The Martian Child
by David Gerrold
In The Martian Child, Gerrold presents a fictionalized account of his own experience adopting a child. David, a single man, has been researching and preparing to adopt a child for years when he sees a picture of Dennis and realizes that he has found his new son. As a baby, Dennis had been abandoned by his mother, and due to custody and abuse issues, the boy remained in the Los Angeles foster care system for more than six years. Hyperactive and convinced he is an alien from Mars, Dennis is a handful for the inexperienced father. Despite these and other obstacles, the two eventually become a family.
This book is full of many sweet moments such as when David teaches Dennis a joke to help Dennis develop a sense of humor. Dennis has many agressive and self-preserving behaviors from being in the foster care system. David must help Dennis relearn social skills and develop new habits. I love the way that David lovingly speaks to Dennis throughout the book and gently teaches him to love and trust. There are plenty of moments where David seems to be in over his head with Dennis, but the book presents mostly the funny and sweet experiences. My one complaint about the book is the Martian child aspect. Amusing when Dennis believes it, David's obsession with it takes a lot of explanation to be believable and adds very little to the story. But that was only a minor complaint. All in all, I found this book to be a fun and quick read, a really touching story. And yay, the DVD goes on sale today!