A Child Called "It" by Dave Pelzer

Title: A Child Called "It"
Author: Dave Pelzer
Series: Dave Pelzer's Trilogy #1
Source: Bought
Format: Paperback
Pages: 170 pages
Genre: Memoir
Overall Rating:

Synopsis (from the book cover):
As a child, Dave Pelzer was brutally beaten and starved by his emotionally unstable, alcoholic mother, a mother who played tortuous, unpredictable games that left one of her sons nearly dead. She no longer consider him a son, but a slave; no longer a boy, but an 'it'. His bed was an old army cot in the basement, his clothes were torn and smelly, and, when he was allowed the luxury of food it was scraps from the dogs' bowl. The outside world knew nothing of this nightmare plated out behind closed doors. Dave dreamed of finding a family to love him and call him their son. It took years of struggle, deprivation and despair to find his dream and make something of himself in the world. A Child Called 'It' covers the early years of his life and is an affecting and inspirational memoir of one child's determination to survive.   
When I first picked up this book, I never know that reading it would be this traumatic. It is a very short read but I seriously have to say that it is not the kind of book that you read for pleasure. Some parts of it were very disturbing, which when coupled with vivid details of the abuse that the author had to endure, making it one of the most depressing books I ever read.

A Child Called “It” portrayed the childhood life of Dave Pelzer, where he was severely abused by his own mother. The way it was done was very sickening to the point where I feel like vomiting and crying. What kind of mother that willing to let her own son sleep with an empty stomach? What kind of mother that has a heart to beat her son till he passed out? What kind of mother that so sick till she can feed her son with poisonous stuffs? I cannot help thinking about all these questions throughout the book. The thing that I feel disturbing most was the fact that his father witnessed his son being abused but never once stood up for him. The way the author described his feeling towards his father’s indifferent behaviour was really heartbreaking. I cannot imagine myself living in his shoes and even if I do, I don’t know if I would ever make it out of it alive. The way that the author prevailed through this adversity was utterly amazing.

With that being said, the high points given for this book is not because it was excellently written but more to the message that the author tried to convey in between the lines. I understand that there are some who question the credibility of his story as a whole but all I can say is that just because these heartbreaking events didn't occur in your life it doesn't mean that it won't happen to others. To me, this is a very good read in a sense that it makes me more appreciative of life and every other thing that have been trusted to me.

Heartbreaking quote:
Get one thing straight, you little son of a b*tch! There is nothing you can do to impress me! Do you understand me? You are a nobody! An It! You are nonexistent! You are a bastard child! I hate you and I wish you were dead! Dead! Do you hear me? Dead!


  1. OMG! i probably crying if i read this book..so,i reckon another sequel will be the lost boy right?

    p/s: reading you review already makes me depressed; a lot!

  2. Oh my! That sounds intense. I'm not sure my heart could take it. Sounds eye opening though!

  3. I just looked up the author. So sad. Poor man.

  4. @Darlyn: Yes, the 2nd book is "The Lost Boy" and the 3rd is "A Man Named Dave". I suppose that the last one wouldn't be too hard to read as it described more about his adult life. But we shall see. I have those two on my shelf now, will read them next week, perhaps =)

    @Juju: You're right. It's very eye opening as I don't think that things like this ever cross deeply into my mind. But tonight, it really make me think - A LOT!

  5. I think this book was EXCELLENT, hard to read from content but just amazing.

    You may also enjoy Dibs, In Search of Self

    Great review.

    Your quote made me relieve the feeling of the book again but shows how intense this book is.

    Again great review.

    I didn't realise the author had other books.

  6. hye Shy,

    i cried when i was reading this book.for the sequel i cant read no more as i can feel d 'pain'.

  7. This sounds like a really intense and heart-wrenching story. I'd love to read it, though I know I'd probably be moved to tears by it.

  8. @MarceJ, Khairiyah, Hazra: Thanks for stopping by ladies. You were right there, this book was very intense and I seriously cannot fathom how such horrid thing could happened to someone this young. So sickening and frustrating :(

  9. Sounds so sad...but interesting. I dont know if i will try this one, but I enjoyed reading your review!

  10. yes.I have read this book and it made me cringe at many times ! Its really difficult to understand that how a mother or rather any woman can be so cruel to any child whatsoever the case is ?!!

  11. I remember when this book came out. I'm flabbergasted at the idea that some doubt his story-don't. Sadistic parents exist, sorry to say that I know it from experience. Almost none of these abused children end up writing about it but there are a lot more of them out there than you think. Thanks for reviewing this.

  12. I read this book a long time ago, and it broke my heart. Your review is spot on, and truly, it is a great book.

    P.S. In response to your comment on my post, yes, I liked Wicked Lovely, but I think I actually liked Ink Exchange better :)

  13. I read this one a long time ago...I loved it I remember, I should read it again it's heart breaking but it's a WOW read! Great review!

  14. Thank you for participating in The Saturday Network!
    And great review. This definitely sounds like a short read I usually wouldn't pick up, but I'm glad to hear you liked it so much. The quote is truly heartbreaking; poor thing.

  15. OMG!
    I felt sad just reading the synopsis.
    Personally, I am not into these types of book but I guess I'll try by reading this book.

  16. Sounds heartbreaking and you are right we never stop and think about things like this really happens in other people life. I just don't know if I would read this but for sure is a great review!

  17. I dont understand y his mother so cruel to him. wut was in her head?? i've read that Dave has a mental problem, effect from being abused by his own mother..dunno right or wrong.it's in shelfari books discussion.

  18. Oh that quote brought it all back again. I've read the 1st two of his books and they are so heartbreaking. Seriously good review!

  19. @Teddyree: Thank you so much! This is one of the few books that I don't think I'll be able to forget my whole life. I'm sure those who read it knows why.

  20. Great review!

    I read something similar, One Child by Torey Hayden, last year. This was written by a teacher about an abused little girl she taught. It was heartbreaking. I'm not sure if I'll ever be able to read something else like it, but I do think it's important that we all read something on the subject.

  21. That quote is chilling and heart wrenching. :-( Thanks for your excellent review. My daughter read this book several years ago, and she still talks about this man's childhood experiences.

  22. I read this last year - and I agreed that his writing wasn't the best, but the story was heartbreaking. I kept asking myself how could the parents do that to their kid?

    If you like reading this type of memoir (growing up in dysfunctional family) you may want to try The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls and Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs.

    Another one that I recommend is Three Little Words by Ashley Rhodes-Courter. She grew up in foster care and it's heartbreaking and inspirational at the same time.

    (ummm it makes me sound like I read a lot of books of dysfunctional families! Perhaps by reading them I feel like my family is rather normal...)

  23. Just hopping by and have become a new follower. Please feel free to visit me and do the same here .

    I read this one a few years back, and boy was it hard to take. It is the sort of book that makes you appreciate life and those that you love.

  24. I will be reading this soon, and I agree with you. People may find it hard to believe (and as a parent, I simply can't understand why people abuse their children), but there are children every single day being abused and neglected and not treasured the way they should be. My older daughters tell me that even though we had our rumbles when they were rebellious teenagers, they're happy that God put them with me. Living in the city, we see many children whose parent(s) think of them as nothing more than a hindrance, and who knows what goes on behind closed doors? This will be a hard read for me, but one that I think should open people's eyes.