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Monday, January 9, 2012

A Child Called It by Dave Pelzer

This book chronicles the unforgettable account of one of the most severe child abuse cases in California history. It is the story of Dave Pelzer, who was brutally beaten and starved by his emotionally unstable, alcoholic mother: a mother who played tortuous, unpredictable games--games that left him nearly dead. He had to learn how to play his mother's games in order to survive because she no longer considered him a son, but a slave; and no longer a boy, but an "it."
Dave's bed was an old army cot in the basement, and his clothes were torn and raunchy. When his mother allowed him the luxury of food, it was nothing more than spoiled scraps that even the dogs refused to eat. The outside world knew nothing of his living nightmare. He had nothing or no one to turn to, but his dreams kept him alive--dreams of someone taking care of him, loving him and calling him their son.

Summary taken from

Okay this book is definetly not for the faint of heart.
Seriously, if you're easily disturbed please do not read this book.

After seeing several Goodreads friends talking about this in a group I thought that I should give it a try mostly because I needed something short to read and I wanted to get my hands on something that was a little more serious.

The book is written in such a manner as to make it sound like a 12 year old boy's voice about the terrible abuse that he suffered at the hands of his mother. I think that Dave Pelzer, the author and the victim of the atrocities did a good job writing it that way. So despite the subject matter I thought that he succeeded in this way.

Unfortunately I didn't "feel" for Dave as much as I thought I would because though the book was written to seem like its from the POV of a 12 year old I personally didn't find that there was any real emotion in his words. Now don't get me wrong  this book was well written but those are the reason I gave this bok such a low rating.

While I was reading this book all I wanted to do was go after his mother. She was a sick, and brutal *beep*  and I wish I could get my hands on her. Also what the hell was up with the rest of the people in his life? His brothers and his father LET the abuse keep happening and I blame them for letting the abuse go on for so long.

I know that back in the day when things like this were happening it was something that often did not get addressed but how could all the adults in Dave's life turn away from him in his time and need and ostrasize him. It sickened me beyond all measure.

I'm glad I read this book and I recommend it to others because it's something that should be read. This book has a message that if something seems off than it's not a bad idea to try to see if anything is happening especially when it comes to children. I think I will be continuing with the other books Dave wrote based on his ordeals but I suspect that I won't be reading them any time soon.

This book may make you cry, but I think it's supposed to get you angry.
Angry enough that you want to grab the closest child near you and hold them close to make them feel the safety that many of us took for granted as children.

★ ★ ★


  1. I read this book several years ago and I still remember how angry it made me feel too. I think perhaps his writing style is a hang-over from his childhood, and the way that abused children suppress their emotions for the rest of their adult lives.

    He has also written further books which do round off his story a little more, and are also quite inspirational.

  2. I might check them out. But there's just something about his book that seemed off to me.


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