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A Man Named Dave - Dave Pelzer

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Author: Dave Pelzer / Format: Paperback / Date of publication: 01 June 2001 / Genre: General / Publisher: Orion Publishing Co / Title: A Man Named Dave / ISBN 13: 9780752844084 / ISBN 10: 0752844084

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    12 Reviews
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      22.12.2009 15:01

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      brilliant as are all his books

      This book is the one where we see Dave Pelzer finally getting his life back. It doesn't focus on the horrible childhood he endured but more on his determination to have a different life and how he finally turned it all around. This book is truly an inspiration to anyone who has suffered abuse and shows that things can be different with a little will power. I have followed Dave through all his books and was very interested in this one in particular as it's the final chapter. It was so nice to finally see that he was getting everything from his life that he so desperately wanted and craved. Some of the book is very sad where he talks about how things are different you almost get a sense that he is finding it hard to believe that things could be good for him. This is a must read and will warm the heart.

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      13.08.2009 20:06

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      A true inspirational and uplifting book

      In all the previous books Dave explains his dreams of what he wants to be. Dave now tells the story of how his childhood affects his adult life.

      Dave's childhood affects him in many ways even being a grown man has many battles to overcome and his past will never be forgotten.

      Dave explains how after a big struggle he finally gets his dream job of becoming a pilot. But, battles a divorce after eight years of marriage. Throughout the book it is clear of the fact that Dave does not know the true meaning of love, trust and friendship as it was not known to him in his childhood. It shows the continual struggle of how life can be.

      This story has a happy ending however and I do recommend reading all three of his books as the are truely uplifting and inspriing when you get to the end. It shows that after struggling through many things that you can overcome the odds.

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      02.07.2006 23:37
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      A true story which is an inspiration to others.

      Dave Pelzer's book - A Man Named Dave - is his third book about his life. The first book, 'A Child Called It' covered his childhood and how he survived the extreme physical and mental abuse he received from his Mother. The second book, 'The Lost Boy', covers his teenage years and his 5 foster homes. This book covers his adult life. Although his has written another book, this is the last one in the series concerning his life.

      As a child he dreamt of being Superman. How he would fly and be free. Free from 'The Mother' as he called her. As he lay on his cold, hard, army cot, he would dream of a better life. Little did he know at the time that his dream would come true.

      At the age of 18 he joined the air force. He wanted to be a pilot. He didn't start off that way. He worked his butt off to better himself. He started off as a cook. But, in the end, his dream did come true. He did the training, and eventually became a pilot. He learnt how to fuel his plane mid-air. What an achievement!

      His marriage to Patsy of 8 years ended in divorce. He also had a son named Steven. His wife didn't understand him. And he found it difficult to make her understand. With the childhood he had, you just can't forget something like that. He never felt loved or wanted as a child. He had low self-esteem. Which is why he worked so, so hard. He wanted to make something of himself. He wanted to feel better inside. He wanted to be loved and needed. He had to deal with his past every day. At times he went to visit his Mother to try and get answers as to why she did what she did. He never got them. It's difficult to understand why she chose him over the rest of her sons. Was it the alcohol? One time when he went to see her, she did tell him she was proud of him. It's very confusing as to why she did what she did - to Dave in particular.

      Throughout his adult life he did have confrontations with his mother. One such time was at his father's funeral. He was devasted when his father died. Although he never tried to free Dave from his mother as a child, Dave still looked up and admired him. He still held on to the slim chance that one day his father would take him away. He dreamt of buying a house by the Russian River (where he always wanted to live), and having his father live with him. It wasn't meant to be.

      Throughout the book, there's one passage that really stuck in my mind. It was at his father's funeral. His mother, as usual, was degrading and belittling him....

      **"You lose", I smiled
      "What?" Mother asked
      "All those years you tried your best to break me, and I'm still here. Father's finally free, Ron's (his brother) in the service, and soon the boys will move out on their own. I'm a good person. I try my best in everything I set out to do. I make mistakes, I screw up, but I learn. I don't blame others for my problems. I stand on my own. And one day you'll see, I'm going to make something of myself. Whether I dig ditches or flip burgers for the air force, I'll be the best, and somehow, some way, I won't waste my life away. If you taught me anything, you taught me that. Stay away from me. Everything you've done to others...I pray for you every night, I swear to God, I really do. You may have your papers, your money, whatever. You can hate everybody and everything on this planet, but YOU lose!'.**

      When I read that, I thought 'Good on you Dave'. He's finally stuck up to 'The Mother'.

      You know, after all what his alcoholic Mother has done to him in the past, he still forgave her. Why? For the simple fact that he didn't want to be like her. Forgiveness was the only way he could break the chain. He could have easily hated her, and treated her with the contempt she deserved. He could have easily murdered her and put her through hell. But he chose to forgive. He won't put his son through what he went through. Hatred eats you up inside. It tears you apart. It makes you into a hateful, bitter and twisted person. He didn't want to be like that. He didn't want to be like his mum. So he forgave. It was the only way to break the mould.

      Dave is now happily married to his second wife, Marsha. He has won awards and appeared to talk shows. He's a brave man and deserves all the luck in the world. He's mother is now dead. He has a wonderful relationship with his son.

      ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

      It's an amazing book. I just couldn't put the book down once I started reading it. I admire and respect Dave for telling his story, and for helping others. Of course it's sad, but it's compelling reading. And it does have a happy ending!

      ISBN: 0-75284-408-3
      £6.99

      You can also find this review on Ciao under my username there LOUISE90.

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        10.01.2004 21:32
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        I read A Called It and The Lost Boy with a degree of interest. For those that don't know, Dave Pelzer was abused as a child by his emotionally unstable alcoholic mother. She starved him, beat him, forced him to be her slave and even tortured him by forcing him to drink ammonia, holding his arm over the flame on the cooker and locking him in the bathroon with a mixture of clorox and ammonia. A Man Named Dave chronicals Pelzer's life from the age of 18 until the present. So, is it any good? Well, it's not quite as shocking as his first two books. It follows his adventures in the Air Force, his failed marriage, the death of both his biological and foster fathers, and his confrontation of his mother. It shows how he became an advocate for child abuse, and how he measured up as a parent compared to his mother. All this wraps up the trilogy well, and it's hard not to feel at least a little bit inspired by it. After all he went through, it's commendable that he chose to write a book to let the world know about the worst forms of child abuse. Unfortunately, there are a few faults with this final installment in the trilogy. The first being the simple fact that Dave Pelzer is not a very good writer. It sounds harsh, but his books have a certain seven-year-old quality to them; "and then I did this and she did that and it was very nice, the end". He attempts to use metaphors, and also keeps making statements about how he felt, but all of these statements are over-used, generally used more than twice in the book. I think the main reason A Child Called It was so successful was because it was shocking, and people are pretty morbid by nature, so liked to read it. The book, like the others, isn't particularly well-written, but it's content (plus the age-old American tradition of surviving against the odds, etc) made it appeal to people. A Man Named Dave isn't even that shocking, so all that's left to make it appeal to people is
        the "surviving against the odds" part. This is a nice enough concept, but to be honest, it gets irritating after a while. For the whole book, Pelzer adopts a sort of holier-than-thou attitude about how he's found God, overcome the odds, etc. This is only really appealing to the American Christian market. Cynics will probably get annoyed with it halfway through. In conclusion, I'd say that this is a nice enough story, but relies far too heavily on schmaltz.

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          05.06.2003 09:51

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          The Real Story - Advantages: understanding, empathy, forgiveness - Disadvantages: none

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          06.05.2002 01:56
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          I've just finished reading the trilogy, and what can I say, what an amazing man. This final book charts his life from age 18 and his struggle to come to terms with the abuse he suffered from his mother as a child. His mother and father have split up and he has no contact with his mother at all at this time. His father is a drunk and most of the time Dave doesnt know where he is. He wants to get into the air force but as he didnt finish high school has a very tough time trying to convince them to let him in. After months of exams they finally let him in but even though he wants to train as a fireman, apparently he misses the deadline for it and has to be a cook instead, which he finds hard to cope with. When he hears from his foster mother that his father is very ill he flies to be with him only to find out he has cancer and not long to live, so decides to try to contact his mother to convince her to come and see him. She treats him like she doesnt even know him and when Dave sees her he still has the fear he has from when he was a child. When his father dies he goes to the funeral only to be met by his mother who tells him he has no place there. This part really got to me as I just don't understand how someone who gave birth to you can treat you like a total stranger. Dave then meets someone but can't seem to trust her due to his past and eventually they have a baby and get married. He's very determined to treat his son in the best possible way but something is always holding him back from being close to his wife. A few years later he decides to confront his mother again and asks her what he done to her that was so bad she could abuse him like that. His mother says " the boy was bad David" like he was a completely different person, which obviously made him come to the conclusion that she had serious mental health problems. She dies a short while afte
          r and Dave decides to forgive her so he can move on. Dave Pelzer now helps run support groups for children who are having a hard life. This book made me cry like the other two but it was good to finally see he got a grip on life after everything that had happened to him. I'd recommend reading all 3 of these books just to show you that your life isnt all that bad and what some people in the world have to go through

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            06.02.2002 03:58
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            So here we have it, the final book in the trilogy about a Man Named Dave, called IT by his ‘mother’ who abused him in the most appalling way I have ever read about. Tissues are a necessity to read the final chapter of Dave’s life….. From the early stages of childhood, Dave was brutally beaten and starved by his emotionally unstable, alcoholic mother, a mother who played tortuous, unpredictable games with her son's life; games his father chose to ignore and which the outside world knew nothing about A Man Named Dave is an inspiring story of terror, recovery and hope and in a dramatic reunion he confronts his father and ultimately the mother who so brutally abused him. A man Named Dave is truly a triumphant story of a young man struggling to accept his life for what it is and his struggle to move forward leaving his past behind to start a new life. There is always something there getting at him and it isn’t until the end of the book that he faces all of this. Dave enlisted in the U.S. Air Force at age 18. As a young adult Dave was determined to better himself--no matter what the odds. He tried hard, worked hard and studied as hard as he could, not only to prove he could do this to himself, but to prove he could enter the Air Force to his foster parents. As a member of the armed forces, Dave was hand-picked to midair refuel the highly secretive SR-71 Blackbird and the F-117 Stealth Fighter, which played a major role in Operations Just Cause, Desert Shield, and Desert Storm. When Pelzer is finally alerted to the fact that his father is near death, he rushes to be with him. Pelzer's dying father is barely able to communicate, but in spending his final days by his father's side, Pelzer is able to begin to confront his childhood and to form a positive, productive link to his traumatic past. One of his father's final actions is to pass his cherished fire department
            badge on to his son. This is a very emotional time for Dave and I was in tears reading this part of the book. Dave never got to know the man who biologically was his father and never did get to call him dad… Dave must now with the death of his father, also confront his mother, who, though she would have little to do with her husband during his decline and death, makes her son feel ostracized and uncomfortable at the funeral. During these scenes all I could see was her smirking at Dave who was clearly upset at this point in time, yet again she is able to get at Dave. The man he grew to love as his father – Harold – also causes pain and emotional grief for Dave in this book, but I don’t want to say too much about it so that the story is ruined for those of you who haven’t read it YET!! The most important part of this book is trying to understand Dave’s difficulty with intimacy and attachment after all the suffering he has been through you automatically assume that all he wants is to be loved and to be able to love back. Pelzer hides much of his past from his first wife, Patsy, as though he is ashamed of what she might think of him, Dave has never been ashamed of this when he has been moved around foster homes, and is unable to tell her he loves her. His self-doubt contributes to the tumult of their relationship, essentially a mismatch cemented by the discovery that Patsy is pregnant. Ultimately, the birth of his son, Stephen, is the final key to Pelzer's reconciliation with his past. Stephen is a constant reminder to Pelzer of the preciousness of life and the importance of breaking the chain of abuse so that Stephen will grow up knowing abundant love. Dave is deliriously happy with the birth of Stephen, a son whom he will cherish and give the love he never had as a child. This book ends with a touching conversation between Dave and his own son, you'l
            l finish reading this with a warm heart and an enriched understanding of the need for compassion in all parts of life. If Dave can find it in himself to forgive and forget in order to carry with life as normal as possible then anything can be achieved. This book is currently avaliable again on amazon for £5.49, although it was out of stock yesterday, but even if it is you can always find it in those nice high street stores such as WHSmiths and at one time it was in Woolies.....

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              08.11.2001 20:48
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              So, the end of the Pelzer story has reached a conclusion (for now, anyhow). I still have my doubts about the capabilities and the reasoning behind the existence, quality and validity about the story of Dave Pelzer. Not, in the sense of how true his story is, but of why it was written and the way in which it was told. But my mind has been changed on some counts, and I’m not ashamed to admit it. In the third book in the Pelzer trilogy the life of Dave is told from his late teens until the time of writing, and his self-confessed state of happiness and contentment with his self and his life. Through his persistence in becoming an aircrew member of the U.S. Air Force, a failed marriage, a son he worships to his isolation from his peers and, his self-doubt, frustration and low self-esteem. He rises from the proverbial ashes to achieve what many of us fear to achieve or do not have the guts to do, with a perseverance, which I admire wholeheartedly. And forgiveness? One thing that Pelzer does well. Two people in his life who abused him: his mother who amongst other things burnt his arm over the cooker, made him drink ammonia, stabbed him and on countless occasions beat him his father who ignored and did nothing about it. Would you forgive such people? Now we get to the points that didn’t quite do it for me. How do you forgive? Most of us after being hurt in any form by someone, or who abuses our trust, would find it hard to forgive. Pelzer forgives his tormentors. His ability to somehow excuse his mother’s actions as being down to treatment she received as a child is unlimited. As I’ve mentioned previously, I was never mistreated as a child, so maybe it is my ignorance that is lacking, but I find it almost saintly of Pelzer to forgive his mother. Doesn’t he realise that people can take responsibility for their own lives? Or maybe it was his only way of coming to terms with the abuse
              he suffered, and as a cliché fits 'Let sleeping dogs lie'. I found this saintly attitude of Pelzer somewhat annoying. But, I realised in this final book of his life what it is that doesn’t seem to hit home with me. Americanism. The American’s have such a different way of expressing themselves than we do. The British reserve, as is always the case, seems to make me reluctant to involve myself in a story told in this way: Pelzer’s occasional reference to his faith in God; his sanctity in his profession to help other kids who have been through what he had been through. Is this a criticism? No, how could anyone criticise Pelzer’s dedication, perseverance and will to help, even if that meant sacrificing his own happiness and creature comforts (the break-up of his first marriage, the days of travelling with little sleep to give seminars on child abuse, the list goes on). I couldn’t criticise, but I can say what I feel what the Pelzer trilogy is to some who have read it (you cannot possibly comment if you haven’t read it), and that is Pelzer is, and was too subjective to write about his life. Biographies are of course subjective (It’s ok, I haven’t quite lost my ability to forget definitions of literature). Pelzer’s account is subjective. Pelzer’s account is also told in story form: a narrative that could quite easily be passed off as fiction if you didn’t know when reading it that it was true. It’s hard to describe, but it doesn’t work. Maybe it is because the subject matter is so distressing, or maybe it is because we’re not used to so much forgiveness and nauseating 'niceness'. The main reason I believe is that the narrative doesn’t work. Firstly because I don’t believe Pelzer is a terribly good writer, for the way in which he chose to write his biography, and secondly because the events that he iterates only happened in recent years. In A Man Na
              med Dave, it transpires that even after writing the first parts of his story he was still struggling and unhappy. Therefore, I feel that with the combination of his story-telling style and the fact that his biography is written so recently after the events, makes A Man Named Dave, not a particularly good biography read. There are certain ideas of Pelzer’s philosophy that I don’t really agree with. In reassuring his son, in his future, he says: 'There are so many people who cave in at the first sign of trouble. They quit school, they act like they know it all, and develop a habit of quitting on everything. You’re better than that.' Well, I am a quitter, and I know I don’t know it all. My apologies Dave, for my obvious ignorance and unworthiness. It’s this holier than thou, attitude that annoys me. People are different and handle things in different ways. What Dave Pelzer has come through and achieved is remarkable, but unfortunately I think he forgets that not everyone is made from the same mould. This might sound like yet again another cynical opinion on the life of Dave Pelzer. Of course, in writing his biography Pelzer has achieved a lot. I hope for his sake that many people have been informed and educated about child abuse, the 'system' that fails many (even in the UK recently we have heard more than one tragic story in the news, where this was the case); the psychological impact that the abused and, in many cases the abusers have faced: in many cases abuse his a perpetual cycle that needs to be broken. And in reading Dave Pelzer’s memoirs, we can all learn something. Without being cynical, I can say, 'If he can do it, then surely I can.' Many of us can wake up to the reality of our own lives and help others by recognising that child abuse exists. Surely, that’s something that every one of us can do.

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                07.07.2001 07:28

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                For someone who has suffered horrendous exploits at the hand of his mother, this book is a huge achievement. Yet do we really need to know in increment details of his failed marriage to Pasty and word for word conversations and arguments between people? Apart from that bit of criticism I felt the book was a good read. I thought that it was far less graphic than a Child called it, quite frankly so graphic it almost made me puke. Dave has had a hell of a life; my heart goes out to him. Though this book re-caps on his life I feel it gets too personal. True his past was horrendous and how could his mother get away with bringing up her 4 other sons after what she did to David? This book is a mixed bag, not a book I would call an enjoyable read, well that would after reading a child called IT and The Lost Boy? Did I enjoy reading it? My answer is not really. To conclude I suggest that you borrow this book from the library before rushing out to buy yourself a copy.

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                18.04.2001 01:43

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                Have you ever had a day when you seem to spend the whole time shouting at the kids and picking on them for what they do wrong? Do you go to bed that night feeling guilty and like the worst person in the world? Well if you have ever felt like that then this book could change both your opinion on yourself as a parent, and the courage and strength that some people have despite their lives. A man named Dave is the third book written by Dave Pelzer, and gives some details of how his mother systematically physically and mentally abused him as a child. it also tells of how his father turned a blind eye to what was going on. Mostly though this book charts Dave's attitude to life and despite the harrowing and often tear inducing stories he has to tell, shows how a person can make good come out of bad. His dogged determination to give the best of himself to everyone(which often created further problems for him) amazed me. I felt that I have no right to complain about the simple things that go wrong in my life after reading what he had achieved. An amazing book written by an amazing character that will have you cheering for Dave one minute and crying for him the next.

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                03.01.2001 19:14
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                "It takes a community to save a child" A man named Dave - the final instalment of the trilogy (see below) - charts the author's path from eighteen to middle age. Until the age of 11, Dave Pelzer was severely tortured, both physically and emotionally by his mother. His father remained passive and unreceptive to his son's plight, simply joining his wife at the bottom of a glass. Only when the school decided to take action was Dave finally removed from the cloying grip of his mother's satanic cruelty - and the events of one of the most horrific and sustained cases of child abuse in Californian history came to light. Facing the demons that haunt his dreams, Dave begins to build a life for himself as an adult while trying to reconcile guilt, self-doubt and an aching need to belong. Coming to terms with his past, Dave attempts to address his immobilising fears: first confronting his father and then the mother who so traumatised him as a child. The book leads the reader through the echoes of Dave's inner turmoil, where the haunting reality of his childhood has most definitely left an indelible mark. He finds it difficult to trust, harder to love, and impossible to believe himself worthy of affection. But he fights as he has done throughout his life, to reach a sanctuary where he can challenge the horrors of yesterday while attempting to embrace his future. A man named Dave is an inspirational true story of how a child came back from the brink of death at the hands of his own mother, to become a celebrated speaker on abuse awareness. As an adult, he now travels his native America giving presentations on child abuse and its dire effects. He offers the message that the abused does not always become the abuser, believing that everyone has options and that those same options require responsibility, accountability - and a great deal of help. Dave Pelzer's story has reached millions throu
                ghout the world and has become a best-seller. He refuses to be a victim, choosing resilience and courage to pave his way. He stumbles; he cries; and he makes mistakes; but he categorically refuses to allow his past to impinge on his future. A man named Dave concludes the remarkable trilogy that was unbelievable to some, too frightening for others but nevertheless, a story that the world needed to hear. General (taken from the book) For his unnerving work on child abuse awareness, Dave has received commendations from Presidents Reagan, Bush and Clinton, as well as other Heads of State. California bestowed upon him the 'California Volunteer of the Year'. The USA honoured him as being one of the 'Ten Outstanding Young Americans'. The World followed suit with 'Outstanding Young Person of the World'. Dave was also a torch bearer during the centennial Olympic games: carrying the much celebrated Olympic Flame. Dave Pelzer's website: www.davepelzer.com Price: £12.99 h/b, High Street ISBN 0 75284 114 9 Trilogy A child called "It" - 4-12 years The Lost Boy - 12-18 years A man named Dave 18+

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                  08.10.2000 02:30
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                  This is the third book in the triology about Dave's life. This deals with Dave the man, who is a product of his childhood. I have just finished this book and was not suprised to read how his childhood had impacted on his adulthood. Dave clearly shows how his early life has affected his ability to make and sustain relationships. He allows the reader to begin to have some understanding of how we are all products of our childhood, to a lesser or greater degree. Having fostered children for 20 years, it has never ceased to amaze me how they seem to gravitate to similar children and how they find relationships difficult. Dave shows how and why this happens. He shows how delicate self-esteem in children is and what shattering effects it can have on us as adults. There has been lots of technical stuff written about childhood and attachments, but Dave puts it all in plain words and describes the the feelings and confusion he suffered. He clearly shows how even when he had lived away from his mother for many years how she was able to reduce him to what he was when he lived with her. The confusion Dave continued to suffer even though he knew he shouldn't have those feelings shows how deeply we can be affected by our experiences. It is also a book of hope and triumph. After many faltering starts and disasters, Dave has shown us that there is life after abuse, but he also showed what hard work for the individual it can be. I wonder how many of us having suffered childhood abuse have the strength to reach the rainbow end like Dave seems to have? This book is well worth reading alone but for the full picture read all three.

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              • Product Details

                Third part of Pelzer's autobiographical trilogy.