Steve Pemberton's memoir, A Chance in the World, deals with the topic of his tragic childhood in foster care. But, this is not merely a book about the problems with the foster care system (although there are some), but rather Pemberton's search for his biological family and the desire to learn what happened to his parents that led him to be removed from their care when he was very young.
Pemberton recalls what little he can from the time he is removed from his biological home. He then endures a few foster care placements. One with a family who left him home alone for a long period of time, and a final placement with the Robison family where he suffered physical and emotional abuse. Although Steve was still in the foster care system, he was not visited by a social worker for several years and the case workers assigned to him seem oblivious to his torment. Despite the many things stacked against him, Pemberton continued to shine in school. He recalls a few people in his childhood who took the time to tell him they were rooting for him, giving him some hope for his future.
Eventually Pemberton manages to attend college, experiencing freedom for the first time ever. He dates a few women and marries and is now a father - an amazing feat considering the dysfunction he witnessed. However, something was still missing. Pemberton decides to find out who he really is - first finding out the identity of his father and meeting his father's family. He then sets about locating his mother and her family. In the process he discovers several siblings he meets.
Pemberton has done a wonderful job in writing this memoir. Although I found the first part difficult to read because of what Pemberton was forced to endure, I still loved this book. Steve Pemberton's success is a miracle - a true testament to his character. This is certainly not "another foster care book." This is a memoir of a boy and his search for his family.