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A Child Called It - Dave Pelzer

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      25.08.2013 20:19
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      A glorified list of abuse

      I read this book a while back and found it very difficult to read. I believe this was one of the frst books of it's kind to hit the market and was a shocking concept at the time. Since then over the last few years in particular there have been tones of similar books on the market all telling tale of abuse and misery. There are even special sections in the book departments of ASDA and TESCO dedicated to this sort of thing.
      For me personally I can not think of anything worse when choosing a book than to read about abuse and suffering. When I read I want to be taken to a world of fantasy fiction and preferably a happy place, but someone recommended it to me and not knowing any better I read it. This was the first and will most likely be the last book of this type I will ever read.

      The book tells the story of a young boy who suffers disgusting abuse at the hands of his mother and is definitely upsetting to read and shocking (maybe not if you read these books all the time) so if that's all you are after in book then you might enjoy it.

      There are a few problems with the book though, firstly it is not written particularly well but as the author was not a professional written I guess that can be forgiven, this is essentially his memoirs. It is basically written in the style of a list of horrific occurrences with no real incite into anything deeper. There is no reflection as to how these events have affected the author or how he overcome them and found the strength to write a novel about them.

      There are also quite a few plot holes which are very important, such as his mother was once a loving caring mother and there is no explanation as to why she just suddenly lost her mind and started abusing him ?

      There has since been quite a lot of controversy surrounding this book with family members claiming that the book is entirely fictional this is hard to know for certain but it would explain some of the plot holes, I am undecided about that mainly because I don't want to believe that someone could make up such abuse and claim it to be true , if this is the case the world is more disturbed place than I thought.
      I will leave you to make your mind up about the authenticity of the book but overall it was interesting and unique at its time, but not something I would ever read again.

      This review is also on my ciao account under shellyjaneo

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        18.02.2013 21:47
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        Well written story about a boy who faces abuse.

        A child called "it" is an autobiography published in September 1995. This autobiography is written by David Pelzer and he relives the abuse he suffered as a child by the hands of his own mother.

        This book starts with little Dave who is only a tiny child going into the nurses office at school, the nurse knows about the abuse and decides to report it. Dave is taken away by police offers and is put into foster care where he feels safe.
        The further you get through the book the more vile it is. Daves mother was not always a monster, she used to be a big part of the community, he remembers cuddles and bedtime stories with her. Then out of the blue, she starts treating him like an outcast.
        The first incidence starts with Dave not being allowed to sit at the dining table With his mam dad and brothers he is not even allowed to eat, he is only allowed to eat the scraps of leftover food. This abuse gets worse as time goes by, his mother subjects him to horrible, vile things. She beats him and makes him sleep in the freezing cold basement on an old army cot. When he starts not caring anymore, whether he lives or dies his mother amps up the abuse to nauseating levels. She wouldn't feed him so poor Dave has to go to school and pinch food from other child's lunch boxes, making him an outcast.
        The abuse gets worse and worrse, his mother beats him and starves him, she is truly a vile woman. Dave looks up to his dad, he is his hero. In the end the abuse gets too much for his father and his father ups and leaves. So Dave is in this on his own.

        Summary: This book is very easy to read and to understand. It's a very easy book to get into, but as you get further into the book it gets much harder to read, not because of the way it is written but because of the abuse. This is one of them books that is told in a way that you can imagine every little detail of what the boy goes through. If I gained anything from this book it would be that I realised that little problems in life may seem like mountains but you can always get through them. I believe this book gives hope to a lot of people going through terrible things in their life and gives them the courage to overcome it .
        Yes I would totally recommend this book. It is well and truly amazing .

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          17.01.2013 18:24
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          Well written, Harsh realitiy to life of a poor lost soul

          I came by this book through a friend, she loaned it too me saying you really must read this it is so good.
          So as I sat at home recovering from a broken arm I did.
          This is my thoughts about a young boy living with a deranged mother, who has systematically found different ways each day everyday to abuse poor young David, with a Fireman father who seemed to be too scared or spineless to help for saving his own skin. What kind of parents were these?
          Hideous tales told of a young boy scraping by trying to find food out of bins, stealing from school chums, to save himself from starvation. A mother beating him, poisoning him, cruelly locking him up in a bathroom full of caustic substances burning his throat and eyes and freezing him in cold baths. Not giving him clothes that fit or were clean, food for his stomach. Making him do chores till he was too tired to move and too frightened not too.
          Kept him in a dark dingy damp garage sitting on his hands until he could no longer do it only to find himself cold and dirty from messing himself because he had no way of getting to the loo without being seen and
          fighting a bad stomach and starvation.
          It was harrowing and hideous reading, but once I started it I just had to find out what happened to him. God seemingly deserted him and no one took any notice of him except to scold him. Until one day one person did and he finds himself in foster care.
          I felt relieved for a short while.
          This book is so thought provoking it just makes me wonder how many more children out there suffer like poor David.
          If you can give it a try do. It is heartbreaking tale which I believe to be a true story of a young boy grown into adult hood who finally is able to lay his ghosts to rest. If you can read this there are follow on books by the same author ( A lost boy - A man named Dave - and The privileged youth)
          Give them a try.

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            18.11.2011 23:43

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            the best book ever

            This perhaps is one of my favorite books of all time. For only 4 pound from most supermarkets it's amazing value for money. It had me crying from page 1 till the end. A truly heart wrenching story. It's one of those books you'll never forget. The story will stay in your mind till your old and grey.
            It's the first book in the two part series of the true story of Dave Pelzer who had one of the worst cases of child abuse in California history. This book focuses on his life as a child whilst he was being abused.
            The book recounts the horrific child abuse he suffered as a little boy from his ever mood changing mother. Starting of as a normal family Dave Pelzer's mother was loving and caring. Until one day she suddenly turned into a horrific, heartless and well psychopath. Focusing on only Dave his mother doesn't just beat him, she forces him to eat his own vomit, swallow soap, ammonia and Clorox. This all happened from the age of 4 till the age of 12 where Dave Pelzer is finally free and is moved to foster care where he is free from his mother.
            Although the story line itself is so horrific it really is a great book. It really makes you think about what's important and what's not. Calling this book a 'page turner' does not give it enough justice. You've not experienced a good book until you read this.

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            15.05.2011 21:06
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            Highly recommended

            'A Child Called It' was the first 'white cover' book I ever read. You know what I mean - tales of child abuse, infant trauma, and tragedy, in a white covered book, usually sold in supermarkets. It'd be easy to consider the book as one of these £4, supermarket shelf tales of woe, but trust me, it is THE definitive story of a life turned around, as the author, Dave Pelzer, attained huge success with this book and went on not only to document the rest of his formative years over another two books, but also to move into the lucrative world of self-help.

            A Child Called It documents Dave Pelzer's childhood in the 1960s in San Francisco. Dave was the victim of an abusive mother; the only child in his family to be singled out and treated so, and indeed, he was rarely referred to by his Christian name. Over the years, Dave was seriously starved, made to drink corrosive cleaning substances, worked as a slave for his mother, made to sleep in the basement garage, and, most shockingly, stabbed in the stomach (with no subsequent medical treatment). Dave's fireman father seems to have been too frightened to admit to the level of abuse Dave recieved, and certainly was oblivious to most of it as he himself drifted further from (and eventually left) his wife. Without spoiling the story; it was many years before anyone outside of the family learned of his life, and how he suffered, and took any action.

            The book is in parts heartwarming, and in parts tearjerking, with plenty of shocks thrown in. He remains one of the most severe cases of child abuse I have ever read about, and his courage and determination even as a small child, all alone in dealing with his circumstances, is astounding, and it drives you to read on, hoping that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Again, I don't want to spoil the book or it's follow up for you, so all I will say is that the road is very bumpy, and Dave has to work very very hard and be very brave to achieve even the smallest of gains. But boy does your heart go out to him as he describes with perfect tone and skill how he developed coping mechanisms, survival strategies, and even felt small victories in the daily battle with his opressive mother.

            It's all too easy to read the book and think 'ahh, that was the 1960s. It could never happen now' but as we all know from reading the news that is far from the truth, and the fact this happened over forty years ago does not detract from how fresh it feels, how raw. It could be, it can, and it does happen every day, sadly, and this makes the book even more poignant. It highlights that behind closed doors, anything can happen, and we have to be aware that appearances are not always what they seem.

            Overall, this is a great book - obviously, not initially a feel good story, but with the tears comes hope, and overall, it's a book of strong will and good vs evil. Rather than class it with the cheaper white covers, see this as the original and the best. A stong five out of five from me, this book will open your eyes, have you dabbing at them with a hankerchief and smiling with joy.

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              03.02.2011 18:56

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              shocking encounter

              I have to admit that i am a sucker for a biography. Reading about others lives, harrowing or not, i find fascinating. The above book is no exception. Dave Pelzer, who these books are based around, is an ex RAF man who has written 3 books about his life. I have read all 3 of this trilogy, 'A child called it', 'The lost boy', and 'A man named Dave'.

              A child called it is based around his childhood from around 3 years old to 8 years old. The second book, the lost boy, centres around his teenage years, and the third and final book is based around his life as an adult.

              A child called it, i find is the most harrowing of the 3 and centres on the beginning of Dave Pelzers life up to the age of 8. This book is a very detailed encounter of this mans shocking upbringing. American, there are some words, partcularly brands that are named that i was not sure what they were to be honest.

              This young boy was verbally and physically abused, and i found some of the encounters written about jaw dropping to be fair. Living with his sibling and parent, Dave was neither valued or respected by either, but i do not want to tell you too much about the storyline as you wont want/need to read the novel!

              This is one of those books that is hard to put down once started, and is not for the faint hearted as there are quite grahic references of abuse in the emotional, verbal and physical sense.

              As mentioned, I dont want to talk about the story as it will spoil the experience for the reader, but this is not a quick 5 minute relax sort of book. I managed to read the book within around a week, and i do not read a lot of books and so am not the worlds quickest reader. I have also read it more than once and find that everytime i read it, there are new revelations that i didnt notice on previous reads.

              The other 2 in the trilogy are a must too, as you will want to find out what happens to this inspirational man, but ladies, you may need your tissues at the ready!!

              5/5 for me ! :)

              Thankyou for reading!

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              08.08.2010 12:48
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              gripping

              Harrowing through and through, Dave Pelzer's first entry into his life stories is the upsetting and captivating 'A Child Called It.' This is the kind of book that should come with a warning sign on it. Not explicit in the traditional sense, but so grim in what it describes, by the end of this you will like you have been though the mill and back a a few times.

              The book recounts Dave's childhood days, spent being beaten, chained up and generally abused beyond all reasonable doubt by his mother. When I first read this, I was haunted by the ghastly imagery the words were conjuring up. The mother is portrayed as a true villain here and what makes it all the more disturbing is that the book is based on his memoirs as a child. I found it upsetting, challenging yet compelling reading. I finished this book within a day when I read it, because it is written so brilliantly. Every page is a turner and you want to keep finding out what horrid things mother has in store for her son next. This might make you question how sick you are as a reader, but this is one difficult book to put down. The punishment and abuse scenarios are all described in exhaustive detail, which was simultaneously great and upsetting.

              I guess what I liked was the idea that Dave could seize revenge at any moment. All these bleak situations that keep being thrown at the reader, you start thinking 'okay he's going to get his revenge any minute now.' But it doesn't come...you keep being pushed and pushed and just when you think Dave might be alright, he delivers another blow.

              Quite a short book, gripping from the word go and written with honesty at all times, this is not one for the kids bedtime, but it will make you realise your own life probably isn't all that bad.

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                19.04.2010 12:54

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                I had never read a book befor, and I have been though some harsh times in my life. But one day my foster mum insisted on me reading this book. I started it yesturday and have not been able to put it down. I had even takin it to work with me. This is shoking what David had been though the whole way I just wanted to hug him and make eveything better for him. I have to reed his other books now. I cant bolive his mother could be so crewl to suck a sweet child :( If I ever saw anyone in that situation I would have to take them and make them all better or at least do eveything I could to help. Poor little man :(

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                23.03.2010 18:06
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                Repeats itself and lacks detail but still a good read

                This is the sad and harrowing true tale of the horrific abuse a young boy suffers at the hands of his mother. However, whilst he has my deepest sympathy and respect for what happened in his childhood, I found his style of writing in this book a little poor. At times he seems to repeat himself which I found quite frustrating and there also appeared to be a lot of detail missing. We never really got to know any of the characters very well, except Dave himself, and there wasn't a lot of description about anything other than the abuse. In fact it was pretty much a long spiel of abusive behaviour after abusive behaviour with nothing else in between. This is possibly to show how frequent the horrific incidents were but after a while I started to hope the next chapter might bring something fresh or a bit more detail about his parents or his brothers.

                Having said all that, this book still kept me engrossed until the end, and I am keen to read the next book in the trilogy "The Lost Boy" to find out what happens next.

                * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

                I have just discovered that his brother, Richard, has also now written a book, since his mother transferred all her hate and aggression onto him after Dave left. I can't believe no action was taken against the mother for what happened to Dave, and that nobody was keeping a very close eye on her and her other boys now that Dave's terrible ordeal was well documented. However, I haven't read the book yet so can't really comment. It just seems rather odd.

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                  19.03.2010 00:51
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                  A true story of an abused child.

                  I read this book many years ago after a friend recommended I should read it, as she knew I would like this book. I borrowed it from her and I was instantly hooked, I can see why this book was read by so many people.

                  The basis of the book is that Dave Pelzer (the Author) is writing about the terrible childhood he had growing up with his terribly abusive mother. Even though Dave had other siblings, he was the one who was abused and apparently hated by the mother he loved so much, whilst his father did nothing to stop her from abusing their child.
                  The abuse was never of a sexual type, but came in the form of beatings, cruelty and neglect.

                  Dave was made to clean the house with very harmful chemicals which could have easily caused his problems, especially when certains onces were mixed letting off an awful toxic gas. He was only fed when his mother allowed him to be, never had decent clothes, and was beaten for any little thing his mother deemed to have been bad enough to warrant it. His school were concerned, but not everything is as simple as we wish it could be.

                  I was very saddened by this story, as I felt awful for what Dave had been through, and some of the things his mother put him through really do not bear thinking about. I was nearly in tears the first time I read this book, as it truly is horrible, and at times you wonder how poor Dave survived such a horrible childhood, and you also wonder why he couldn't have been rescued from such a hell.

                  This book is truly moving, and I recommend that everyone read this, unless they are going to be easily disturbed by what they read, as this book is not a happy tale of a happy child, and some of the things you read are very upsetting, especially when you think that this in not a story of fiction, yet a very horrible reality that many children have been through, and some still go through today.

                  Dave his written this book in a great style, easy to read without being boring, and not overbearing, yet you just won't be able to put this book down once you have started reading it.

                  This book does have sequels which are also worth reading, and you can buy these books on Amazon for very good prices, you can even buy all 3 of Daves Books in a set on Amazon.co.uk. I really do think this book should be read by all, it really is a moving story of life.

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                    28.02.2010 10:23
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                    A true story of a childs fight for survival highly recommended

                    This book influenced my decision to be a social worker, I first read it when I was 15, I was classed as a problem child by teachers at school and was sent to a naughty class for English, which was the only lesson I ever went to, in that lesson we could pretty much do whatever we wanted and I read this book.

                    I was truly mortified by this horrendous story of child abuse, I couldn't understand how a beautiful child could be tortured in such a way.

                    The reality of it is, is that it happens more and more frequently now and it is regularly featured on the news.

                    David Pelzer is a fantastic writer and a true inspiration to anyone, to be able to live the life he has and to be so bright and talented is amazing.

                    I hated and loved the book, I hated the way his mother treated him, I hated the way he felt and his desperation for acceptance. But I loved his strength, his optimism, and the way in which his writing could influence a child and make them find something in themselves that no one else could see.

                    This novel started my passion for reading, although I have never read another book, about this issue, by anyone other than David Pelzer all three of his books are excellently written, horrifically in-depth and inspirational.

                    If you don't already know "A child called it" is about a boy who literally fights for his survival, he is awfully neglected and abused. It is an autobiography of Pelzer's life, and his further novels explain how his courage and strength helps him to win the fight and tells us how he is today.

                    I would recommend this book to anyone, if anything it would educate you to the horrific brutality that can occur to a child. It is an extremely emotional and gut wrenching novel, I was always optimistic whilst reading it, willing him to be helped, I have never read anything that provoked such a huge flood of emotion from myself.

                    It's a book that you cant put down, as silly as it sounds, I felt that I had to know what happened to ensure he was ok. This book made me grow up fast and instead of being a stroppy teenager I started to feel truly thankful for what I had and to have such wonderful parents who loved me.

                    You can buy the book in most bookstores for about £6.99, it is currently on Amazon second hand from 1p and new from £2.11. To find out more about the books he has written and about his life visit www.davidpelzer.com.

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                      14.02.2010 23:34
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                      A fantastic read that makes you realise how serious child abuse really is.

                      I'm not normally one to read much except for magazines, it takes a lot for me to remain interested enough to read the whole book. This is one book that I hardly put down, and I'll tell you why.

                      The book is a tru story about a boy named Dave Pelzer. He lives in America with his mother, father and brothers. For some reason, his mother treats him differently to his brothers. She abuses him physically and mentally. She doesn't call him by his name, she calls him it and The boy. She says that he is bad and needs punishing to satisfy her sadistic needs. We read about different times where she burnt him, hits him and plays her sick games where no matter what she does, he isn't allowed to move or she smacks him. A concerned school teacher gets involved and Dave is placed into a foster home. He begins to realise, with the help of caring foster parents and a loving social worker that his mother was sick and he wasn't a bad child like she kept telling him. He is moved around from foster home to foster home to 'the hill' where foster kids are sent when they've done something wrong. Dave manages to get into trouble easily because he is trusting and wants badly to be accepted by others but the reality that the reader can see is that he isn't a bad kid at all. We follow him through his journey of childhood with different foster parents and through the court case against his mother after she claims that he was a very bad child and has mental problems that caused him to act in such a way that she had to punish him.

                      As a mother I did find the book hard to read. I personally can't understand why people abuse children. There is simply no excusing the behaviour of some people who think it is acceptable to abuse kids, physically or physcologically. His mother in the book was an alcoholic which may have been her excuse, but still to me there is no good reason to harm a child. All I can say is it is a very good job that he was rescued because the things that we read that she did to him, he could have been killed.

                      Reading the book, I thought it was amazing. It seemed like the beginning had been written by a child, then the middle had started to be written by a teenager and towards the end it is like a young man speaking. Just the thoughts and the things he says slowly change through the book as he ages, Dave Pelzer is an incredibly writer.

                      I couldn't put the book down, I just wanted to continue reading and find out if David would get a happy ending or not. It is incredibly hard to believe that it is a true story because some of the horrible events and the extent of which his mother went to to hurt him, even after he had been fostered she tried to cause trouble for him. On the other hand, it couldn't be a fiction book because the detail and information is just immense and the feelings throughout the book are genuine so for that reason, it is obviously real.

                      Some parts of the book really made me laugh. Like when Dave asks one of his foster mothers "What's a Prevert?" When he is called a pervert by an older foster sister. It just shows his innocence and how naive he was which is so sweet.

                      At the beginning of the book, he is thanking all the people who have helped him like his social worker, his probation officer Gordon and foster parents and he mentions his son who he says he loves dearly. I think this is really sweet of him to acknowledge these people.

                      In the book, he talks about how people didn't like Their kind, foster children. How a neighbour slammed her door in his face and wouldn't allow him to talk to her daughter because of his background. But look at him now, a successsful writer and a father himself. It just goes to show that if abused children are given a chance, they can be fantastic people.

                      I loved the book and have read it again since the first time. It was quite cheap to buy, I only paid about £4 from my local library and I'm sure you can get it on ebay or amazon online as well. There is also another book after this one called A man named Dave which follows his adult life which I have also read. I had to after reading this. It is another fantastic book that made me feel incredibly happy to read about what this incredible man has achieved and how far he has come.

                      This gives you a perspective you don't normally get and that makes it even more interesting to read. It's just hard to believe that this stuff goes on behing closed doors in the real world.

                      It's an inspirational book that I just thought was fantastic. I loved every minute of it and would definitely recommend it. It's incredibly sad but still brilliant. I don't think that his mother ever deserved to have children and if I could, I would have some thinsg to say to her! Dave Pelzer - Well done you!

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                      13.02.2010 13:15
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                      Once you start reading the book you can't put it down.

                      'A Child Called 'It'' is a truly unimaginable account of how a mothers' love is not always unconditional. It tells the true story of David Pelzer's tragic childhood from the age of four till he was saved by his schoolteachers and placed into care at the age of twelve. The book is an account of how his mother changed from a well presented, respected housewife and scout den mother, who loved all of her children equally, to an alcoholic evil woman who took her anger out on just one of her children; David. It describes a catalogue of both mental and physical abuse, beatings, starvation, neglect, torture and slavery. This is a fascinatingly sad story and is not for the feint hearted.

                      I was first introduced to David Pelzer's story by a work colleague who had a copy of 'A Child Called 'It'' on her desk which she had been reading during lunch breaks. I found myself at a loose end one lunch time and asked to borrow the book to pass the time. It's not my normal choice of reading material as I hate to hear stories of abuse but from the outset I was hooked. I actually took the book home with me and didn't put it down till I finished it later that same day. It's hard to explain why I was so captivated by his story; it wasn't that I enjoyed hearing of his suffering it was more that I couldn't believe the terrible catalogue of abuse handed to him by his mother. The more I read the more questions I had. Why did his mother's attitude towards him change so dramatically? What was the trigger? Why did she only take out her anger on David? Why didn't his father do more to protect him?
                      Since then I have bought the sequel to 'A Child Called 'It'' which is called 'The Lost Boy'. Both books are a great read but if you are easily upset I would warn against reading them.

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                        28.01.2010 00:43
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                        Poignant without being maudlin or exploitative

                        It wasn't until I came across Dave Pelzer's The Lost Boy that I became familiar with his work, but be assured that as soon as I read it, I tracked back and read his first book about his encounters with child abuse, A Child Called it, a horrific but utterly engrossing read that's among the best of its kind.

                        The story documents Pelzer's young life, where he was physically and mentally abused by his alcoholic mother. The book first documents a seemingly idyllic life, where he lived in a solid nuclear family, before his mother became a tyrant, taking it out on Dave by placing him on a hot stove, as well as submerging him in ice-cool water, and even making him eat his own regurgitation. As a result of this torture, it's amazing he's cogent enough to write a book, let alone speak. It's a clear testament to the strength of the human spirit, and although grim, like all of Pelzer's subsequent works, it is ultimately humanistic and optimistic.

                        What's also astounding is the post-abuse context we're given; Dave now appears to be a well adjusted and contented adult, who hasn't entrenched himself into the same behaviours that his mother showed. The book is also sure to accredit not only Dave's intestinal fortitude, but the strong social networks around him, such as social workers, his teachers, and of course, his friends). He was therefore able to turn his abuse into something positive that makes for an inspiring read even if you've come from a very happy home. There's a greater universality to the message, that, whatever your problems, they can be overcome with the right approach, and if Dave can overcome this level of abuse, it proves that anything is possible.

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                        21.12.2009 08:04

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                        a must read

                        This is the first in the series of Dave Peltzers books. I first read this 7 years ago while I was pregnant and stayed up the whole night to finish it. It is extremely moving and I was compelled to keep reading. The details in the book are extremely vivid and you really have an insight into how he lived as a child. At times I just wanted to grab the boy out of the book and protect him and show him the world isn't all bad. He explains in this book the start of his abuse which carried on for many years after and the detail is graphic there's not a lot imagination needed to see the life he endured. I found it so hard to think how his father could be such a weak man and not stop this abuse that he clearly saw was going on there are parts of the story where there seems to be hope for Dave but he then explains how these are then dashed by his mothers actions. A brilliant book.

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                      David J. Pelzer's mother, Catherine Roerva, was, he writes in this ghastly, fascinating memoir, a devoted den mother to the Cub Scouts in her care but not to David, her son, whom she referred to as an It. This book is a brief, horrifying account of the bizarre tortures she inflicted on him, told from the point of view of the author as a young boy being starved, stabbed, smashed face-first into mirrors, forced to eat the contents of his sibling's diapers and a spoonful of ammonia, and burned over a gas stove by a maniacal, alcoholic mom. Sometimes she claimed he had violated some rule--no walking on the grass at school--but mostly it was pure sadism. Inexplicably, his father didn't protect him; only an alert schoolteacher saved David. One wants to learn more about his ordeal and its aftermath, and now he's written a sequel,The Lost Boy, detailing his life in the foster-care system.