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Dave Pelzer's 'A Child Called It' is one of the best known books which was written by a victim of abuse. His books describe his life being abused by his mother, to being put into care and making something of his life.
A Brother's Journey is the story of his younger brother, Richard Pelzer.
Richard's book starts from as early as he can remember, during this time Dave is still living with the family and Richard recounts hearing his mother abusing Dave. He also admits that he would make up stories of things that Dave had done, in order to have his mother abuse him and take the heat of himself.
Once Dave is removed from the family, Richard's role as spy is turned and he is now the one who is subjected to the abuse. His brother's are turned into spies and it seems that Richard is now living the life that Dave lived before. This soon makes him realise how his brother must have felt knowing that his own flesh and blood would treat him in such a way.
Richard is no longer allowed to socialise with 'the boys' and is no longer treated as a part of the family. His mother loves her 'boys' and doesn't want him to taint them. He is never given new clothes and is only allowed to wash when she says so.
Despite the terrible abuse that Richard suffers at the hands of his mother, he passes up every chance that he has to confess what is happening and stays faithful to her, in the hope that she will love him.
If you have already read Dave Pelzer's book, I would definately recommend this. The start of this book shows a different side to Dave's story and, in a way, explains some of the actions that Dave explains.
Also, I was quite shocked when reading this as to how much Richard admits of his past. The fact that he can openly admit how he treated his brother and that he felt like his mother's little spy is quite disturbing. However, it is obvious that he regrets these actions from the moment they take place and was only doing it to gain acceptance from his mother.
I find books like this very inspiring. But I found A Brother's Journey to be the most inspiring so far, as it is so honest and doesn't seem like Richard is playing the victim.
David Pelzers book "A Child Called It" chronicles the abuse he suffered at the hands of his mother until he is taken into care. It has become an international bestseller and while some see him as a hero of our modern age others see him as a scam artist especially after an expose in the New York Times which casts doubt on the truth of his story.
When David was taken away his four brothers were left behind. Now that Mama Pelzer no longer has "It" to abuse she turns her wrath on Richard and he tells his own sorry story in this book.
I think its safe to say that Mrs Pelzer wont win any mother of the year awards. The catalogue of abuse she is alleged to have commited includes stabbing, trying to poison her sons with household chemicals, starving, making them eat dog food and ostracising them. Richard describes how he is cast out from the family as his brother was beforehand, not allowed to socialise with "the boys" and is humiliated by being forced to wear dirty rags.
Like his older brother, his abuse is ignored by those that could help, his mother managing to appear respectable and like a good mother to those who matter. His divorced father is a broken man who just hands over money each month and while the school notice things are not right for Richard they dont step in and help. He is not even allowed to see his father when he is dying.
Richard is a boy whose spirit has been broken by constant emotional abuse and his periodic attempts to stand up to his mother always backfire. Is there any hope for this boy or will he remain trapped by his evil mothers spell forever?
This is not my usual choice of book but I picked it up when I was staying over at someone elses house and couldnt sleep. It was easy to read and I finished it in a couple of hours but really thats the only thing that its got going for it.
Some people may applaud Richard for speaking out about the abuse he suffered but to me it just seemed like a way of cashing in on his brothers fame, many of the lurid details from Davids books are simply repeated and rehashed over and over again. However Richard states that writing the book was theraputic for him and will help him talk to his kids about his past so it seems wrong to criticise him.
It is a better book in some respects than A Child Called It. It is interesting to see the dynamics of the home now that David has left and he does a better job of describing his thoughts and emotions as he is abused than David did and show the horrific effects that emotional abuse can have on a childs mind.
Overall it's an ok book, not really one I would recomend you read unless you want to know more about the Pelzer family. Child abuse memoirs are ten a penny these days and apart from the link to his brother this one is nothing special.
A Brothers Journey by Richard Pelzer is available from Amazon for £5.44.
Richard Pelzer, younger brother of David Pelzer (famous for his harrowing "A Child Called It" trilogy), appears to jump on his brother's bandwagon with this equally harrowing tale of his mother's abuse of him and his brother. Starting with a four year old Richard, he is forced to join in his mother's cruel gauntlet of abuse against his older brother, who is on the verge of starvation and barely alive sleeping in the basement on an old army cot. As David finally escapes thanks to the intervention of the authorities, the rest of the children are left with the alcoholic controlling mother who picks out one child for abuse and showers the rest with love and refers to them as "my boys". With David gone, Richard is forced to take his place at the brutal hands of his mother, and is fed scraps on occassions as well as forced to indulge in her games of torment. At her worst, she lands the child in hospital after brutally beating him so bad that he is vomitting himself into unconsciousness. She also burns his arms with the gridle from the stove. Thats only two of her unneccessary acts. She does attempt to hide the abuse of Richard far more than she did with David, but he has to build his wits and wiles to stand up to her.
What emerges from this story, far more than A Child Called It, is an angry resentful boy who actually contemplates murdering his mother after years of desperate abuse. David Pelzer was one of the lucky sons, he was taken at the age of 11 and placed in protective custody. There is no escape in this story for Richard Pelzer. The neighbours, the school, even his friends know what is going on. He feels abandoned by the people who are supposed to protect him, including his older brothers, one of him goes to the army, the other indulging his mother's abuse in the same way that he once did towards David. Torn between guilt for his treatment of David, his feeling of abandoment by all the adults who should have known better, his bitterness and resent towards his cruel and unrelenting mother, and feelings of jealousy of his better treated brothers, Richard has to find a way to surive among the madness. Towards the end of the book, the family (which she states does not include Richard) are starting the move to Utah, and Richard is told that he may not be welcome. The book is left open ended for an obvious sequel which I haven't read yet.
This is one of the most disturbing books I have read. I thought nothing could top the brutality of A Child Called It. That book actually left me feeling doubtful about the authenticity of its contents, but this book confirms all of what was written and more. This book probably isn't for the squemish. Nobody likes child abuse, but if it actually leaves you a bit upset, you should probably avoid this at all costs. That said, its far better written than any of David's books, better articulated, and you get a sense of the horror's that took place in that Californian house 30 years ago. I dont look forward to the next book, but I know I wont be able to put it down. Its the morbid curiousity in me.
"The story of dAVE Pelzer is a legend of our times: the shattering tale of the child called 'it'. When Dave was 12 the police removed him from the household, but the cycle of abuse continued. With Dave's departure Richard, at the age of 9, became the target of his mother's artillery of insanity: the victim of savage beatings leading to hospitalisation; the boy denied clean clothes; the one who 'deserved' whole bottle of hot Tabasco sauce poured down his throat.
Ultimately, the only way to survive was to escape. As well as evoking the torturous environment in which he lived, Richard B. Pelzer recounts how he managed to leave it, and how he arrived at his ultimate destination..." etc
"A Brother's Journey" by Richard B. Pelzer tells of the true story of the childhood of the author where he was abused by his mother. I seem to be reading books like this all the time as I am currently reading "Childhood Interrupted" by Kathleen O' Malley and I still want to read the bestseller book that is everywhere on the shelves "Ugly." (I don't know the name of the author..)
If you have read the one by his older brother "A Child called It" by Dave Pelzer and the sequels "The Lost Boy" and "A Man named Dave" you would probably also want to read this one if you were gripped by those stories which are horrific and true.
A Brother's Journey basically tells of Richard who was the next target for his mother's abuse and what happened. What takes place is horrific, but nowhere near as torturous as what his older brother endured which is why A Child Called It was so successful.
The introduction is engaging, painting a picture of a normal living room scene and his wife discovering him sleeping... with his eyes open. Of course, she is horrified and thinks he is dead. And this is just one of his secrets which relate to his childhood abuse, sleeping with his eyes open meant being on guard 'just in case'. Of course, he had kept the secret from his wife and now was the time to tell her. And then follows the story of his childhood.
The reader watches important changes in the boy's life, Dave leaving, the first time his mother became really abusive towards him, how the neighbors know what is going on but just don't say a thing and pretend and of course, the death of his father.
I must have read A Child called It when I was about 15 years old and it was so so sad and everything that happens in it is so shocking, as the reader you just want justice to be done. But the way it was written was like you weren't just the third person in the book, but kind of like the boy's conscious himself.
A Brother's Journey on the other hand was good, I would recommend it especially as it's a true story and it is very sad. However, one cannot help feeling that the story in itself is nowhere as good as A Child Called It and is lacking in something that I cannot quite put my finger on. There are areas of the book which are repetitive, where the author speaks and just goes on and on...
I found myself forcing to keep my eyes on the page and read.
Whereas A Child Called It left you feeling haunted and distraught at what you had just read, yet a sense of fierce empathy on Dave's part, A Brother's Journey on the other hand, leaves you feeling somewhat frustrated and disappointed. It had a great start and then it just faltered most of the way through, trying to stretch out to it 290 pages.
I think it is good, perhaps worth a read but in my opinion you must read A Child called It first and if you like me, you've read A LOT of these childhood trauma books, you may see why this book just doesn't match up.
Cover:>>> White background showing a figure of the back of a young boy on the beach with arms outstretched. Similar in style to A Child Called It, the Lost Boy etc.
Price:>>> This book retails at £6.99 and can be found in all major bookstores.
The story of Dave Pelzer is a legend of our times: the shattering tale of the child called 'It' who was forced to live in the basement. His mother was the perpetrator of the horror, but she had a willing accomplice. It was Dave's brother Richard - the author of this book. When Dave was twelve the police removed him from the household, but the cycle of abuse continued. Mrs Pelzer had a new target for her crazed, alcoholic wrath. The hunter became the hunted -- at the age of nine. This is his story. Recounting the warped dynamics of a family riven by abuse, he reveals his guilt at being the abuser, his scarring at being abused, the complete lack of questioning within the family about what was happening -- and even the twisted respect the boys had for their mother. Richard became the target of his mother's artillery of insanity, the victim of savage beatings leading to hospitalization, the boy denied clean clothes, the one who 'deserved' whole bottles of hot Tabasco sauce poured down his throat.