Dave Pelzer's recent book, "A Man Named Dave", is the final book in a three- part series. It follows his first two books, "A Child Called It" and "The Lost Boy", and it focuses on Dave's inner struggles as he tries to find himself, while still being haunted by his abusive childhood.
This book begins when Dave Pelzer is 18 years old and has achieved one of his childhood dreams: flying airplanes in the U.S. Air Force. Things start out a little slow for Dave (he starts out as an Air Force cook) but he finally does reach his goal of flying fighter planes.
Back on the homefront, Dave gets married to a woman and has a son. Patsy, his new wife, was also an abused child (although not nearly as much as Dave was!) and has her own set of problems to work out. This choice of mates is typical of people who were abused and it can lead to even more problems, if the two aren't careful.
This book isn't as intense as Pelzer's first book, "A Child Called 'It'", but it does have its moments. After reading the first two books, I was anxious to read this one, to see what happens with Pelzer's mother and father and to see if any insight can be shed on why the mother was so abusive. Pelzer does discover a few things about his mother. From talking with his grandmother, it becomes evident to him that she abused his mom, who then abused Dave. The chain remained unbroken, like it commonly does with child abuse. And the reason that Dave was the target of the abuse, as opposed to his other brothers, is because Dave was the weakest and the least likely to fight back. This is a common pattern among people who abuse children. Dave also discovers that his teachers knew all along that something was wrong, very wrong, with Dave's home situation. But, in those days, there was little that could be done about child abuse. A child was basically a piece of property. Authorities could take a child away from abusive parents, but couldn't prosecute the parents for the harm they had caused. How times have changed!
Pelzer does finally get a chance to see his dad, for one last time. He finds him in a hospital and discovers that his dad has terminal cancer. There's nothing that Dave can do to save him. His father cannot even speak. Pelzer then goes to his mother's house, to explain what is happening. But his mother is just as evil as ever; showing virtually no concern at all for her former husband. She refuses to even go see him at the hospital. And then, at his funeral, she really shows her cold, inconsiderate, evil nature by having him cremated against his will! And on top of that, she even leaves Dave's name off the list of survivors! So, when the priest reads off the names, only the other brothers get any mention at all!
David has one final encounter with his mother a short time later. She is in poor health and seems to want Dave to forgive her for the years of abuse. Dave has his chance, but he just can't do it! There's just too much pain and hatred to let go of at this point. His mother dies in her sleep a short time later. Dave and his brothers go through his mom's house where Dave spots his mother's wedding picture from many decades ago. Finally, he decides to unload his feelings and he forgives her. Dave realizes that if he doesn't let go of these negative feelings, they will keep eating at him and may cause him to become the same abusive person. He knows he has to forgive, and he does.
Pelzer's private struggle with his inner- self comes to a close when he meets the woman of his dreams, Marsha. Throughout his life, Pelzer is plagued by feelings of doubt, self- pity, and guilt. Now, with Marsha by his side, all the negative feelings are finally gone, once and for all.
Pelzer's struggle to triumph over his past has succeeded at last. With the help of his loving wife, Marsha, and by having the courage to finally forgive his abusive mother, Dave Pelzer is now a happy man. He was named as one of the 10 Outstanding Young Persons of the World, by the International Junior Chamber of Commerce and he was one of the torch- bearers in the 1996 Olympics. Through courage, determination, and his new wife, Pelzer has finally found the peace and happiness that he sought for so many, many years.
Be Sure to Click the Links Below to Read More Reviews of Other Books in This Series:
A Child Called It
The Lost Boy
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