is Charlie to damaged to enjoy this new life, or can he overcome his past and realize there's hope for the future?
This is an interesting story about the mindset of a boy who was monstrously abused by his father. I found myself wishing that Shaw would delve into what caused the father to do what he did, but perhaps this book really wasn't the place for such explanations. Charlie as a character was somewhat unbelievable, but also completely lovable and easy to root for.