A Child Called It
In Dave Pelzers memoir of A Child Called It, he expresses the worldwide problem of child abuse. Published in 1993, A Child Called It is still affecting people decades later. The title of the novel says it all. The mother doesnt see Dave as a son, nor a boy but as an it. Pelzer writes this horrific novel to mention what people shouldnt have to go through. He experiences an abusive mother his whole life that he deals with in a very proficient way. It is a novel that you cannot put down, and a novel that you can easily read in one nights time. Being that the novel has spent consecutive years on New York Times bestseller list and has sold millions of copies, it is definitely a book worth buying. A Child Called It covers the early years of Pelzers life and is an affecting and inspiration memoir of one child's determination to survive.
As a child, Dave Pelzer is brutally beaten and starves by his emotionally unstable, alcoholic mother, a mother who plays tortuous, unpredictable games that left one of her sons nearly dead. She no longer considers him a son, but a slave; no longer a boy, but an it. His bed is an old army cot in the basement, his clothes are torn and smelly, and when he is allowed the luxury of food it is scraps from the dogs' bowl. He spends days upon days consulting ideas or plans in order to get food. It ranges from stealing from the grocery story to stealing students lunches at school. He does whatever he can to get it. The outside world knew nothing of the nightmare playing out behind closed doors, until years of lying to school administrators finally became unbelievable, and the outside world finally took action.Dave has dreams of finding a family to love him and call him their son. It takes years of struggle, deprivation and despair to find his dreams and make something of him.
Daves father plays an important role in his life because of his presence. His father is under the control of Daves mother and has to keep the abuse to himself. However, because of his job Daves father is rarely home. He works a night shift outside the city for multiple days at a time. When he is present at home Dave doesnt receive beatings so every time he is home Dave cherishes every moment. Just like Dave, his father doesnt like being around his mother so hell spend as much time away as he can. Dave continuously wants his father to stay home and take command; however, this never happens as Dave finds out.
The novel is well written by Dave Pelzer himself, and it goes into tremendous detail of all the horrific things he experiences. One thing Dave experiences is the affect of ammonia and Clorox. Daves mother plays torturous games with these ingredients. She covers Daves food that he picks out of the trash with ammonia and Clorox. Also, she will simply just shove it down his throat and make him swallow it. This causes great irritation to the throat and can lead to death. From this Dave becomes traumatize for the rest of his life.
Another cruel thing is the stove. She will simply turn the gas stove on and put Dave on it bare skin. Sometimes this would become a daily routine if he didnt complete his chores in the time his mother had set for him. However, this time is set so he never would finish and would get beatings. All these things his mother did Dave would always try and fight it. He didnt deserve this but he couldnt say no to it because it will lead to excessive beating. These cruel things stand out the most because they seem to be the most severe to me. You wont expect a mother to do such a thing to their child.
Next, the narrator uses a unique style of writing. Dave Pelzer italicizes words such as: her, again, good (boys), I, never, faith, and nobody throughout the novel. By italicizing these words, Dave emphasizes the meaning they have. As for her it emphasizes the importance of his mothers role and how critical she was to his life. The word nobody is italicized throughout to get his meaning across that there was no one there to help him. All these words have theyre different meaning to them and how they impact Dave.
The book is written in a way that makes you want to keep reading and find out what happens next. As it goes into so much detail of all the awful things his mother does to him, it makes you wonder if hell survive. You just want to keep reading to either find out what she does next or if Dave will ever get help. This eagerness to find out what happens to Dave is what makes this novel interesting.
A Child Called It inspires millions of people into caring and being grateful for what they have. When you read this novel, you just cant believe the things going on and how youd never want it to happen to anyone you know. You would never expect such a story of one childs courage to survive to have such an impact on everyone. However, being that it is a continuous problem with parents and their children in the world, it makes it that much more real.