This book chronicles the unforgettable 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 tortuous, 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."
Dave's bed was an old army cot in the basement, and his clothes were torn and raunchy. When his mother allowed him the luxury of food, it was nothing more than spoiled scraps that even the dogs refused to eat. The outside world knew nothing of his living nightmare. He had nothing or no one to turn to, but his dreams kept him alive--dreams of someone taking care of him, loving him and calling him their son.
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, and somewhat nurturant to her children--but not to David, 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.
Though it's a grim story, A Child Called "It" is very much in the tradition of Chicken Soup for the Couple's Soul and the many books in that upbeat series, whose author Pelzer thanks for helping get his book going. It's all about weathering adversity to find love, and Pelzer is an expert witness.
alex (USA: RI) (2007/08/29):
i loved this book it is sooooooooo sad the poor little boy
Julie (USA: UT) (2008/02/12):
This book made me cry, laugh, cringe, and cry again. It's so sad. What a wonderful spirit this man has.
edina (USA) (2008/02/21):
This book is so amazing. I cried so much and it made me realize that some people arent as lucky as you are and that kids like him need help as much as other people do in the world. Its a must read and shows the amazing spirit of a boy who went through so much pain. One of my favorite books of all times.
Leigh Anne (USA: NY) (2008/02/27):
I loved this book.. this little boy went through so much trama in his young life that I was really upset at his mother. I was crying also because of the things that she did to him. It was a great book, and really moving.
Christina (USA: MO) (2008/03/11):
This book was really sad. I cried the entire time I read this book. I was an abused child and though I did not encounter all of the horrible things that David did I went through a lot of physical and emotional then was moved from one abusive home to another.
janie (USA: AK) (2008/06/08):
Read it all in one go. Unfortunatly there are hundreds more you never hear about that hide behind the fake smiles and fool those around them. For one surviver there are more that don't, some wind up dead and more continue the cycle of violence in their adult life onto their own children. I am glad that someone is trying to help the others. Not easy to face but a good read in comming to understand what an abused child feels like.
anaddicted23 (USA: FL) (2008/07/09):
I've hung on to this book for a really long time, but I'm in declutter mode, so off it goes. This book and the rest in this series really touched me. I cried for a while. I'm glad Dave Pelzer overcame the horrible things that happened to him and he is in my prayers.
Blink (USA: CA) (2008/07/16):
I read this book a while ago and I loved it. It was sad, and the effects followed him through his life in the next two books.
Holli & Chris (USA: CO) (2008/07/30):
It had me in tears -- more than once. I can't wait to mooch the rest of the series.
Sam (USA: PA) (2008/10/22):
Personally, I feel as though this book is a work of fiction - or at least entirely sensationalized. There are too many inconsistencies.
Steph (USA: MA) (2009/01/12):
this book was sad and although it pulled at my heartstrings it didn't reduce me to tears. i am a interested in the next book to find out what happens to David(the main character)however the laguage was a bit simpilistic and i felt it could have been written better, at least at a higher level of reading. good book but one i won't necessarily keep it on my bookshelf for long.
Lynn (USA: AL) (2009/03/28):
A very good but heart breaking book. How could any woman treat a child that way? She needed God, that was for sure!
Jacquelyn (USA: VA) (2009/12/22):
I hated this book. I found it to be contradictory and an obviously false recollection of a troubling childhood.
Kira (USA: CA) (2010/05/16):
This is my favorite book of all time. I cried alot. It made me realize how much I appreciate life. I definitely recommend reading this book.
Anna (USA: MI) (2010/07/12):
I liked the book and to be honest... It made my mother's abuse look like a cake walk. I couldnt put it down once I started it. Good read!
Rebecca N. McKinnon (USA: FL) (2010/08/17):
The writing is very simple and childlike. Not very challenging at all. But the story is captivating, and you'll read quickly to the end.
MarieWoody (USA: GA) (2011/01/26):
the book is very sad, but I read it in one sitting. This mother didn't deserve children. I am so glad that he was able to share his story with the world. Dave Pelzer is a very strong and courageous man.
Duchesssammi (USA: WA) (2011/05/29):
I don't want to say I loved the book only because who could love the abuse that Dave took as a child? The book is so well written you could honestly feel his pain.
I firmly believe that this book should be mandatory readying for anyone who wishes to adopt a child, it's my opinion that it will prepare the adoptive parents on the realities of what some of these children go through.
Personally I wish everyone would read it -but...
It was a powerful story that really opened my eyes to the true horrors of abuse.
I just Thank God that he lived to tell about it and I have read I think he wrote 3 more books - have them all - he is now a motivational speaker.