Wednesday, November 23, 2005

A Child Called 'It' by David Pelzer

Author: David Pelzer
ISBN # 0752837508
169 pages

As a child, Dave was brutally beaten and starved by his emotionally unstable, alcoholic mother: a mother who played tortuous games - games that almost killed him. With only his willpower to survive, Dave learned how to play his Mother's sinister games in order to survive because she no longer considered Dave a son but a slave, and no longer a boy but an "It."

The harrowing true story of David Pelzer was the third-worst case of child abuse on record in the entire state of California. If that’s so, you have to wonder about just how horrendous the other two cases were because it’s amazing he ever survived to adulthood.

Written from David’s point of view, the book is very much in the style of a young child, wondering what it is that he’s done to deserve this “punishment” from his mother, as she has completely brainwashed him into believing that he has brought everything on himself; that he is at fault for being a “bad boy”. The chilling calculation of a mother obsessed with destroying her own child leaves the mind reeling. What causes a mother to choose one child over another, to single him out for such torturous abuse?

It’s an intriguing study of just how long such occurrences can continue before something is done to remove a child from an abusive environment. I cried real tears over the life of this young boy; his self-sufficiency &, ultimately, his survival skills (& the necessity for him to develop them in the first place) are shocking & one cannot comprehend what kind of mental illness would lead to this happening (as his mother was clearly very sick & in need of professional help).

This is an incredibly difficult book to read, but one of those books you cannot put down – you have to keep on reading to the end. The violence depicted in the pages is terrifying & to think of anyone enduring any of it, let alone a small child, is something that made me feel physically ill, but also filled me with admiration at David’s courage.


Rating: 9/10


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