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A Man Named Dave - Dave Pelzer
Member Name: el_jaynus
A Man Named Dave - Dave Pelzer
Date: 10/01/04, updated on 10/01/04 (548 review reads)
Advantages: Inspriational, Good ending to the trilogy
Disadvantages: Not very well-written, Gets very sickly and schmaltzy after a bit
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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