A Child Called It is a book written by Dave Pelzer. Dave writes this book as an abused child who went through a horrific experience. In the first part, he writes how he was horribly beaten, and even forced to swallow his own vomit, ammonia, and even soap. Dave writes about the horrors children go through when abused. A Child Called It is an unforgettable account of an abused child who was brutally beaten, burned, starved, and tortured with an unstable alcoholic mother. A child Called It is an incredible emotional story where the author describes how he endured unthinkable suffering and abuse from his own mother who hated him for no reason. Dave provides a detailed account of the neglect and abuse as well as the emotions, struggles, and the pain he had to cope with in order to survive. Later on Dave was able to be freed from his hateful mother and the hell of life he was living in.
A Child Called It is written from a child’s perspective. Dave’s book is an eye-opener on how children are even abused by their own mothers. Child abuse is not something new in our society as it occurs everywhere. Many cases of child abuse stay unreported, as the society and the people around do not care (Crosson-Tower 47). This book is about the struggles of a young boy who was put through hard times. Dave was a victim of child abuse for a period of about 13 years, when he was removed out of his abusive home. Dave was treated badly compared to his brothers, but he never gave up, but fought to rise above it all. Even though he had lost hope in his dreams and doubted humankind, Dave was able to overcome this trauma and make his life better.
Dave and his brothers Stan and Ronald lived a normal happy life while still young. They lived happily with their mom and dad, however things changed as years passed by. Their parents became alcoholics with their Dad never coming home due to alcohol In addition, Dave’s mother resorted to alcohol in order to get through the day and forget about his husband never coming home. Life changed so much for Dave’s family as their mother became so mean to them. His anger was diverted to Dave as he made him do many house chores and she even pits his brothers against him. Dave’s life became so miserable, because he was no longer the happy boy he was. Dave had a hard time in his life due to his parents’ alcoholism and her mother’s hatred towards him.
His mother’s hatred towards him grew as the days went by and she even wished him dead. She treated Dave as a slave and not as a son that she gave birth to and once loved and took good care of him before she turned into an alcoholic. At times, his father tried to defend him from his mother. At a young age Dave, had to go through many hardships with her mother telling him on the face that she hates him. In addition to wishing him dead, Dave’s mother put him through physical abuse and pain day by day. She even forced him to sleep in the basement in a small army cot away from the family. Dave’s life shows how their own parents abuse young children. Among other things, his own mother, forced to drink bleach, dishwashing detergent, and even ammonia, stabbed Dave (Dave 98). Moreover, her mother made him sit in a bathroom full of chemicals, put him in freezing cold water for several hours and burnt with an open fire from a stove. The trauma Dave faced could have led to the death of any child at his age, but he was strong for himself because he had dreams to fulfill in his life.
Over the years, his mother with severe physical abuse victimized Dave. In addition, Dave Pelzer’s mother was neglectful, as she never cared about his son. She went to an extent of denying him food regularly and even starved him for several weeks. Not to mention, she could even force Dave to vomit anything he has eaten away from home after she denied him food. This is inhumane because, she treated her own son like an animal. During the incident where she stabbed him, she denied him medical attention and left him to die, but Dave was brave enough to fight and keep on living (Dave 67). Dave’s mother singled him out from the rest of the family and isolated him emotionally and physically away from the other siblings. However, Dave Pelzer looked for ways to endure and cope up with his mother’s abuse and negligence. He decided to become emotionally numb and strong to her attacks and torture. Dave was the main target from the rest of the siblings, but her mother gives no reason for that. Maybe we can blame it to her alcohol addiction.
Dave’s case is like many other cases of child negligence and abuse that remain unreported. Dave was only a child, and this is an enough reason as to why he never deserved that maltreatment from his mother. Many child abuse cases are not reported and many children end up losing their lives because of the torture they go through in the hands of their abusers (Crosson-Tower 102). Dave could have been among the children who die from abuse from parents, if his school nurse did not intervene. Dave was suffering emotionally, physically, and psychologically from the abuse from his mother, but he had no one to defend him. He was struggling on his own in order to survive and not to die from the harsh treatment he received from his mother.
A Child Called It Proves that, there is a relationship between alcohol and violence. Initially, Dave’s mother took good care of her children until when she started drinking alcohol when her husband never showed up home. Her frustrations directed her to her own son whom he inflicted suffering upon for no reason. Alcohol and violence relate because, when Dave’s mother never used to take alcohol, he was not violent, the violence in her came about because of alcohol. Dave's mother was driven by alcohol whole she was mishandling her son.
David narrates a compelling account whereby he is able to overcome his struggles. Dave was a young boy who faced grueling and hateful attacks from the woman who gave birth to him. His alcoholism made her an inhumane person who treated her son badly without any human feelings. However, David is a brave boy who courageously faces all her abuse and will ups his mental fortitude to outsmart her at her own game. His will to survive kept him safe even without food for some time, and even with wounds after being pushed down the stairs to die, he was able to wake up and dress his wounds to heal.
Dave’s account is horrifying because of what her mother lets him go through. He was a fighter who had a will to survive despite the circumstance. He was physically and mentally abused and even left to die in cold water, but his will to stay alive kept him alive. Dave’s life show how children are neglected and abused by their parents. The book leaves the reader confused, disturbed, and angry about the events in the story. This is a young boy who has committed no crime, but he suffers immensely in the hands of his own mother, who should be protecting him. To imagine a mother burning, stabbing, forcing his own son to eat his own vomit and pushing him to fall down the stairs to die is very disturbing. Child abuse and negligence is real in many households only that it remains unreported and therefore, no one knows what innocent children are forced to go through with their parents or caregivers (Crosson-Tower 98). This book would make any reader to just want to protect all the children they come across and hope that nothing like what happened to Dave will ever happen to them. Seriously, how can a mother treat her own child like this? It is traumatic, but Dave was brave enough to overcome this trauma because of his will to live. Dave’s mother treated him badly while he nurtured the rest of the children, what an irony? Some of the events in this book are shocking and disturbing and can leave one crying after seeing what Dave goes through while his siblings are just treated in the right way. It is also funny that his mother treats him so badly, yet his father pays no attention to what is happening. Taking Dave to a foster home was the best thing that ever happened to him. He was now free from the physical and emotional torture from his mother.
Dave’s life as a child affected his future life. His life shows how child abuse affects the future life of a child. First, it makes them become violent and can end up abusing the people around them. In the case of Dave, when he moved to the foster home, his life changed completely. He became hostile and rebellious because of the life he had been through. His rebellion can be seen when he and his friend set the school on fire and he was sent to juvenile (Pelzer79). Child abuse affects the future life of a child because the trauma they face. Most children who are abused at a tender age end up being abusive and indulge in undesirable and devious behaviors. Dave acted abnormally while in the foster home maybe, because he felt free and this made him hyperactive.
Dave’s book is a warning to parents abusing their children In addition, it is an alert to parents to ensure that they treat their children in the right way and protect them from any abuses.
In conclusion, A Child Called It is a book about the psychological trauma faced by a young boy named Dave. His alcoholic mother physically and mentally abused Dave. In addition, he was separated from his siblings and sent to sleep in a basement because his mother hated him. His mother tells him, “You are a nobody! An It! You are nonexistent! You are a bastard child! I hate you and I wish you were dead!” (Dave 125). He went through traumatic experiences from torture, being burnt on fire from the stove and even being forced to eat his own vomit. Dave’s mother was an alcoholic who never cared about his son’s feelings. He bruised his son and created many scars on his body, but Dave was determined to live. He says, “Mother can beat me all she wants, but I haven’t let her take away my will to somehow survive” (4). He was abused by his mother and treated less than human, but Dave never ceased to preserve his own life and sanity. Dave struggled to stay alive in a house he was unwanted and mistreated. He was treated like an animal, but Dave still struggled to stay alive and overcome all the abuses from his mother.
Pelzer, Dave. A Child Called "It": One Child's Courage to Survive. California: Health Communications, 1995. Print.
Pelzer, Dave. A child called “it.” An abused child’s journey from victim and victor. London: Orion Books Limited, 2008. Print.
Crosson-Tower, Cynthia. Understanding Child Abuse and Neglect, 9th Edition. New York: Pearson, 2014. Print.