The reason why Lázaro is called " de Tormes" is because Lazarus was born in Salamanca, right next to the river Tormes( Spain). Below you can see where is Salamanca in a spanish map:
He was very poor and since childhood had to fend for himself, since he lost his father and his mother could not maintain him. He did not live in a happy world: but he was smart and witty.
In the tale Lazarus had to serve a number of masters who had to cheat in order to survive, so we spent a lot of hunger and hardship.
This novel was written for adults, however, there are many things in it that may appeal to children, because a child is the protagonist. But there is a lot of adaptions to children.
A history that has survived many years being one of the most widely read books of all time. A book I like and entertains, it also shows how people lived at that time, making young readers appreciate what they have.
It is therefore a highly recommended book for ages 9 to 12.
The tale has seven chapters:
Chapter 1.-Lazarus and the blind. The central idea is the evolution of Lazarus, who goes from being an innocent child, without knowledge of life, to become the paradigm of "rogue" young boy must fend for himself in life to eat each day. A constant reference will be the "hunger".
Lazarus devotes all its efforts to deceive the blind, a man very clever, to get some food or wine each day. At the end of the treaty, Lazarus , after he tricked his master and leaving him alone.
Chapter 2.-Lazaro and Maqueda cleric. The clerics is petty and miserable, that refuses to adequately feed his servant, and he is keeping few foods that are in his house in a locked chest. Lazarus, once again gripped by hunger , he decided to be more clever if he wants to gain a piece of bread to put in their mouth. Finally, the cleric aware of the deception and theft decided prescind from his services.
Chapter 3.-Lazarus and a squire. The squire is a low level noble who is living in the poverty but that still tries to maintain a false image of tranquility, respectability and wealth. Lazarus does not understand the pretensions of him master, but feels sorry for him and feed him many times. Due to bets, the squire flees from the city. So, this time the master leaves Lazarus.
Chapter 4.-Lazarus and a friar of the Merced. Lazarus talks about his new love, a friar of the Merced no friend of the duties of a priest and spent the day attending to and fro "certain businesses" whose nature is never clarified. In addition, the treaty concludes: "For these and other things that do not count, I left my master." This ending leaves all possibilities open: what are those "little things" by Lazarus decided to leave the friar?
Chapter 5. - Lazarus and a pardoner. The pardoner was a priest who used to walk the parishes selling bulls, papal indulgences that allowed those who had not bought that meet certain religious precepts (like fasting, abstaining from meat during Lent, etc..). Lazarus describes the dirty tricks used by the priest without any real religious feeling just for getting good profits.
Chapter 6. - Lazarus with a chaplain. Again, the master of Lazarus is a religious. In this case, the chaplain allows Lazarus to work as a water carrier for the city. Once the boy has managed benefits and may have changed his clothes, Lazarus decides to leave the job in order to find a new master.
Chapter 7. - Lazarus account the reason for your letter. After working with a sheriff (police) job that seemed too dangerous, Lazarus is at the service of an archpriest, who suggests that marries one of his servants. At last, Lazarus gets married with a servant. But there is some gossip about her.
Lazarus, who knows the rumors, prefer not "hear" them. He has achieved "happiness" and some popularity in the city, yes, in exchange for giving up their honor and to allow his wife's infidelities.
Here, you can find the whole novel http://www.elhuevodechocolate.com/cuentos/cuentos6.htm. There is also a english version : http://www.lazarillodetormes.com/ingles.htm