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A Child Called "It" (Dave Pelzer #1)

4.06 of 5 stars 4.06  ·  rating details  ·  258,053 ratings  ·  10,893 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 September 1st 1995 by Health Communications (first published 1992)
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Matthew Little From what I remember reading it the author doesn't go into much about afterwards. If you know anything about the author you know he eventually escapes…moreFrom what I remember reading it the author doesn't go into much about afterwards. If you know anything about the author you know he eventually escapes the abuse so I'm not spoiling anything there but really it ends more in a relief state, like he's free, and from then I don't remember much else.(less)
Jason Society finds it hard to accept a mother is capable of abuse. Just look at some of the comments in the reviews to see this. She went onto abuse…moreSociety finds it hard to accept a mother is capable of abuse. Just look at some of the comments in the reviews to see this. She went onto abuse another son after David left. The great sad fact is this kind of abuse, maybe not in severity, is quite common on goes unoticed because its just not accepted by society http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/74...(less)
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The Most Disturbing Book Ever Written
3rd out of 1,379 books — 5,158 voters
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Laura
Mar 04, 2010 Laura rated it 1 of 5 stars
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
TK421
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...more
Eric
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...more
Briynne
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...more
Kohei
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...more
Maria M. 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...more
`. kateelynn *
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
Becky
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...more
Sandy Yang
Mar 13, 2008 Sandy Yang rated it 5 of 5 stars
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...more
Jennifer
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...more
Sammy
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...more
Laurel
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...more
Carrie
Jun 23, 2008 Carrie rated it 3 of 5 stars
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...more
Nate83
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...more
Trevor
Dec 13, 2008 Trevor rated it 5 of 5 stars
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
Audreyparra
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
Lei
Nov 23, 2008 Lei rated it 4 of 5 stars
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...more
Sam Ciuffardi
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.....
Neaka
Apr 08, 2009 Neaka rated it 4 of 5 stars
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
Serina
*1.2

Recommended by a friend in orchestra, this book is supposed to be "really really good".

I finished it in 3 hours because it was short and to the point. Yet I must say this book is extremely poorly written. It is structured in a sense similar to a pointless shopping list: so first my mother did this to me, then she did this, I was starving, afterwards she did this and I felt so terrible. Pelzer basically just described, no scratch that, he stated the unfortunate things that have happened to hi...more
Nojood Alsudairi
I am sorry but this is too much. It just cannot be true.
Kristin
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.

Don
Jul 13, 2012 Don rated it 1 of 5 stars
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...more
Amy
I read this book about a year ago. I look back on how i was really sad because I moved away from my old school back from across the bay area(SF bay area) in Daly City, but then I outgrew it and I began to read this book. I had absolutely nothing in common with it, but I had always known about the subject of this book without even knowing the book itself. David Pelzer shows us all how a little boy so young was abused emotionally and physically throughout a long period of time. As I read I found o...more
Jenny Lee
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Shy
When I first picked up this book, I never know that reading it would be this traumatic. It is a very short read but I seriously have to say that it is not the kind of book that you read for pleasure. Some parts of it were very disturbing, which when coupled with vivid details of the abuse that the author had to endure, making it one of the most depressing books I ever read.

A Child Called “It” portrayed the childhood life of Dave Pelzer, where he was severely abused by his own mother. The way it...more
LindyLouMac
http://www.bookcrossing.com/journal/4...

I knew that this would be a traumatic read and subconsciously I have put off reading it. As it has been sitting on our bookshelves for a little over two years I decided I should not put it off for any longer.
It is very short and I read it in its entirety yesterday afternoon. Certainly not a book one reads for pleasure or relaxation. It is not a story just the horrendous facts of a little boys life from the ages of four to twelve. I squirmed in horror as I...more
Arrianne
Written from the point of view of the abused who writes a first person narrative with an adults comprehension of events that happened to him as a child.
Whether or not the account is exaggerated or not, the way this book is written makes it very tiresome.

I think this book has gotten a lot of people's attention and I feel that's definitely a positive thing, but the downside for me is the book accomplishes little else. It just seems like a very public rant or "dump" for the author regarding their...more
Jocelyn Brandom
The Child Called It

By: Dave Pelzer

The child called it wasa touching story written by Dave Pelzer telling about his childhood. His childhood was well i guess you could say a living "hell" His mother was constantly beating him for no reason. He never got any food ever, but on occasions he would get unwanted table scraps that even the dog didn't want, but because he never got any food he cherished the food and ate it like it would be his last meal for years to come. Dave had two brother that were h...more
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Class of 2015: The Boy called "it" 8 16 Oct 17, 2014 01:48AM  
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1881
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...
The Lost Boy: A Foster Child's Search for the Love of a Family A Man Named Dave: A Story of Triumph and Forgiveness My Story The Privilege of Youth: A Teenager's Story Dave Pelzer 3 Book Set~A Child Called It/The Lost Boy/A Man Named Dave

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“Childhood should be carefree, playing in the sun; not living a nightmare in the darkness of the soul.” 246 likes
“One could come from less than humble beginnings, to become a winner from within.” 87 likes
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