Life of a Bastard (book Series) by Damien Black
Illustrations by Laura Caiafa
A true 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 Black father. This was during a period in America that mixed race marriage was considered taboo. Removed from his mother‘s home, along with his sisters, due to a father serving prison time and a suspicious fire allegedly set by his mother, Javier,and his two sisters entered foster care. Their first stop is Catholic Home Bureau.
Childhood innocence is lost after a few months living in their first foster family. Ongoing abuse, starvation, neglect, and other scars are ignored by their first incompetent social worker. Like thousands of American children that enter the grind of foster care, Javier, and his siblings are shuffled from foster home to foster home. The children are eventually split up. One sister goes off to her sexually abusive father, one sister is adopted, and Javier is left alone to journey some more in foster care.
Survival at all costs becomes Javier’s mantra as he is removed from one home to the next and along the way he meets others that have similar backgrounds. Soon he outgrows foster homes. He is too old to have a chance to be adopted and he is placed in Children’s Village and Pleasantville Cottage School, home for the “emotionally disturbed”. What should be your average teenage angst and growing pains experience, like those that came before him, Javier’s angst is compiled with rage, self-loathing, depression, suicidal thoughts, and juvenile delinquency while surviving in the backdrop of the 80’s. Javier tells his story with honesty and brutality while he wonders how it will end for him.