a great holistic view of one of the most truly american drugs. reding's greatest feat here is to fully understand, and relate to the reader, the consta great holistic view of one of the most truly american drugs. reding's greatest feat here is to fully understand, and relate to the reader, the constellation of american (and global) symptoms that resulted in the meth explosion. as he points out in the book, america is not a sociological nation, we are a psychological nation. we tend to blame the individual, and poor decisions, without stepping far enough back from the problem to see the machinations that lead to the opportunity for addiction.
not just a dark glimpse into the lives of addicts and dealers, reding spends just as much time explaining the history of meth in america, and gives us views into how big pharma, mexican cartels, globalization, the demise of the american farm, etc., all played into this problem....more
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 bthis 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 the book's intention is. it doesn't work very well as a memoir. there is no advice that would put this in any sort of self-help category. and if its intention is to provide hope to victim's of abuse, i don't know what the take-away is other than 'if i lived through this, you can live through just about anything'.
i really don't know what to make of this book, as a piece of literary work. it's not much of one -- i don't know if it ever set out to be one. you get little, if any, insight into the dynamics of the brothers. you read one moment that the narrator hates his father, then loves his father, then hates his father. you read that the narrator cannot remember the color of his mother's hair or eyes, yet he describes in great detail many settings, images, etc. you really don't get any insight into the mother's descent into mental illness and alcoholism. one day she's the best, most loving mother in the world, the next she is straight out of a bosch painting. you get a feeling that pelzer is being very selective with what he shares with us. characters are never anything but inherently good or inherently evil. he's either being abused horribly or being embraced lovingly. there seems to be very little grey area in pelzer's book. the grey area is exactly what needs to be illuminated in a book about abuse. we learn far more from a book about becoming an alcoholic than we do from a book about being a drunk. the latter is voyeuristic and exploitive, the former can illuminate and possibly save lives.
there has been quite a bit of controversy surrounding the accuracy of this book. i can't speak to that. there is a blurb about the book being up for the pulitzer at some point -- pelzer submitted it himself, which anyone can do. details like this do nothing but add an aura of snake oil -- the dime-store self-help book jacket design doesn't help matters.
the last thing i'd want to do is come down on a dude who's lived through the type of hellish abuse described here. even if his descriptions were 1/10th true, it would still be more than any human being should have to endure. i am not claiming that this guy did not suffer, but we need more from books than a simple retelling of events. we get that in the newspaper every morning. ...more