Episode 28: Steve Pemberton Talks About Growing Up in Foster Care

Steve Pemberton’s book, A Chance in the World, is heartbreaking yet uplifting, tragic yet triumphant, discouraging yet inspiring. The subtitle tells it all: An Orphan Boy, a Mysterious Past, and How He Found a Place Called Home.

He was born Steve Klakowicz in New Bedford, Massachusetts. At age five, he was placed in a a foster home that can only be described as evil. Through the kindness of one woman, he discovered his love for reading and he would hole up in his foster family’s dark and damp basement to lose himself in other worlds and dream about what his life could be like. He managed to escape that foster hell and graduated from Boston College. But that bright future was haunted by his past and he set out to find his birth family. What he found on that journey answered many questions about his origins, but also caused him to examine what family really means.

On any given day, there are nearly 450,000 children in the U.S. in foster care. And each year, nearly 25,000 kids will age out of foster care and group homes. Steve hopes his book and a foundation that he has established can work towards making a difference. He talks with Woman Around Town’s Editor Charlene Giannetti about his book and growing up in foster care.

About Charlene Giannetti (257 Articles)
Charlene Giannetti, editor of Woman Around Town, is the recipient of seven awards from the New York Press Club for articles that have appeared on the website. A graduate of Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Charlene began her career working for a newspaper in Pennsylvania, then wrote for several publications in Washington covering environment and energy policy. In New York, she was an editor at Business Week magazine and her articles have appeared in many newspapers and magazines including the New York Times. She is the author of 13 non-fiction books, eight for parents of young adolescents written with Margaret Sagarese, including "The Roller-Coaster Years," "Cliques," and "Boy Crazy." She and Margaret have been keynote speakers at many events and have appeared on the Today Show, CBS Morning, FOX News, CNN, MSNBC, NPR, and many others. Her new book, "The Plantations of Virginia," written with Jai Williams, was published by Globe Pequot Press in February, 2017. Her podcast, WAT-CAST, interviewing men and women making news, is available on Soundcloud and on iTunes. She is one of the producers for the film "19 Daniel Highway," focusing on the opioid crisis that will be filmed in 2019. Charlene divides her time between homes in Manhattan and Alexandria, Virginia.