9781558743663

A Child Called It : One Child's Courage to Survive

by
  • ISBN13:

    9781558743663

  • ISBN10:

    1558743669

  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 10/1/1995
  • Publisher: Health Communications Inc

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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 Biography

Dave Pelzer is recognized as one of the nation's most effective and respected communicators addressing corporate groups, conventions and human-service professionals. Dave's unique accomplishments have garnered personal commendations from former Presidents Ronald Reagan and George Bush. In 1993 Dave was honored as one of the Ten Outstanding Young Americans and in 1994 was the only American to be honored as one of The Outstanding Young Persons of the World. Dave was also selected as a Torchbearer for the 1996 Olympic Torch Relay. Dave has dedicated his life to helping others help themselves.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Author's Notes xi
The Rescue
1(14)
Good Times
15(12)
Bad Boy
27(18)
The Fight for Food
45(36)
The Accident
81(18)
While Father is Away
99(30)
The Lord's Prayer
129(26)
Epilogue 155(6)
Perspectives on Child Abuse 161(16)
Resources for Help 177

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.

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Customer Reviews

sad but a reality September 16, 2012
by
i read this book when i was in tenth grade in high school its hard to believe that there is really abuse like that, that happens to children and teens. every page was very detailed and heart breaking!i commend this very brave and strong hero because he must have re lived all the events and painful memories as he wrote each detail.
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A Child Called It : One Child's Courage to Survive: 4 out of 5 stars based on 1 user reviews.

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