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A child called it (Dave Pelzer #1)

4.08  ·  Rating Details ·  315,178 Ratings  ·  13,373 Reviews
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 sur ...more
Paperback, 184 pages
Published by Health Communications (first published 1995)
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Miranda H Khevin04, Dave Pelzer went on to write several more books about his childhood and how he persevered beyond the abuse he sustained and grew up to…moreKhevin04, Dave Pelzer went on to write several more books about his childhood and how he persevered beyond the abuse he sustained and grew up to become a motivational speaker and advocate for others with similar childhoods filled with abuse. I highly recommend that you read first "A Child Called 'It'" and then the sequel "The Lost Boy," which goes into the next phase of Dave's life. His younger brother Richard Pelzer also wrote an account of his own about growing up with their abusive mother. His book is called "A Brother's Journey." Richard Pelzer and Dave Pelzer have both written about how the abuse affected their lives as children and into adulthood. I use these books in my high school classroom (I am a teacher) and we have located several articles and interviews in addition to the books which help you better understand the Pelzers' unique and heart-wrenching accounts. Good luck!(less)
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Aug 12, 2007 Laura rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: The very credulous
Shelves: fiction, overrated
This book is very likely made up from start to finish. The events in it read like Pelzer imagined the worst child abuse possible and then said, "And it all happened to me!" Yeah, right. His brother and grandmother said in an interview that it was all rubbish, too, which casts more doubt upon the whole thing. Pelzer also bought his own book in bulk so the sales numbers would put it on the bestseller list -- he just doesn't have a whole lot of credibility. Perhaps worse than the fact that Pelzer i ...more
Aug 13, 2009 TK421 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book was horrible. Period. A waste of my time. You see, what really pisses me off with this book is this: I have known kids that have come from horribly abusive situations that are more genuine than Pelzer is in his "memoir."

The stories of his life in this book contradict one another, are extremely over-the-top and, dare I say, fabricated some. Now, before anyone wants to crucify me, look at the facts:

His family members were interviewed and stated that this was pure fantasy. (I can concede
this book was the 'hostel', or 'saw IV' of memoirs. i don't really know why i read it. it was free, first of all. and, i guess like any normal human being, i cannot look away from a trainwreck.

'a child called it' is not very well written. you walk away with more questions than you do answers. you don't really learn anything. you do, however, come away with having read some very disturbing and disgusting passages that describe in detail a case of horrendous child abuse. i'm not exactly sure what
Jul 19, 2007 Briynne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Easily the most terrifying book I've ever read. I think I had literally repressed the memory of it, until I randomly happened across the title this week.

I experienced this book in a fairly odd way, during a week-long cheerleading camp my sophomore year of high school. My coach was reading it and somehow ended up reading the entire book aloud to my squad during breaks and at night. Once she started, we were all addicted and spent every free moment listening with rapt and horrified attention.

I r
Mar 23, 2008 Kohei rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: school-year-book
A Child Called "It" HCI, 1995 $9.95
By Dave Pelzer ISBN 1558743669
One very common issue that goes around in our world is child abuse, it happens everywhere and it is something that is horrible and cannot be stopped. Dave Pelzer, the author of the autobiographical book, A Child Called It, shows the very dark corners of child abuse by viewing to the readers his horrific life as a young boy living with his mother that constantly abused him.
Dave Pelzer, who lived with his unstable, disturbed, alcoh
Maria Elmvang
I did not like this book. But that's okay. You're not supposed to like it. It's a horrible, horrible book. A trainwreck of a book. I wanted to look away, but just couldn't. I know it's the first part in a trilogy, but I doubt I'm going to read the other two books. It was too, too depressing.

Actually, the person I got most angry with was the father. The mother was obviously sick and needed help. There's no other explanation for the awful things she subjected her son to. But what's the father's ex
`. kateelynn *
Mar 27, 2008 `. kateelynn * rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh my god, what can I possibly say about this book? When I first started reading this book last year, I was just so hooked to it and I just wanted to know everything about this book. It was all about this author's childhood gone horrible with the extreme abuse, the torture and suffering. I really couldn't believe my eyes, the author described like, everything he went through, all the pain he had to go through, how he felt and everything. I could really understand how he felt but one thing about ...more
Jul 18, 2007 Rebecca rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
I've sat with this book on my desk for a couple weeks, unable to decide what I would write for a review. I'm wholly torn between this being one of my most-asked-for and least-favorite-ever titles. I wish the amount of times I heard "this was the first book I liked" (and the amount of times it's been billed/stolen from the library) corresponded to its quality, but I truly found it very short on redeeming qualities. Eric's Goodreads review says pretty much what I would say.

The writing was cliched
Nov 24, 2008 Jennifer rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Why the hell did I pick this book up? It was depressing as hell and it was poorly written. It chronicles the abuse this little boy named David went through as a child. And I think abuse is too mild a term for what he went through. It was horrible. Reading the torture he endured at the hand of his own family was painful.

I came away from this book depressed. And I had several thoughts that kept running through my head. What was the point of this book? It almost seemed like a shrink told him to wr
Sandy Yang
Oct 19, 2007 Sandy Yang rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: future/present psychologists, caring people <3
A Child Called "It":One Child's Courage to Survive
Dave Pelzer
Health Communications, Inc., 1993, 153 pp., $9.95
ISBN 1-55874-366-9

Have your parents ever abused you? In The Child Called "It", a true story that can bring tears to the eyes of anyone with a beating heart, Dave, the protagonist, is abused in the most horrifying ways possible. What kind of mother would want to hurt their own little child? David's mom's actions can prove that wrong.
"Once, I ate some leftover pork. Hours later I bent o
Mar 16, 2008 Sammy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: a-the-best
Okay, this is going to be a short and sweet review since it's a non-fictional autobiography and you can't really critique things like characters and story. But I'm going to say what I can...

This book was a hard one to read yet I couldn't put it down. There's a different something in Dave's story that will keep different people reading. Mine was: Why? I wanted to know why his mother did this. I wanted to know what made her do it. I wanted to know how she could to it. And I wanted to know why it w
YIKES. This is a man's account of the severe abuse he suffered as a young child through the hands of his mother. Apparently, there is some doubt on whether the story is actually true, or whether the author merely made the whole thing up. I don't know enough about the controversy to speculate, so I will just give the author the benefit of the doubt and assume this is indeed a factual memoir of his childhood. If that is the case, then he most certainly deserves major admiration for having overcome ...more
Jeannifer Floyd
My book review is over A Child Called “IT” By: Dave Pelzer. This book is a true story about a child’s devastating childhood in which he experienced child abuse physically and verbally.
David’s child abuse first started when he was only two and a half years old, and continued for ten years after that.David’s abuse came from his mother who once was a loving woman that cared for her children and was willing to do anything for them and her husband. Quickly all the good in his mother turned to bad.Da
Dec 31, 2007 Carrie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: my friends
Recommended to Carrie by: Ron
I know it's not nice to burn, stab, poison, starve or otherwise torture your kid, but damn! If THAT can't motivate a boy to do the dishes in less than half an hour, how's he ever gonna learn?!

Seriously, though. I'm enjoying this short little autobiography from a "glad it wasn't me" perspective. The only problem is I can't believe a book so poorly edited became a New York Times Bestseller. The man uses commas like they're going out of style and uses "everyday" instead of "every day." [Everyday i
Ahmad Sharabiani
A Child Called "It" (Dave Pelzer #1) , Dave Pelzer
عنوان: کودکی به نام هیچ؛ نویسنده: دیو پلزر؛ مترجم: حمید خادمی؛ تهران، معانی، 1381؛ در 141 ص ، مصور؛ عنوانهای دیگر: سرگذشت پسری که میخواست زنده بماند؛ کودکی به نام «هیچ»؛ موضوع: کودکان آزار دیده؛ داستان دیوید جی. پلزر؛ 1960 - قرن 20 م
عنوان: بچه ای که صداش میکردند «اوهوی!»؛ نویسنده: دیو پلزر؛ مترجم: امیرابراهیم جلالیان؛ تهران، آفرینگان، 1383؛ در 141 ص ، مصور؛ عنوانهای دیگر: سرگذشت پسری که میخواست زنده بماند؛ کودکی به نام «هیچ»؛ چاپ دوم 1393؛ شابک:
Oct 16, 2016 Rebbie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, 2016
I've been avoiding this book since I was a teenager. I did so because this is a trigger for me and I knew I couldn't handle it. But...I figured that it's been two years since I cut my mother out of my life and that I finally feel free. And strong... well, at least strong enough to face each day. That's got to be better than nothing.

Anyway, this isn't about me so instead I'll say that no matter what, I'm glad I read it. I feel I have a duty to face other true stories of horrific child abuse, if o
Jul 13, 2012 Don rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one
Recommended to Don by: Was my cousins reading assignment and was helping him.
I'm a little annoyed...

Tonight I read a book entitled "A Chiled Called 'It'" and I believe it's fiction, to say the least.

"A Child Called 'It'" is a story about a boy who survives horrendous over-the-top abuse at the hands of his mother. It basically reads as a long list of horrors that the author describes in grisly detail and sometimes depicts with startling clarity...

My problems with the book are many, For the sake of brevity however, I'll just list a few:

--He couldn't remember the color of h
Dec 13, 2008 Trevor rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: EVERYONE
Shelves: book-club
I read A child called "It" for my fifth book report. This is a heart wrenching true story about the author of the book when he was a kid. His name is David Pelzer and he is the main character in the book. He gets abused by his mom everyday without a break. She takes her frustrations out on him for no reason. It is one of the saddest books I have ever read. In parts it is so sad you hardly hold back the tears for the pain that this little kid is feeling. It is even more sad because it is real. He ...more
Sep 28, 2007 Nate83 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a book about a child his name is David. He is telling about his life when he was young. He had three brothers and mom and a dad. His dad was a local firefighter and his mom was a stay at mom kind of person.
They had a really good life they went on vacations and had picnics.
He looked up to his dad and loved his mom very much. He use to been able to play with his brothers but his dad stared to not come home because of his job he had to stay there 24/7. So his mom started to take out her fr
J. Kahele
Dec 29, 2015 J. Kahele rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

This is a story of a boy named David who endured the worst abuse I had ever read about, by the hand of the very person who gave him life, his mother.

I wanted so badly to pluck David out of the story and hide him away from this vicious woman who to me was never truly a mother, but a monster who took her anger out on a weak small child.

Being able to push out a baby does not make you a mother. It's loving and nurturing that baby, protecting that child to the bitter end.

I am not a violen
Nov 22, 2008 Lei rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who likes to read
Recommended to Lei by: my drama teacher
This book was really sad. The fact that it was a real story made it way sadder. At one point when i was reading the part about the bathroom and mirror treatment, i almost cried. I can't believe that anyone would do such things to their own flesh and blood.If i was David, i would have tried to run away or tell somebody at my school of the things that were happening at home.
The person that i actually hated more that the mother in the book was David's father.How can you sit around watching a sick p
ConstantReader Paul O'Neill
I love a book that stands for something. I admire people who have to suffer through such unspeakable acts, but to come out on the other side and take action to help raise awareness is very noble indeed.

This book had me cringing in disgust. Is it well written? No. Does it need to be? No.

Unbelievable that this sort of thing goes on in our / every society.

This book has made me think and feel. I'd highly recommend it, just not for the squemish!!
Sam Ciuffardi
Jul 07, 2012 Sam Ciuffardi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I first found out about this book when I saw my mother reading it. She was making weird faces and sometimes crying. But when she finished is when I realized why she made those faces and why she cried.

"A Child Called 'It'" really is my favourite book. It's a book about a child's worst nightmare. What he goes through is something no child should go through.....
Nov 05, 2015 Mostafa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: امریکا
"مادر میتواند هرچقدر میخواهد مرا کتک بزند، ولی اجازه نداده ام اراده ام را برای بقا از من بگیرد."

وحشتناکه این کتاب
دوس داری توی هرصفحه ش بالا بیاری!!
تمام مدت خوندن کتاب با فکهایی از خشم قفل شده و احساس نفرت درگیر هستید
نشون دهنده خوی درنده ی حیوانی و پست آدمها

گویا کتاب براساس واقعیت است و داستان زندگی نویسنده
ولی خیلی جای ابهام داره کتاب، یه روایت نه چندان خوب از ذلت یک کودک (البته توصیفات شخصیت از حالتهایی که بر اون میگذره خوبه) ... آخر کتاب با کلی سوال بدون جواب رها میکنه خواننده (وعده داده که در
Feb 13, 2009 Audreyparra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club
Wow this book was amazing! I think.. well I know this is the best book I have ever read. Its about a six year old boy that lives with his mother, father, and two brothers. His dad, a workign guy barlety at home. His brothers are older then him, so he got teased. His mother was a good mother at first, in his early ages. As he grow up she started to beat him and scream at him. He goes through this for many years, adn sometimes his mothjer went to far. I Liked this book because it shows you what mi ...more
Jul 30, 2015 میعاد rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
نميدونم چى بگم ؟؟؟
٣ روز طول كشيد اين كتاب لعنتى رو تموم كنم!!!

بالاخره مثل سينما كه يه سرى بيمار داره كه فيلمايى ميسازن كه با نشون دادن صحنه هاى مهوع باعث اذيت بيننده ميشه در ادبيات داستانى هم اينجور افراد هستن !!!

پيشنهاد ميكنم كه هيچوقت سمت اين كتاب نريد
اگه تا آخر خوندمش فقط خواستم ببينم چى ميخواد بگه !!!

والا نهايتن هم فهميدم چيزى نميخواد بگه! همون حرف كليشه اى كه در مقابل سختى ها مقاومت كن تا بالاخره يه روز همه چى درست شه

بعيد هم ميدونم اين اتوبيوگرافى نويسنده باشه چون امكان نداره اين اتفاقا
Nojood Alsudairi
I am sorry but this is too much. It just cannot be true.
Apr 08, 2009 Neaka rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: nobody under the age of 11
Recommended to Neaka by: my aunt. even though she didn't know what it was about.
I really don't know what to say about this book. It was amazing, depressing, horrible and heartbreaking all at the same time. I remember when I read it too. I was at my cousins house in LA, and I was bored, so my aunt when into my cousin's room and found me some books. A Child Called "It" was one of them. I still recall how I sat there in my other cousin's room, completely devoured in it. I was in fourth grade, so I don't think I fully comprehended the severity of what happened to David in the b ...more
Oct 14, 2016 Selma rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ovu priču ni najgore ludilo ne opravdava!
Jun 01, 2008 Kristin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
i totally cried on every page it's a sad and horrifying story. But the way it's written makes more of an inspiration than a "sob story". it gives you hope and makes you appreciate the life you have. It also reminds people that there are abusive parents out there so we should all have our eyes open for the signs.

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Why Do People Think This Is a fake book ? 51 2000 Jan 25, 2017 10:40AM  
HMSA Reads: Book Review: A Child Called "It" 1 11 Jan 09, 2017 07:59PM  
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An author best known for his 1995 memoir of childhood abuse, A Child Called It.

At the age of 12, Dave was removed from an abusive home and placed in a series of foster homes. In 1979, he joined the Air Force and later became an author of memoirs and self-improvement books.
More about Dave Pelzer...

Other Books in the Series

Dave Pelzer (4 books)
  • The Lost Boy (Dave Pelzer #2)
  • A Man Named Dave (Dave Pelzer #3)
  • The Privilege of Youth: A Teenager's Story (Dave Pelzer #2.5)

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“Childhood should be carefree, playing in the sun; not living a nightmare in the darkness of the soul.” 391 likes
“One could come from less than humble beginnings, to become a winner from within.” 113 likes
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