Friday, June 10, 2016

Book Review: A Child Called "It" (Dave Pelzer #1)

About The Book:

  Title: A Child Called "It" (Dave Pelzer #1)
  Author: Dave Pelzer
  Pub. Date: September 1st, 1995 
  Publisher: Health Communications
  Pages: 184
  Genre: Nonfiction, Autobiography, Memoir, Abuse
  Rate: 2/5 stars

Synopsis :

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.


I actually had to read this one for school. At first I was super bummed, sighing because I had to put down Torch Against the Night because I only had a week to read this and write about the risk factors surrounding it. However, I quickly found that it was a really quick read and my kindle percentage was multiplying rapidly. With that being said, I still didn't really like this book. But I don't think this a book you're supposed to love. It was hard to read at times, but I expected that. What I didn't expect was the sloppy writing style and the incoherent thoughts.

I definitely think that the meaning of this book was to get the message out there about child abuse, which it 100% did. The fact that anyone can do that to their child absolutely sickens me to my core. I needed to take breaks during some of the scenes because they were so difficult to read about. The thing I hated most about this book was the writing. It was so sloppy. Not only was the style just awkward but the timeline was all over the place, I literally mean EVERYWHERE. From when he was rescued to before he was abused to when he was abused to when he was an adult and everywhere in between. There was no rhyme or reason and sometimes it just switched with no warning.

However, one thing I started questioning at the end of this book was why this author wanted to be in the spotlight after so many years of abuse. Why wouldn't he just want to live a quiet life? After reading reviews on Goodreads, I found many accusations that this entire story is just a bunch of fabricated events. I don't really believe that and I think without any evidence that's probably very hurtful to him especially with so much he's endured in his life. I mean the things in this book were truly terrifying. I understand him wanting to advocate for the cause but I'm not sure I understand the desire to make money off of it, do you understand what I'm saying? I'm not trying to come off as condescending, but I just don't personally get it.

“Childhood should be carefree, playing in the sun; 
not living a nightmare in the darkness of a soul"

If you are a YA reader, I don't think this book is off-limits to you. I know a lot of people who read this book in middle school, so it's definitely not restricted to one age group. While this book was a hard one to get through, I know why I had to read this for school since I'll be seeing and dealing with child abuse cases first hand. I do want to read more books about child abuse, so if you have recommendations of any good ones that you've read - please let me know!

- Jocelyn

1 comment:

  1. Great review. I see this book on the shelf every time I go to Walmart. I’ve picked it up a few times, but I’ve never bought it because I’ve also heard that the writing is terrible. I don’t have a lot of patience for bad writing.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!