Cover image for A child called "it" : one child's courage to survive
Title:
A child called "it" : one child's courage to survive
Author:
Pelzer, David J.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Deerfield Beach, Fla. : Health Communications, [1995]

©1995
Physical Description:
xi, 184 pages ; 19 cm
Summary:
[This book] is [an] 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 torturous, 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." -Back cover.
General Note:
Originally published: Omaha, Neb. : Omaha Press Pub. Co., 1993.
Language:
English
Contents:
Rescue -- Good times -- Bad boy -- Fight for food -- Accident -- While father is away -- The Lord's prayer.
Reading Level:
850 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 5.8 5.0 36564.

Reading Counts RC High School 5.9 10 Quiz: 23893 Guided reading level: NR.
Personal Subject:
ISBN:
9781558743663

9780613171373

9780757319105
Format :
Book

Available:*

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Summary

Summary

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.


Author Notes

David Pelzer was born on December 29, 1960 in San Francisco, California. He survived what is reported to be the third worst case of child abuse in California state history. The victims of the other two cases are dead. At the age 12, Pelzer's teachers risked their careers to notify the authorities and saved his life. He was removed from his home and his abusive mother, and made a ward of the court. He was placed in foster care until he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force at age 18. While in the service, Pelzer achieved the rank of Sargent and was hand-picked to midair refuel the highly secretive SR-71 Blackbird and the F-117 Stealth Fighter, which played a major role in Operations Just Cause, Desert Shield, and Desert Storm.

His first book, A Child Called "It", was published in 1995 and dealt with his abusive childhood. His other works include The Lost Boy: A Foster Child's Search for the Love of a Family, A Man Named Dave: A Story of Triumph and Forgiveness, Help Yourself: Finding Hope, Courage, and Happiness, and Moving Forward. He received several awards including the J. C. Penney Golden Rule Award in 1990 and the 2005 National Jefferson Award.

(Bowker Author Biography) Dave Pelzer is the New York Times bestselling author of A Child Called "It," The Lost Boy, and A Man Named Dave. He travels throughout the nation offering keynotes on overcoming obstacles. He has appeared on Montel and Leeza.

(Publisher Provided)


Reviews 1

School Library Journal Review

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 (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

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 m Excerpted from A Child Called It: One Child's Courage to Survive by Dave Pelzer All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.