Dave Pelzer - A Child Called "It": One Child's Courage to Survive

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The Cold, Hard Truth of Child Abuse

Jul 30, 2000
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:emotionally charged, very well-written

Cons:will make you angry at what he was forced to go through and will break your heart.

Child abuse. Cold, cruel, heartless, unbelievable. Something that no one wants to talk about, yet it happens to the most vulnerable members of our society way too often.

Don't read this book unless you are prepared to have your heart broken. Dave Pelzer has torn open the secrecy of being an abused child and revealed his experiences, something that took incredible courage for him to do. Too often the veil of secrecy and of protecting the abuser prevails, and many children do not escape the living hell they are trapped in until it is too late. This book should be mandatory reading in every parenting class that exists, because it might open the eyes of those who are at risk to harm their children.

Dave Pelzer paints a picture of his childhood that is bleak and heart-wrenching. This child was beaten, abused, harmed, stabbed, starved, and all this by the person who should have been willing to give her own life to protect him and keep him safe from harm; his own mother. As a mother myself, I can't begin to fathom how this woman could do the things she did to her helpless child.

His childhood started out like a storybook one, being in a family where he and his brother were loved and cherished by wonderful parents. Then everything changed, and he became his mother's personal whipping boy. His father, who should have stood up and stopped the abuse from happening, merely told him to be good, to make his mother happy, and to stay out of her way.

The things this woman did to her child will make your blood curdle. He mentions her alcoholism in the book, but it had to have gone far deeper than that. The woman had to have been mentally unbalanced to have hurt her small child in the way that she did.

The young Dave was the one who was blamed for everything. He was the family slave, the one who was required to do all the chores, and the one who was beaten and starved on a daily basis. He was sent to school in filthy, ragged clothes with his little body covered with bruises. It took the school years to finally realize that they could no longer condone what they saw happening before their very eyes.

Today, perhaps this kind of abuse would not have gone on so long without being stopped. Children who come to school covered with bruises are going to draw attention, and hopefully the result would be intervention that would protect the child.

If you do decide to purchase and read this book, plan on setting aside time to read it that you can be uninterrupted. It is impossible to put down once you have picked it up; it took me three hours to read it from cover to cover. Afterwards I sat there crying tears for what that poor child suffered, and then went to hug my own kids and tell them how much I love them.

I recommend this book as an eye-opener, a very clear message that we all have to be involved with each other. Our society depends on its members helping each other, and working together toward a common good. This book is a good example of what happens when that aspect of society falls apart and people become too isolated. These atrocities then start to happen.

Read the book. Feel the pain young Dave Pelzer experienced, not only physically but emotionally, knowing that his mother did not love him and was able to harm him so badly. Then go and hug your kids and be grateful that they are not growing up in this kind of environment.

This is the first book in a three part series. "A Child Called It" covers Dave Pelzer's childhood from age four to age twelve. The second book in the series is entitled "The Lost Boy", and covers Dave Pelzer's life from age 12 to age 18. The final book is entitled "A Man Named Dave", and covers from age 18 and up. I purchased all three of these books at the same time, knowing full well that I would not be able to stop at the end of the first one. I had to know what happened to him as he grew up, and where he is at today.

"A Child Called It" will break your heart. It will make you angry, and it will make you want to go and rescue that poor child, love him, care for him, and keep him safe. It is also a picture of the human spirit, the drive to survive, the courage and determination to rise above it all. Dave Pelzer truly found himself fighting for his very life, and he triumphed over it all. This is not a book you will ever forget.


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