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A Child Called It
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A Child Called It
One Child's Courage to Survive
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This book chronicles the unforgettable account of one of the most severe child abuse cases in California history. It is the story of Dave Pelzer, who was brutally beaten and starved by his emotionally...
This book chronicles the unforgettable account of one of the most severe child abuse cases in California history. It is the story of Dave Pelzer, who was brutally beaten and starved by his emotionally...
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Description-

  • This book chronicles the unforgettable account of one of the most severe child abuse cases in California history. It is the story of Dave Pelzer, who was brutally beaten and starved by his emotionally unstable, alcoholic mother: a mother who played tortuous, unpredictable games--games that left him nearly dead. He had to learn how to play his mother's games in order to survive because she no longer considered him a son, but a slave; and no longer a boy, but an "it."

    Dave's bed was an old army cot in the basement, and his clothes were torn and raunchy. When his mother allowed him the luxury of food, it was nothing more than spoiled scraps that even the dogs refused to eat. The outside world knew nothing of his living nightmare. He had nothing or no one to turn to, but his dreams kept him alive--dreams of someone taking care of him, loving him and calling him their son.

Excerpts-

  • From the book

    Excerpt from Chapter 6

    While Father Is Away

    After the knife incident, Father spent less and less time at home and more at work. He made excuses to the family, but I didn't believe him. I often shivered with fear as I sat in the garage, hoping for some reason he might not leave. In spite of all that had happened, I still felt Father was my protector. When he was home, Mother only did about half the things to me that she did when he was gone.

    When Father was home, it became his habit to help me with the evening dishes. Father washed and I dried. While we worked, we talked softly so neither Mother nor the other boys could hear us. Sometimes, several minutes would pass without us talking. We wanted to make sure the coast was clear.

    Father always broke the ice. "How ya doing, Tiger?" he would say. Hearing the old name that Father used when I was a little boy always brought a smile to my face. "I'm OK," I would answer. "Did you have anything to eat today?" he often asked. I usually shook my head in a negative gesture. "Don't worry," he'd say. "Some day you and I will both get out of this madhouse."

    I knew father hated living at home and I felt that it was all my fault. I told him that I would be good and that I wouldn't steal food anymore. I told Father I would try harder and do a better job on my chores. When I said these things, he always smiled and assured me that it wasn't my fault.

    Sometimes as I dried the dishes, I felt a new ray of hope. I knew Father probably wouldn't do anything against Mother, but when I stood beside him I felt safe.

    Like all good things that happened to me, Mother put an end to Father helping me with the dishes. She insisted that The Boy needed no help. She said that Father paid too much attention to me and not enough to others in the family. Without a fight, Father gave up. Mother now had complete control over everybody in the household.

    After awhile, Father didn't even stay home on his days off. He would come in for only a few minutes. After seeing my brothers, he would find me wherever I was doing my chores and say a few sentences, then leave. It took Father no more than 10 minutes to get in and out of the house, and be on his way back to his solitude, which he usually found in a bar. When Father talked to me, he'd tell me that he was making plans for the two of us to leave. This always made me smile, but deep inside I knew it was a fantasy.

    One day, he knelt down to tell me how sorry he was. I looked into his face. The change in Father frightened me. He had dark black circles around his eyes, and his face and neck were beet-red. Father's once rigid shoulders were now slumped over. Gray had begun to take over his jet-black hair. Before he left that day, I threw my arms around his waist. I didn't know when I would see him again.

    After finishing my chores that day, I rushed downstairs. I had been ordered to wash my ragged clothes and another heap of smelly rags. But that day, Father's leaving had left me so sad that I buried myself in the pile of rags and cried. I cried for him to come back and take me away. After a few minutes of self-comfort, I settled down and began scrubbing my "Swiss cheese" clothes. I scrubbed until my knuckles bled. I no longer cared about my existence. Mother's house had become unbearable. I wished I could somehow manage to escape the place I now called the "Madhouse."

    During one period of time when Father was away, Mother starved me for about ten consecutive days. No matter how hard I tried to meet her time limits, I couldn't make it. And the consequence was no food. Mother was completely thorough in making sure I was unable to steal any food....

About the Author-

  • Dave Pelzer travels throughout the nation promoting inspiration and resilience. His unique accomplishments have garnered personal commendations from Presidents Reagan and Bush. In 1993 Pelzer was chosen as one of the Ten Outstanding Young Americans (TOYA), and in 1994 was the only American to receive The Outstanding Young Persons of the World (TOYP) award. He was also a torchbearer for the Centennial Olympic Games

Reviews-

  • DOGO Books daysha1205 - The book Child Called It is a very interesting. This book is about a little boy named Dave that gets beat by his mom every single day, he struggles though eating,stabbing,and getting beating.My favorite passage in this book is when the little boy Dave got to finally got to go out side and play with his little brother.The connection i have with the book is my dad used to help me with the dishes all the time when i needed the help.I think this book i very inspiring to me cause i notice theres allot of kids that go though that kind abuse in there life.The child called is based on a true story cause the author is the one this is all that is happening to. So this book i realistic fiction. I recommend this book to allot of people that like really sad books cause it is very heart touching and very inspiring.And that is why i choose this book.
  • School Library Journal

    December 1, 1995
    Gr 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

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    Health Communications, Inc.
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One Child's Courage to Survive
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