A Child Called "It" by Dave Pelzer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I've read this before, but I wanted to read it again before reading a later book. It was still hard to read it even knowing what Dave Pelzer has made of his life. It is almost unbelievable that an adult could treat a child like this and that others in the family, especially Dave's father, could allow it.
Dave's says that his mother was kind and loving during the first 5 years of his life, but suddenly she changed and targeted him for horrific abuse. She treated her other children well but starved Dave and made him work like a slave. Once she stabbed him and frequently locked him in a bathroom with a deadly combination of bleach and ammonia, or made him lay in a tub full of cold water for hours completely submerged except for his nose. David felt that she really wanted him to die, but he managed to survive by sheer will. Along with the daily torture, she starved him. In school he desperately stole from other student’s lunches, but at one point during the summer, he went 10 days without food.
I recently read Call Me Tuesday by Leigh Byrne and she also was the only one her mother abused. It is hard to understand how a mother could target only one of her children for her anger. To me, that indicates that there is a degree of control that makes the abuse seem even more heinous. I can understand how a parent who suffered abuse in childhood would have anger management problems and not have any parenting skills, but Dave’s mother's treatment of her other children demonstrates that she knew what was right.
While this is a hard book to read, it is also very inspiring. Somehow, through fierce determination, young Dave manages to survive. Eventually, his teachers and principal had enough evidence to go to the police and David was removed but the story of how he survived is a tribute to the human spirit.
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