A Child Called “It” One Child’s Courage to Survive

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Pelzer, Dave. A Child Called “It” One Child’s Courage to Survive. Omaha Press Publishing Co. 1993

ISBN: 1558743669

A Child Called “It” One Child’s Courage to Survive

Written By: Dave Pelzer

Reviewed By: Angela Nguyen

Recommended Audience: High School

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A Child Called “It” is a tragic autobiography of a young child named Dave struggling to survive in a home with an abusive mother and careless father. In the beginning of the novel, Dave lives a normal life with his parents and his brothers. His mother was just as loving as a mother can be, and his father was his hero. Unfortunately, this taste of paradise came to an end. Since his father was a fireman, he was away often and left Dave alone all night with his alcoholic mother. At first, all his disappearances were for work, but later on, they just became excuses to get out of the chaotic  house.  This is when the abuse began and it was when he was just 5 years old.His mother got into a depression and became an alcoholic. At first, she would just neglect Dave and his brothers, but after a while, that got boring to her. Making him do useless chores, smashing his face onto the mirror and demanding that he would admit that he was a “bad boy” was much more satisfying. This seems harmless compared to the other torture games his mother would put upon him. Dave became the black sheep of the family and was targeted to take her anger out on him. He was exiled to the basement to sleep in an old army cot. She would punch, kick, choke, and abuse any time she saw fit, even when he wasn’t misbehaving. Abusing Dave became a sense of joy for her. One day she forced him to lie on the stove with an open flame and watched him burn. While he was burning, he did what he could to survive and he succeeded. This incident has given him the courage to do what he can to escape her attacks and survive. In the beginning, Dave’s father was his savior. Every time he was home, the abusing would stop and her mother was in a much happier mood. This, unfortunately came to an end. Even he became tired of arguing with his mother, and looked the other way. Each time Dave looked to his father for help, he would disappoint him. Dave realized he was on his own. After a while, Dave’s mother stopped feeding him. His starvation got the best of him, and he started to steal food from whatever source he could — from his classmates, the supermarket, and even the trashcan. Each time, he got caught. Whether it be from the devil herself or the source, he was punished either way.  When his mother caught on, she would make him throw up the food to make sure he would starve. Except of course, from eating his new baby brother’s feces, his own vomit, ammonia, and Clorox.  At this point, he was no longer a member of the family and was called “The Boy,” and soon enough he became an “It.”

Throughout the story, Dave continued to demonstrate his courage. In his situation, a lot of people would take their own life or just break down. However, he remained strong and did what he could to survive. The abuse started when he was only 5, but he had the mind and the strength of a mature adult. Even today, Dave shows his courage by telling the world of his horrific story instead of becoming an abuser himself like most do. He used his experience to better himself and to even help those around him. Dave Pelzer is the epitome of strength. This autobiographical novel is an inspirational story for anyone that has struggled and overcame their adversities.

Interview with the author: http://www.bookbrowse.com/author_interviews/full/index.cfm/author_number/145/dave-pelzer

Description, Themes, Quotes, etc of the book: 

http://www.bookrags.com/studyguide-a-child-called-it/

Video Summary: 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkHvCqFlRgQ

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Filed under Autobiography, Fiction, Young Adult

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