A Child Called It, by Dave Pelzer, chronicles the unforgettable account of one of the most severe child abuse cases in California history. It is a heart wrenching true story about a child’s survival of one of the worst child abuse cases ever reported in California history.
Dave Pelzer lived in a world of starvation, cruelty, and torture from the age of four until his rescue by courageous school officials at the age of twelve. This autobiography will both horrify and inspire all who read Dave’s incredible journey through the dark insanity of his mother’s rage.
Dave slept on 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.
His mother often threatened to kill him and once that lead to her accidentally stabbing him with a knife. She patched up his bleeding stomach but didn’t take him to the hospital.
Despite all the pain she inflicts and the blood she draws, Dave’s mother rarely shows the slightest sign of remorse.
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.
A Child Called It PDFDave Pelzer – A Child Called It
Dave discusses the substance of child abuse in the book. He touched on the specific actions his mother perpetrated on him and the physical and psychological effects that her actions had on him.
Some of his mother’s abuse was purely physical: she beat Dave, whipped him with chains, forced him to eat feces and vomit, and committed countless other atrocities.
Dave’s mother went to great lengths to isolate Dave from his classmates and family. She forbade him from eating or playing with his brothers and made his classmates dislike him.
By isolating Dave from other people, she made Dave weaker and more dependent on her, while also limiting the possibility that a friend’s parents might notice that Dave is being abused.
Dave’s depiction of child abuse provides a sobering account of a little-discussed side of life. By writing and lecturing across the country, he has increased awareness of child abuse and inspired people to speak out against abusive parents.
The autobiography also suggests that the greatest harm of child abuse is often psychological, not physical. In the case of Dave Pelzer, his mother abuse left him with a lasting sense of hatred – both for other people and for himself.
After many years of abuse, Dave’s life became so miserable that he came to envy and resent other children who lead happier lives than his own. In particular, he came to despise his brothers, who his mother didn’t abuse, and his classmates.
One of the greatest tragedies of child abuse is that, very often, people who were abused as children grow up to abuse their own children, creating a cycle of cruelty, trauma, and hatred.
The book does more than simply list the evils of child abuse. It shows that Dave Pelzer escapes the cycle of abuse and learns ways of gaining some control over his trauma.
Neglect and the Normalization of Evil
One of the most startling things about the book is that for many years, and in spite of the obvious signs that Dave’s parents are abusing him, nobody alerts the authorities.
Although it was Dave’s teachers who made the decision to call Child Protective Services when Dave is in fifth grade, Pelzer makes it clear that there had been signs of abuse years before.
Even if ignorance of child abuse can explain some of the neglectful behaviour in the book, it can’t explain why Dave’s father and brothers allowed his mother to continue hurting him, year after year.
Dave’s family’s behaviour suggests a disturbing possibility. Over time, many people can grow accustomed to cruelty, even if it’s inflicted on their own family members.
In all, the book paints a disturbing picture of human nature. His mother was a cruel, evil woman, but her evil would’ve been impossible without the neglect and tacit support of her family and her entire community.