Pelzer, David J. A Child Called It. Omaha, Neb.: Omaha, 1993. Print
A Child Called It is an autobiography of author David Pelzers abuse and mistreatment as a child. He writes about his struggle to stay alive in a home where he is treated like a slave and an animal. A Child Called It is written as a flashback before David Pelzer was rescued. David Pelzer also known as Dave in the book goes through his childhood being influenced by his alcoholic abusive mother. While Dave was growing up, he loved his mother very much. He continuously saw his mothers glow as well as the love she had for her children. Dave was the second oldest out of five male children, although his mother did isolate him from the rest of the family. Before the abuse began, Dave believed his family was the perfect family of the 1960s. They lived in a modest, two bedroom home in Daly City, outside of San Francisco. His father was a firefighter who worked almost 24 hour shifts, so he was barely around. His mother used his fathers absence as an excuse for her actions. Dave was his mothers main target since the day his school teachers diagnosed him with a learning disability. The times Dave was given the opportunity to eat he would only be allowed scraps of food, like his brother's left over cereal, or things the animals living outside would eat. While Dave waited out in the backyard on the rocks for the scraps, his brothers were enjoying their dinner indoors. His mother would tell the brothers` scary stories and jokes in her soothing voice and left Dave out. The relationship between his mother and him drastically changed when his mother started to punish him instead of discipline. Dave was brutally beaten and starved by his mother. At times Dave was forced to sleep in the basement on an old army cot without any bedding. His mother made sure he was embarrassed at school by making him wear the same clothes to bed and back to school the next day. The kids at school made fun of him and called him names like "Pelzer-Smellzer". They also called him "David the Food Thief", because his starvation would cause him to steal things from the other kid's lunches. As Dave grew up and got in his mothers way the abuse and mistreatment got worst. Dave was no longer his mothers son. She never claimed him which was the reason why his name was changed to It. Dave was basically a slave in his own house. He did all the jobs and wasnt allowed to do anything without permission, not even go to the toilet or sit down. When he got sick because of all the trash he ate, his mom made sure when he threw up, it was on the kitchen floor and he would clean it up by eating it. His throat was burnt with chemicals and he was locked in a bathroom with a mixture of poisonous mist to breathe in. Dave was forced to lie down in icy cold water for hours when he complained about the hot weather. When Daves brothers were able to play card and board games he was allowed to play a very special game as well. Daves mother came up with a game just for him called the Gas Chamber Game. Daves mother nearly caused him death because of that special game. Dave should have been rescued from the torture way before when he turned 12. Dave was rescued from the help of the school nurse when he couldnt take it anymore. Daves brothers were brain washed by their mother which is why they never stood up for him. Their mother repeatedly told Daves brothers that he was a bad boy and deserved every punishment possible. Daves brothers believed that their mothers punishments were perfectly normal until they realized they almost lost a brother. When Daves mother became unpredictable, he escaped. Dave was taken away from his family and stayed away. Till this day Dave fights through an emotional battle because of what his mother did to him and what he went through as a child.
David Pelzer shows his readers what people in the real world go through behind closed doors from page one in the book until the end. I chose this book because it shows how people can adapt psychological problems from almost anything. Daves mother dealt with a psychological issue herself. The absence of Daves father caused her to turn towards violence and alcohol as guidance. The abuse she put on Dave caused him to have psychological issues growing up. She caused him fear all the time; Paranoia. Dave grew up feeling guilty and abandoned. Every human being needs to be loved and cared for in order to survive in this world, which was the complete opposite of what he got. I also chose this book because Ive heard great reviews from my peers that this book was very touching and sad but had great life lessons. This book showed how a little boy suffered one of the worst cases of child abuse. It also showed through the eyes of the child how hateful and how he suffered and endured this from a mother that once loved him so much. It shows the pain and anguish he endured years before finally getting help from people he did not think cared. A Child Called It is very inspirational, especially because it is a true story that ends up with a great outcome.
One major idea I thought about and learned while reading this book was the ability to overcome tough situations. The battle Dave went through at such a young age with no one on his side seemed impossible. Dave went through a lot by himself. It was only Dave who got tortured and had to eat scraps and had to do slave work. I learned that theres always a way out no matter how long it takes. Dave nearly almost died but never lost hope. Dave stayed alive for years and ended up making it out from his mothers trap. I also learned to speak up. Even though Dave was a little boy the smallest signs can make the biggest differences. Even though Dave was afraid of his mother, if he spoke up he would have been saved way before he eventually did. This book taught me to speak up because things will get worst. The more Dave stayed in his mothers house the worst it got.
Personally I thought this book was a little too graphic, especially because it was coming from a little boys point of view. I thought the descriptions were a little too vivid and mature for the reading level and age group this book is put out to. The language of this book was at a high level which put the readers through an emotional experience. Despite the way the book was presented, I feel like David Pelzer did a wonderful job on the first book of his autobiography. I never wanted to put this book down; every page was a cliff hanger. The way the book was so descriptive and scary made us readers eager to find out what happens next and if Dave would ever escape.
A Child Called It is a remarkable story, which should never happen to anyone. I highly recommend this book to all of my classmates. I feel like this is the perfect age and time in our lives to read this book. This book is a great way to start this new chapter in our lives as we finish college, get married and have kids of our own. I think this book teaches people the difference between discipline and punishment. Although there are different ways of punishment based on culture and religion, there should be no excuse on why a child should grow up the way Dave did. This book is a very sad yet inspiring book that I am glad I was able to read. It shows that in the saddest fate when Dave was about to give up and could not go anymore he indeed got help and was able to break away physically from his abuse. I also recommend this book because it shows people great strength. This book touched me especially because growing up the way I did; I should be so much appreciated than I am.
I commend David Pelzer on writing this autobiography despite the horrific language he chose to use. I think he could have been a little bit less descriptive while keeping the readers entertained. I think David Pelzer should rewrite this book into a newer version that will allow kids to read it because the language is too graphic. Children need to learn about abuse and mistreatment to save them self from psychological situations for their future. I think this industry needs to hold off on the new songs and movies that are being produced and be more like these authors with their stories. This world needs to realize that there are innocent kids who are dealing with the same problems Dave dealt. There are kids who are getting beat to death and starve to death that need help. Children grow up with the mindset that sharing family business with strangers will get them into trouble. This is why children go years being mistreated. I think David Pelzer wrote this autobiography because he wants us readers to learn from his mistakes. I hope to read David Pelzers other autobiographies.