- Paperback: 184 pages
- Publisher: HCI; Reissue edition (September 1, 1995)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1558743669
- ISBN-13: 978-1558743663
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 7.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3,633 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,674 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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A Child Called It: One Child's Courage to Survive Paperback – September 1, 1995
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From the Publisher
An unforgettable story of courage
A Child Called 'It' is a real life story of the indomitable human spirit told through the eyes of a child--who will pay any price in order to succeed.
At age 12 Dave was finally rescued and placed in a series of foster homes until he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force at age 18.
Even with all that was against him, Dave was determined to better himself - no matter what the odds.
David J. Pelzer's mother, Catherine Roerva, was, he writes in this ghastly, fascinating memoir, a devoted den mother to the Cub Scouts in her care, and somewhat nurturant to her children--but not to David, whom she referred to as "an It." This book is a brief, horrifying account of the bizarre tortures she inflicted on him, told from the point of view of the author as a young boy being starved, stabbed, smashed face-first into mirrors, forced to eat the contents of his sibling's diapers and a spoonful of ammonia, and burned over a gas stove by a maniacal, alcoholic mom. Sometimes she claimed he had violated some rule--no walking on the grass at school!--but mostly it was pure sadism. Inexplicably, his father didn't protect him; only an alert schoolteacher saved David. One wants to learn more about his ordeal and its aftermath, and now he's written a sequel, The Lost Boy, detailing his life in the foster-care system.
Though it's a grim story, A Child Called "It" is very much in the tradition of Chicken Soup for the Couple's Soul and the many books in that upbeat series, whose author Pelzer thanks for helping get his book going. It's all about weathering adversity to find love, and Pelzer is an expert witness.
From School Library Journal
Grade 9 Up?This autobiographical account charts the abuse of a young boy as his alcoholic mother first isolates him from the rest of the family; then torments him; and finally nearly kills him through starvation, poisoning, and one dramatic stabbing. Pelzer's portrayal of domestic tyranny and eventual escape is unforgettable, but falls short of providing understanding of extreme abuse or how he made his journey from "Victim to Victor." It takes some work to get past the poor writing and the self-aggrandizing back matter, but the book tries fervently to provide a much-needed perspective. One of the greater obstacles to healing for males is admitting that they have been victims, especially if their perpetrator is a woman. This author has overcome that obstacle and succeeded in life by such masculine norms as joining the Air Force and receiving awards for his volunteerism. However, while personal accounts of child maltreatment provide crucial information about the realities of childhood, youngsters need insight and hope in order to digest the raw material of abuse. James Deem's The 3 NBs of Julian Drew (Houghton, 1994) is a well-crafted, fictional work that effectively covers much of the same ground.?Carolyn Polese, Humboldt State University, Arcata, CA
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Thanks Dave Pelzer, for your courage to put into words what you went through and in doing so helping people like me.
I first read this when I was young, in grade school myself. (as of writing this review I have reread it to give an account with a fresh memory in mind) I don’t know if this was the best book for a middle schooler to read. When I picked it up I understood the subject would be about abuse when I started, but I had no idea how graphic it would be.
When I first read it this book always stuck with me, in a positive way. I knew child abuse was a thing but I had no idea how truly terrible it was. It was at the back of my mind. By the time I went to high school this book was still in my mind and I tried to be diligent about looking for potential signs in my classmates.
Now as a young adult the book has always stayed with me in my mind. I often discuss politics and mention issues I find important to friends. Child abuse is heart breaking and when I have time I try to inform people about it.
You could easily say this was a life changing book for me. The shock it gave me as a child was something i’ve kept with me for all of my life. It was a tool that changed they way I think and caused me to pursue more attention to the issues of child abuse, and specifically educating others.
The book itself is short and a quick read. I finished it within a two hour sitting. If you can stomach it you’ll probably finish it in one sitting as well.