Maria M. Elmvang's Reviews > A Child Called "It"

A Child Called "It" by Dave Pelzer
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Jul 06, 07

bookshelves: 2007, biographies, not-owned, non-fiction, 1-star
Read in January, 2007

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 excuse? He just stood by and did nothing? No, that's not true - he stood by and did nothing... and THEN he abandoned the family. I don't get it. Nowhere in the book was it stated that he seemed afraid of his wife, so why did he allow her to treat their son so horribly? You don't just stand by and let your SO practically kill your son, you just don't!

There were two things I would have liked to know: 1) What made David different from the rest of his brothers? Why was he the one who was treated so horribly? If his mother had had some kind of reason, just something that set him apart, it would at least be part of an explanation even if it's no excuse, but it seemed totally random. I guess it was... after all, sick people often don't need reasons for doing as they do. 2) What happened to his mother afterwards? Did she get some kind of help? Were her other boys taken away from her too? The book ended in a cliff-hanger fashion which annoyed me. Too many loose ends.

I don't recommend it. Most of you would never treat a child like that anyway, and if you would, no amount of reading about it would change your opinion that you're in the 'right'. The only time I would encourage reading it is if you know somebody you fear may be subjected to child abuse, or if you want to be convinced that you should become a foster parent.
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Comments (showing 1-18)




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message 18: by Yvette (new) - added it

Yvette I agree with everything you said. However, why read it? To give David a voice. So that he can tell his story. It's the least we can do for a little boy (now man) who has suffered so much.


message 17: by Beth (new) - rated it 5 stars

Beth Read the other books in the series. They will restore your faith in humanity. Dave Pelzer's FULL story is amazingly uplifting.


Sarah Law How do you give a book zero stars? I thought you had to choose at least one!


Maria M. Elmvang Sarah, you just don't rate it. Unfortunately it'll then be listed elsewhere as 'unrated' not 'rated 0 stars', but as far as I know that distinction is in the works.


message 14: by Gabrielle (new)

Gabrielle Timms I liked it


Ryllie i think u guys should just give the book a chance and shut up !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Maria M. Elmvang Ryllie, we're entitled to our opinion, just like you are entitled to yours. It's not a personal affront that I don't like the book just because you do - it's just a difference in tastes. Nothing wrong with that.


Heather you should read the next two i just got done with a man named david and it explaines a lot that you have questions about i could not put it down it was a horrible thing that happeded to him and he didnt deserve but he over came it all thats all im saying so give the rest a try u might be happy u did but thats me


Maya it is depressing, imagine what he had to go through all those years. things like this still probably happen


message 9: by Veronica (new) - added it

Veronica Lutz I haven't read the other books but to attempt to answer one of your questions I heard from somewhere that later on down the road Dave saw his mother in a store with one of his brothers and he appeared to be in just as awful of shape as David was as a child. He believes that after he was taken away she just picked the next oldest to abuse.


Maria M. Elmvang That's horrible :( I can't even begin to imagine what would make a human being able to treat another human being like that... yet alone her own SON!

I'm furious with the father. What a weakling!


Maria M. Elmvang Kevin, I'd love to see your sources for stating this?


Donaya This is clearly not a book based on lies. Try doing some research on the author...... Whether you believe It or not there are sick people out there that treat their children this badly.


message 5: by Adetokunbo (new)

Adetokunbo Ademakinwa The book A child called “it” seems hard to believe. When David talks about being abuse for this long without any help is hard to believe whether if it really happened before. His mother would make it nearly impossible for him to make it through a single day. I think this book is very dramatic. Most people who would read this book would probably think that it’s fiction.

All the abusing happens when he’s around his mother. His mother would usually act and treat him different when their around his father or other people. The book is perfect and filled with figurative language. One Chapter even focus on a flashback David had “Good Times”

Overall it’s a good book but it wasn’t that interesting and it seem to repeat it self over and over again. This book would be informative too people who have parents or someone in there family who is mentally ill.


message 4: by Kim (new)

Kim Read the other two and be open minded. Not everyone had the childhood you did. Just ask yourself, "what if"


Maria M. Elmvang Thanks for the recommendation, Kim, but I have no desire to read the other two books. I know not everybody had the same childhood I did, and have read plenty of books along those lines, I just didn't care for this particular one.


Kevin "Pelzer has an exquisite recall of his abuse, but almost no recall of anything that would authenticate that abuse. His mother was of ''average size and appearance,'' he writes. ''I never could remember the color of her hair or eyes.'' Yet he recalls distinctly his childhood bruises: ''dark circles of purple bruises faded on top of fresh rings of blue bruises.'' He can't explain his mother's psychological motivation for abusing him but not abusing any of his four brothers, other than to say, ''She had not dealt with her unresolved issues.'' And of the six people who might have witnessed his abuse firsthand, Pelzer gives pseudonyms to the four who are still alive -- his brothers. (He refuses to give journalists their real names or phone numbers because, he says, ''I want to protect their privacy."


"Stephen adds that he thinks his brother was taken away from the family because ''he started a fire and was caught shoplifting. He was out of control. Even the Air Force didn't want him.'' Stephen claims Dave was discharged on psychological grounds."

http://www.nytimes.com/2002/07/28/mag...

"We know nothing about what his house was like or his parents' backgrounds. His father remains shadowy - heroic to Dave, but presumably deeply culpable - and it's not at all clear how his brothers reacted to his torture. The writing focuses tightly on the contest between mother and son, but, crucially, no explanation is offered for her violence."

"In The Lost Boy she is a monstrous figure: 'Mother's ice-cold, evil eyes locked onto mine as her face came into full view... I caught a whiff of her putrid body odor.' By Dave she is 'revealing her yellow teeth and putrid, steamy breath'. As the story progresses, the conversations become increasingly soap-operatic. Exchanges that weren't included in the first book are now recalled. If Mrs Pelzer said as she tortured her son: 'You don't talk, so no one will hear your pain,' why didn't he tell us at the time? And did he really say to her: 'All those years you tried your best to break me, and I'm still here... I make mistakes, I screw up, but I learn... I pray for you every night, I swear to God I really do...' Do people honestly talk like this?"

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2001...

"There are no people in Pelzer's book, only demons (his mother and grandmother), angels (Pelzer and a few foster parents), and incompetents. Psychological motivation scarcely interests him"

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_an...

furthermore throughout my research it also appears three of his brothers as well as his grandmother deny the abuse that occurred in the book actually happened however i cant find any source for this.


with hindsight of this post i was particularly captivated by his story and felt cheated as i delved deeper into the background and evidence supporting his story. Although a majority of these quotes and sources comment directly on the book, the book itself fails to give substantial evidence of his abuse.

i don't discredit that abuse of such extreme cases do not exist and i know that they do somewhere but in this case the events that surround his childhood posed by this book appear to be heavily dramatised.


message 1: by Ang (new) - rated it 2 stars

Ang Of course the family denies the abuse. The brothers participated and the distant grandma had no idea. Not everyone wants to know why certain people do things. Some have no interest in psychology. Remember, too, this was back in the 70s. Just look up the case of Sylvia. I believe this did happen. Perhaps the mom is demonized and is described in a fantasy type of way but a young child's mind may make her so. No one really knows what happens in other people's homes and this book illustrates that really well.


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