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A Child Called It by Dave Pelzer

A Child Called "It"

by Dave Pelzer

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Dave Pelzer (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5,473219793 (3.91)46
(17) abuse (177) abused children (22) adult (12) alcoholism (26) autobiography (184) biography (176) child abuse (278) childhood (17) children (15) children of alcoholics (21) courage (18) Dave Pelzer (19) family (33) family violence (33) fiction (23) foster care (39) inspirational (24) memoir (216) neglect (26) non-fiction (352) own (19) psychology (85) read (78) sad (34) self-help (15) survival (68) to-read (56) true story (22) violence (17)
  1. 20
    One Child by Torey L. Hayden (Moniica)
  2. 21
    Running With Scissors by Augusten Burroughs (PortiaLong)
    PortiaLong: Disturbing memoirs - I disliked them both for the same reasons (so someone else may LIKE them for those same reasons).
  3. 12
    The Little Prisoner by Jane Elliott (mariah2, Kerian)

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» See also 46 mentions

English (213)  German (3)  Swedish (2)  Lithuanian (1)  All languages (219)
Showing 1-5 of 213 (next | show all)
It's disgusting that it is not a work of fiction ( )
  aliterarylion | Jul 14, 2014 |
This is a good heart-wrenching book that really makes you feel sorrow for the child. 4Q4P The cover art is awesome and I'd recommend this for middle school and high school students. I chose to read this book because people were saying it was really good. BrittanyC
  edspicer | Jul 5, 2014 |
This book is extremely vivid and really captures your heart, there really isn't much else to say. 4Q4P The cover art is okay and I'd recommend this book for high school students and adults. I chose to read this book because my sister recommended it to me. TaddK
  edspicer | Jun 30, 2014 |
This is a heartbreaking novel that really informs you of how reality can be. 5Q3P The cover is awesome and I'd recommend this book for middle school and high school students, as well as adults. I chose to read this book because I had heard it was a good read and wanted to find out for myself. BreB
  edspicer | Jun 16, 2014 |
A Child Called ‘It’ is the story of child abuse survivor, Dave Pelzer. It is a grim and horrific read that makes you sick to visualize what’s occurring. It is not without hope, as we find in the opening chapter how Dave escapes the torment he has suffered for eight years. But it seems to be without credibility.

As has been stated in reviews before mine, this book is not particularly well written. If it was fiction, you would discount it straight away. But the thing is, we’re told it’s not fiction. It is, supposedly, an autobiographical memoir of Dave’s life between the ages of four and twelve. It was at the age of four that Dave’s perfect life started to crumble. Almost overnight his mother, a loving and caring woman who loved her family, became an evil monster to only one of her sons, Dave. His other brothers (in total by the end of the book there were four) did not suffer the same treatment as Dave, which included not being fed, being hit and punched, being excluded from all family activities, being gassed, being forced to lie in a freezing cold bath for hours, and even being stabbed by his mother, who often threatened to kill him. How did this occur? How can a mother love her four other sons – and not this one? This woman treated her dogs better than she treated Dave and we have no reason as to why. Also, why was Dave the only child taken away from her? Why did this torment go on so long without anyone noticing? And what kind of father leaves and doesn’t take the abused son with him?

I’m not sure if the book was to show the failings of people but even though child abuse was not something discussed in the 1970s, surely this case, apparently the third worst in California, would have 1) gone through the courts and 2) prompted the intervention of SOMEBODY before the abuse had continued for EIGHT YEARS. This guy should have been dead, if even half of what he says occurs is true. It is hard for me to believe that anyone could have suffered this kind of abuse for so long. Also, how many people do you know who can perfectly recall their childhood years, particularly around the ages of four? I understand abuse is traumatizing and may very well indeed be haunting and live in the memory that way, but some things are described in detail, almost too much, and other things glossed over. I guess it’s hard for me to say, as I am not a victim of abuse, but I’m 20 and I can’t remember much from that age.

It seems hard to authenticate the story and easy to wonder if the next six books he wrote (two as part of his ‘My Story’ trilogy) are not just him exploiting a terrible situation. It is of course very possible the abuse occurred but the extent of which makes me wonder, as does the reliability of the witnesses. There is a note in the back from one of the teachers who taught Dave at the age at which he suffered the abuse. It is very brief and doesn’t really go into any circumstances, it just kind of says ‘yeah I was his teacher and I say it happened’. He also says he thought something was wrong – but he did nothing! Teachers have a duty of care to the children in their classroom but it seems as if everyone just ignored Dave. Were teachers that bad back then?

I am very reluctant now to read the remaining books in the trilogy, despite the fact that they are in the pile of tbr books at home. I know I’ve said that this year my goal is to finish off series and trilogies… but this has put a bad taste in my mouth and I might need to leave it for a while. The only possibility I hope for is that maybe the next two books shed some light on why things happened.
( )
  crashmyparty | May 28, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 213 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (12 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Dave Pelzerprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gyllenhak, UlfTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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This book is dedicated to my son Stephen, who, by the grace of God, has taught me the gift of love and joy through the eyes of a child. This book is also dedicated to the teachers and staff members of Thomas Edison Elementary School to include: Stephen E. Ziegler, Athena Konstan, Peter Hansen, Joyce Woodworth, Janice Woods, Betty Howell, and the School Nurse. To all of you, for your courage and for putting your careers on the line that fateful day, March 5, 1973. You saved my life.
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March 5, 1973, Daly City, California - I'm late.
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Book description
This is a tragic story about a boy named Dave and all of the abuse that he went through as a child.
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[This book] is [an] 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 torturous, 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." -Back cover.… (more)

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