360 of 397 people found the following review helpful
on November 8, 1999
A Child Called "It" is a real life story about a boy who was brutally beaten and starved by his mentally disturbed and alcoholic mother. At first, David Pelzer lived a healthy and normal life with his parents and brothers. His mother, however, unexpectedly transformed into a monster, venting her anger on her helpless child. David was submerged in freezing cold water, forced to eat his own vomit, slept in the basement under the stairs, stabbed, and forced to sit on a burning stove. These are just a few of the torturous games that his mother used to play. She treated him not like her son, but like an "it". David suffered both mental and physical abuse. In order to survive from his mother's sick games, David used willpower. Through all of her torturous games, David's inner strength began to emerge.
This book is a perfect example of how the human spirit can provide strength in the toughest of situations. David's spirit helped him to survive through his mother's emotional and physical abuse. He refused to let his mother win. He had no one to help him so he learned how to fend for himself. His courage and determination saved him from all of the suffering that he endured at such a young age.
David is a living testament of resilience. His faith and personal responsibility helped him transform into an emotionally healthy and competent adult. A large percentage of emotionally and physically abused children become abusive in their adult years. The abusiveness could be a cycle, passed down from generation to generation. Their rage and pain of being abused could be turned on themselves or the ones they love. David, at a young age, showed strong signs of being a planner as well as a problem solver. These character traits, along with caring adults (nurses, teachers, social workers, etc.), help him to become resilient. David's inner strength helped him turn shame into pride and rejection into acceptance. A Child Called "It" sends an inspirational message of resilience and the human spirit. A person has the ability to leave their dark past and look forward to a better tomorrow. If David Pelter could do it than anyone can!
56 of 63 people found the following review helpful
on June 8, 2013
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
As a YA media specialist, I know what teens love: an I-can't-believe-this-crap-happened child abuse memoir. (The I-can't-believe-it-est out there? Straightling: A Memoir (Hey Kid Series). It's a true story you wish wasn't true.) Dave Pelzer's A Child Called It is the biggie in this category. I can't keep it in the media center, because it always "goes missing." If teens are stealing a book, you know it's a good one!
Here are the reasons they love it:
1: Spoiler alert: In this true story, Pelzer's mother does unbelievable things to him. She makes him eat a bar of soap, a tablespoon of bleach, and the contents of his brother's diaper.
2: Grody alert: The scenes are explicit and visual. After his mother forces him to drink dish detergent, Pelzer says, "...diarrhea took hold...clumps of watery matter fell through my underwear and down my pants legs, to the floor."
3: It's fast and easy to read. Pelzer doesn't use big vocabulary words, and the type on the page is large and well-spaced.
4: In between the shocking abuse scenes, there are events all kids can relate to, such as bullies at school and made-up games in the backyard.
5: Pelzer's father's reactions to the abuse are fascinating and horrifying: "Jesus H. Christ! Does your mother know that you're in here talking to me? Damn it, boy, we don't need to do anything that might make her more upset! I don't need to go through that tonight...."
6: There is a thread of childish hope running through the book. Maybe his father will help him this time. Once in a while a caring adult at school notices his bruises.
7: The clincher: Pelzer's story took a "worst of" award. His was the third-worst child abuse case in the state of California.
After reading A Child Called It, kids feel SO much better about their lives. And they want to read more of Pelzer's books, and ask for other books like it. Teenagers asking for books? Win! Dork librarian win!
79 of 93 people found the following review helpful
on April 20, 2002
This book is the story of David Peltzer, who at a very young age was systematically abused and tortured by his own mother while his own father and siblings stood by and watched, sometimes even inflicting there own torture on the very young lad. As a mother of two, my daughter being the same age as David was when his abuse began, I found this a truly distressing story. I had tears in my eyes as David described how his mother would gleefully play "games" with him. On one occassion attempting to burn him on a lit gas stove, on another stabbing him and then not making an attempt to seek medical help for the lad. David was forced to shut down emotionally in order to survive the horrific surroundings in which he was forced to live. From sleeping in a cold garage on an old army cot to the severe beatings which could have killed him. His story is told from the heart of a child yet we can still only begin to imagine what it must have been like to receive this sort of treatment from the one person meant to love and protect him - his mother. In The Lost boy we are taken on the journey of Davids battle to be accepted into a society which does not understand the full extent of his misery. His many foster homes and schools and his ongoing battle with his mother who even after losing her son to the state, was still determined to hurt him from a distance by attempting to have him committed. David grows from a confused frustrated young child into a struggling young adult with the foster child stigma of the times firmly attached to him. Yet he overcomes all of this to join the forces and carve a career for himself. I am now begining to read the 3rd installment of Davids life - A Man Called David and look forward to following his story further into adulthood. Never before has a book had such an impact on me and brought forth such emotions in me that I if I could foster all of the abused and neglected kids in the world I would. Davids story is an important one that everyone should read, for the plight of the small defenceless child is one we should all pay attention to and we should never be afraid to speak out against those who would do them harm.
A must for any library.
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on February 18, 2000
I read both "A Child Called It" and "The Lost Boy" last night. I am looking forward to his third sequel which I ordered. I am deeply grateful that he held on to survive against insurmountable odds, though just a child. Though my heart ached and tears flowed as I read, I truly admire his unselfish spirit . . . to help, encourage, and uplift another "abused" child out of the darkest pit. I feel his story needed to be told to bring attention to the enormity of abuse which springs all around our unsuspecting eyes. Thank you, David, for sharing your heartbreaking, yet, triumphant life with us. May God continue to embrace you and Stephen is my prayer.
25 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on March 6, 2000
I had the opportunity to see Dave at a conference and he had all of us spellbound. The fact that this atrocity had taken place is astounding enough and the fact that Dave, even as a child, had the tenactiy to endure and overcome his hellish childhood and survive is truly amazing. I have read both this book and it's sequel and I can truly say they are must read works. It is filled with personal insight to what his "life" was like and how he had the courage to endure. Not everyone who reads these books will believe his story, but I can tell you that while seeing this man before us relaying the events with such conviction and firmness with tears in his eyes made a believer out of me. No one could write books like these and call them fiction. Child abuse is real and the story Dave tells is real. If one person sees the signs after reading these I pray they too have the courage to step in and help their "Dave" out of their abusive situation. You sometimes need to "read between the lines" to find the cause for some actions as they are not clearly visible. I can't wait to get the final book in his trilogy. The saying " What doesn't kill you will make you stronger," truly fits this remarkable human and the people who helped him survive! God bless him!
61 of 77 people found the following review helpful
on May 27, 2001
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Dave Pelzer shares his horrific childhood at the hands of an insanely sadistic mother in this powerful memoir. You will be shocked by the increasingly bizarre tortures his mother inflicts and amazed by David's ability to withstand it all. Ultimately, the book left me feeling frustrated - I wanted to know why David's mother singled him out for her abuse and why his father, siblings and neighbors did so little to protect him. Then I realized that these were the same frustrations David has lived with most of his life. Furthermore, it's unrealistic to expect that there could be a rational explanation. Just as David does, the reader has to accept that the abuse was senseless.
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on March 9, 2000
A Child Called "It" by Dave Pelzer is an easy read, but full of idea, advice and emotion. The book goes into detail of how a young Dave Pelzer survived in his years of torment and abuse controled by his mother. The conversation used to show how dreadful Dave's growing up was, shows the reader very specifically the events that occured in his daily life. This story is one that will make your angry at times, happy at times, and cry many times. It is an autobiography explaining how to live being raised as a slave to your own family, and the courage that Dave had to survive. It does not only tell a story, but it educates people on how to live for yourself, and value what you have. This book is short, but contains graphic abuse, given both mentally and physically. People who are not in the mood to cry, should not read this book. Middle school children through adults can read this story, but middle school children may not pick up on small writing style changes used to show Dave's change in emotion. A Child Called "It" is a "never put downer" as well as a good literary piece with a respectable theme. It is an excellent read for enjoyment or education on abusive lifestyles. A Child Called "It" was a fantastic book.
21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on December 17, 2001
"A Child Called It" by Dave Pelzer is a heart breaking account of David's childhood. The story retells all the horrors that were brought upon him by his mother as he was growing up. Even though the book is extremely sad and depressing it is wonderfully written and entertaining. I finished the book in a 2-hour sitting, I tried to put it down but I had to see what was going to happen next.
The book opens with David getting rescued from his outrageously abusive mother, which is good because as you read the rest of the depressing pages you know that it will end sometime. All of a sudden one-day David's mother begins to abuse him. First it is just verbal and emotional, but soon it escalates into horrible physical punishments. His mother makes him eat his brother's dirty diaper, he can't eat dinner with the family, and she even stabs him one day because he didn't do the dishes on time. She plays terrible mind games with David, once she told him that his punishments were over and she loved him again. He believed her and then realized it was only an act when a social worker arrived the next day to see that everything was ok. It is amazing that David lived through all of his mothers abuse and can talk about it today.
The fact that Dave Pelzer was the author of this book makes it as good as it is. No one could have written a book about David's tragic childhood better than he. He retells of the horrible events with such accuracy and emotion that no one else could get it right. Only Dave knows what was said and how it was said. It adds a feeling to the story that makes it enjoyable to read, even though it is such a sad and depressing story.
The book reads like you are having a conversation with Dave and he is telling you the story. The story is written easily and straightforward, just about anyone who can read will be able to understand this book. The way David writes makes you feel so bad for him because he doesn't feel bad for himself. He tells how he feels about certain events but never feels bad for himself, which makes the reader more depressed for him.
This book gets a huge thumbs up. Anyone would enjoy reading this book, it has its depressing parts but you know everything turns out ok because David describes getting saved in the beginning. Even though it is terribly depressing, it is also entertaining to read, and I would recommend it to anyone.
50 of 63 people found the following review helpful
on October 24, 2004
This book tells the unforgettable story of a child of severe abuse. One of the worst cases probabably within the U.S. Dave Pelzer, who was brutally beaten and starved by his emotionally unstable mother, relates the story of his life. This is the first in a set of works written by Mr. Pelzer about his life. He relates to you even more about his life in his works "Lost Boy". You wonder how anyone could possibly come out of such abuse,let alone to become a respected author.
As a fan of memoirs, this is one of the most emotional books I have read. You will feel the anger and sadness...the feel of hopelessness as you read what this child had to endure. But, you also rally behind him-and await Mr. Pelzer's next books to see this courageous man overcome. Long after you have read this work, you will not be able to forget.
Along the lines of this book, "A Child Called It" and along with his other book that i have read "Lost Boy", you will also want to read "Nightmares Echo" and "Sickened". As each offers to you different perspectives of children that must endure the unbelievable and yet survive and inspire us with their works.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on February 9, 2000
This is a story of a small child's horrific life of child abuse. The experiences he explains to the reader are totally appalling. Reading this story brought very strong emotions at times. I found myself extremely angry, sad, and frustrated while reading. The first chapter of this book is titled "the rescue". It tells how school officials finally realize this child is severely abused and how they go through the steps of reporting it to the authorities. The child is finally taken from his mother. The proceding chapters begin to tell how the abuse first started and all the occurrences thereafter. The child, a small boy, was abused by his mother. He was abused in several ways. He was burned, starved, beaten, poisoned and thats just to name a few. Whats hard to believe, is the father of the child, allows this to happen and does nothing to stop the mother. I couldn't believe the contents of this book. How this actually can happen in our society. Our society just does not do enough to help the victim. The only thing I didn't like about the book is that the mother never recieved any consequences for her horrific behavior. I am presently reading the sequel to this book and I'm hoping it explains that in there. Therefore, that's why it leaves the reader frustrated and angry. Finally, at the end of the book, it goes on to tell how this child survived this terrible ordeal and is now a successful adult. I encourage everyone to read this. I read this book in one night. I found myself unable to put this book down. My opinion is that every child needs to be heard. Teachers, social workers, doctors, law enforcemnt officials, judges and congressman, please listen, look, and act whenever you suspect abuse is taking place. No human being deserves to endure what this child experienced. We need to push for awareness and much tougher laws on this issue.