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A Child Called It: One Child's Courage to Survive [Paperback]

Dave Pelzer
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,419 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Sept. 1 1995

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.


Frequently Bought Together

A Child Called It: One Child's Courage to Survive + The Lost Boy: A Foster Child's Search for the Love of a Family + A Man Named Dave
Price For All Three: CDN$ 35.70


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Product Description

From Amazon

David J. Pelzer's mother, Catherine Roerva, was, he writes in this ghastly, fascinating memoir, a devoted den mother to the Cub Scouts in her care, and somewhat nurturant to her children--but not to David, whom she referred to as "an It." This book is a brief, horrifying account of the bizarre tortures she inflicted on him, told from the point of view of the author as a young boy being starved, stabbed, smashed face-first into mirrors, forced to eat the contents of his sibling's diapers and a spoonful of ammonia, and burned over a gas stove by a maniacal, alcoholic mom. Sometimes she claimed he had violated some rule--no walking on the grass at school!--but mostly it was pure sadism. Inexplicably, his father didn't protect him; only an alert schoolteacher saved David. One wants to learn more about his ordeal and its aftermath, and now he's written a sequel, The Lost Boy, detailing his life in the foster-care system.

Though it's a grim story, A Child Called "It" is very much in the tradition of Chicken Soup for the Couple's Soul and the many books in that upbeat series, whose author Pelzer thanks for helping get his book going. It's all about weathering adversity to find love, and Pelzer is an expert witness.

From School Library Journal

Grade 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
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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First Sentence
5 March 1973, Daly City, California - I'm late. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly horrifying and yet uplifting Feb. 15 2005
By J.Jones
Format:Paperback
This story A CHILD CALLED IT by David Pelzer is about one child's courage to survive. It takes place in 1973 in Daily City, California where there is a child being abused physically and mentally by his own mother. At first he lives a wonderful life with his whole family but one day all of that changed drastically. His mother beat him and actually told him that she hated him. Hate is a very strong word for a child seven or eight years old. As the story goes on in the book he tries to survive his mother's strong words and beatings. This story is sad but very inspirational to all. I recommend that all people should read this book because it shows a lot about parenting and childhood. If you're not deterred by child abuse and enjoyed such books as BARK OF THE DOGWOOD (Though that book is sometimes actually funny), then you'll like this Pelzer book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Survivor of Child Abuse April 12 2007
By Sam
Format:Paperback
As a survivor of child abuse I found this book very emotional. This was a very good book that I think all adults need to read. Another really good book is This Can't Be Love! by Patricia Goins. That book had me glued to my seat, I couldn't put it down. As an adult with children I just don't understand how someone can hurt a defenseless child. Both of these books will take you into the world of an abused child.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A book called FANTASTIC!!! July 5 2005
Format:Paperback
A CHILD CALLED IT was an amazing book about one child's courage to survive. This is one of the most brutal child abuse cases I have ever heard of. Throughout this book you see how the abuse starts and stops. The narrator/author lets you inside of his mind so you can experience how he felt and what he thought when his mother is causing him so much pain. The main character, Dave Pelzer, is incredibly brave for such a young person. He does things and uses his mind in ways that people my age may not think of. His mother is emotionally unstable and is an alcoholic. She brutally beats and starves Dave as a form of entertainment. These epic tales bring you into the lives of children who have to experience the horrific tragedy of abuse from those that are supposed to love and care for them. After reading this book, I know that child abuse continues to occur and it must be stopped. You must also read the books SYBIL and THE BARK OF THE DOGWOOD to get completely different yet equally horrifying perspectives.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Unforgettable Nov. 4 2004
By A Customer
Format:Audio Cassette
This book tells the unforgettable story of a child of severe abuse. One of the worst cases probabably within the U.S. Dave Pelzer, who was brutally beaten and starved by his emotionally unstable mother, relates the story of his life. This is the first in a set of works written by Mr. Pelzer about his life. He relates to you even more about his life in his works "Lost Boy". You wonder how anyone could possibly come out of such abuse,let alone to become a respected author.
As a fan of memoirs, this is one of the most emotional books I have read. You will feel the anger and sadness...the feel of hopelessness as you read what this child had to endure. But, you also rally behind him-and await Mr. Pelzer's next books to see this courageous man overcome. Long after you have read this work, you will not be able to forget.
Along the lines of this book, "A Child Called It" and along with his other book that i have read "Lost Boy", you will also want to read "Nightmares Echo" and "Sickened". As each offers to you different perspectives of children that must endure the unbelievable and yet survive and inspire us with their works.
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5.0 out of 5 stars putting myself in his shoes July 15 2004
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
i am a 13 yaer old girl who was touched by the book. It breaks my heart to know that there are such crule people out in this world, not only a bad person in life but but in your family and to your own child. this boy has the heart of a lion and the courage to face it all out. To be able to survive such a misrible life such as his own takes a lot of bravery. As i read the book and looked back to some of the things that were writen and done to this boy put me in fear i mean what if your very own parents were to do that to you. Put yourself in his shoes and imagine what it would feel like to be treated with such disreaspect from your mother. I put myself in his shoes and felt the pain he must have been going through to be hit in the head and thrown against a wall every morning must have been very painful. I'm just glad to know that my parents are'nt like that. this book was touching and I'd read over a million times and would never stop feeling the pain he felt I recomend everybody to read this book because it is encouriging. It encouraged me to face out all my fears and the disapline my parents give me cause its nothing compared to his ........ so if he could face out all fear so can!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Living through hell and coming out a survivor. June 19 2004
Format:Paperback
I cried, literally, for hours after finishing this book. It is beyond remarkable that Dave Pelzer managed to survive his childhood, not just physically but mentally as well. I won't go into too much detail of the book itself, because I feel that it is necessary for the reader to experience these events for themselves. However, there is one particular event that occures that I just feel the need to share:
In one chapter, after hours of abuse, Dave gets stabbed in the chest by his sick, deranged mother. He turns to his father who takes one look at him and then dismisses him, by telling him to go do the dishes. It is just inconcievable to me that one can do this to any human being, but least of all, to your own child. It's just... No, I don't think there is a word strong enough.
Throughout this book I feel such a disgust towards the abusors of this child, that I don't consider them to be human beings. I think of them as monsters, but that still doesn't answer the nagging question of "Why?". I just want to reach into the pages of the book, pull out this horrid excuse of a "mother", shake her and scream "why?" until I get a satysfying answer. But I'm not sure there is one. How can there be? How can there possibly be any kind of reason for what Dave Pelzer had to endure? It turns my stomach, just thinking about it. And I'm glad it does. Because, while I feel absolutely sick reading about the vile things that was inflicted upon him, it is important that i *do* read about it. It's important that I know, that this *has* happened. And it's important that *you* do to.
Buy it now.
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
covers were smudged
Published 11 days ago by Rachelle Weber
5.0 out of 5 stars such a moving book
I have read this book probably 30 times. I had lent out my old book and it was never given back. I needed to replace. it is amazing to see what this child survived.
Published 2 months ago by stephanie
3.0 out of 5 stars Very dramatic but disappointing
This may have happened to Mr. Pelzer but I question some of his stories. I come from an abusive home and most people who have survived such do not portray the events in such a... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Charlotte
5.0 out of 5 stars absolutely horrifying.
the best and most heartbreaking, sickening book i have ever read. a must read book that you will never leave your brain and cause you to always think twice about every encouter you... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Kassidy
5.0 out of 5 stars Difficult but enlightening
This is not a book I would recommend as vacation reading. David's experience was horrific and terribly difficult to read. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Kristi
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Difficult Read
The most disturbing book I've ever read.

The descriptions of horrific child abuse had me cringing. Read more
Published on Feb. 15 2012 by RW Todd
5.0 out of 5 stars grammy61
This is truely one of the best books I have ever read. I have read it over a couple times. It is very sad, and hard to believe stuff like this really does happen to children. Read more
Published on Feb. 5 2012 by grammy 61
5.0 out of 5 stars A Child Called It
My book arrived on time and in mint condition for used, I am a big Amazon fan and continue to buy my books here. Thanks Amazon
Published on Nov. 15 2011 by Rhonda
3.0 out of 5 stars SAD STORY...POOR WRITTEN...
This is a first person story of horrific, prolonged child abuse. Unfortunately, the impact of the story is diminished by poor editing and amateurish writing that makes the story a... Read more
Published on Aug. 24 2010 by Lawyeraau
5.0 out of 5 stars A Child Called IT......Chilling
This book gave me goosebumps the entire time I read it. The book is quite short, I finished it in about 2 hours with having to repeatedly put it down so I could process some of... Read more
Published on July 9 2009 by C. Brucker
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