A Child Called "it"

A Child Called "it"

One Child's Courage to Survive

Book - 1995
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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.
Publisher: Deerfield Beach, Fla. : Health Communications, c1995.
ISBN: 9781558743663
Branch Call Number: 362.76 Pelzer
Characteristics: xi, 184 p. ;,19 cm.


From Library Staff

This story made me cry. Really hard.

Really easy read. This is very popular at the Juvenile Detention Center. It is the true story of some of the most horrific child abuse I have ever heard. David, called "it" by his family is treated as an unwanted dog, he is beaten, starved, and emotionally abused by the people who sh... Read More »

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Sep 26, 2019

I'm not sure ratings of "like", "love" and "hate" exactly apply to a book like this. Yes, it was gruesomely compelling -- I had to know how he got away -- but I'm like other reviewers, I don't think I can bring myself to read books two and three. Like the book Fifty Shades of Gray, you'll have those who give "It" a one star because of the less-than-stellar writing and "how can this possibly be true" story, and those who give it five stars because it's a can't-put-down train wreck of a story and very eye-opening to what might, conceivably, be happening that we're not even aware of. I count myself as fortunate that I've never ever come across anything this horrid in my many circles of interactions. I'm with other reviewers, I despise the father character perhaps most of all. What I cannot, simply cannot, understand is why the other children in the family were not treated the same way, why all the mother's hatred had to be dished out on one poor kid. WHY THAT KID? Inexcusable. Unforgivable. I don't think this loving mom can take reading beyond story one.

sisnarf Mar 13, 2019

This book was sad and made me cry, but it was a great read. I could not put this book down.

Jun 19, 2018

I couldn't put this book down. I knew nothing about child abuse before reading A Child Call "It," and I'm so glad I read it. Dave's beautifully writes of a terrible and sad time in his life, but his story is inspiring. I would recommend this book to anyone I know.

Sep 21, 2017

This book was a very hard read one it brought back ptsd flashbacks from my childhood abuse it was a hard read due to that.
Dave went through immense abuse from his mother who would turn his family against him and abuse his father emotionally as well. He accounts from a child as how people would turn a blind eye to the horrific abuse he suffered. At times it seems he would not survive and its amazing to hear a tale so insane. As a reader you realize the narrative is from a child who is aware of his emotions and the break down of his mental and physical state.
I don't recommend this book to those who have survived strong child hood abuse as it may bring back old feelings and could lead to ptsd episodes. I do recommend this book to those who are studying psychology and is going into a profession of child care to fully understand what abuse looks like and what can be done to help.

Sep 18, 2017

A 17 year old foster child in our home said this was her favorite book.

Sep 16, 2017

Less-than-stellar editing made this book choppy, but Dave Pelzer's personal story is nonetheless compelling and heartbreaking.

May 06, 2016

I read this because my teacher said it was a good book and recommended it to me. I had to hold in my tears. This book is amazing.

s2james Sep 08, 2015

This book makes you reflect on the things one takes for granted in life. Tears, anger, sadness, were a few emotions that surfaced throughout reading the book. The fact that is is based on a true story makes it more empowering. Must read!!

Aug 03, 2015

Very sad but its also a must read. an amzing book

ss1989 Jun 06, 2015

Reading this book bought back a lot of bad memories as a survivor of child abuse myself. Familiar with violent and abusive parents the mother's actions were shocking enough however early on I could not believe the father who did not perpetuate but actively witnessed the abuse could allow such things to happen to their own child. Then drawing parallels to my own history of abuse I understood that it is not so uncommon for one parent to be the abuser and the other silent parent the enabler.

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Add Age Suitability
brown_bear_418 Mar 14, 2017

brown_bear_418 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

violet_butterfly_2506 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 9 and 20

taznem98 Aug 03, 2013

taznem98 thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

violet_butterfly_2937 Jul 02, 2013

violet_butterfly_2937 thinks this title is suitable for All Ages

whitneych Jun 26, 2013

whitneych thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 12 and 22

violet_panda_813 May 28, 2013

violet_panda_813 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

yellow_butterfly_335 May 13, 2013

yellow_butterfly_335 thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

black_bat_1936 Feb 18, 2013

black_bat_1936 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

blue_butterfly_805 Jul 19, 2012

blue_butterfly_805 thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

white_panda_194 Jul 07, 2012

white_panda_194 thinks this title is suitable for 11 years and over

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taznem98 Aug 03, 2013

"Children are not our property, and they are not ours to control any more that we were our parents' property or theirs to control."

SAPPHIREBEAR15 Jun 23, 2012

“I was abused my family was the "brady bunch”

SAPPHIREBEAR15 Jun 23, 2012

As I stand facing the beauty of the never-ending Pacific Ocean, a late afternoon breeze blows down from the hills behind. As always, it is a beautiful day. The sun is making its final descent. The magic is about to begin. The skies are ready to burn with brilliance, as it turns from a soft blue to a bright orange. Looking towards the West, I stare in awe at the hypnotic power of the waves. A giant curl begins to take form, then breaks with a thundering clap as it crashes on the shore.”

SAPPHIREBEAR15 Jun 23, 2012

“i will stay alive.”

SAPPHIREBEAR15 Jun 23, 2012

“I told myself no matter what she did i would not let the b**** take me down”

SAPPHIREBEAR15 Jun 23, 2012

“Even in its darkest passages, the heart is unconquerable. It is important that the body survives, but it is more meaningful that the human spirit prevails.”

SAPPHIREBEAR15 Jun 23, 2012

“It is important for people to know that no matter what lies in theri past, they can overcome the dark side and press on the a brighter world.”

SAPPHIREBEAR15 Jun 23, 2012

“At night I no longer dreamed, nor did I let my imagination work during the day. The once vibrant escapes of watching myself fly through the clouds in bright blue costumes, were now a thing of the past. When I fell asleep, my soul became consumed in a black void. I no longer awoke in the mornings refreshed; I was tired and told myself that I had one day less to live in this world. I shuffled through my chores, dreading every moment of every day. With no dreams, I found that words like hope and faith were only letters, randomly put together into something meaningless - words only for fairy tales. ”

SAPPHIREBEAR15 Jun 23, 2012

“Inside, my soul became so cold I hated everything. I even despised the sun, for I knew I would never be able to play in its warm presence. I cringed with hate whenever I heard other children laughing, as they played outside. My stomach coiled whenever I smelled food that was about to be served to somebody else, knowing it wasn't for me.”

SAPPHIREBEAR15 Jun 23, 2012

“One could come from less than humble beginnings, to become a winner from within.”

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Aug 29, 2015

This book is a first hand recollection of child abuse. Must have a tough stomach to read.


based on how this book sounded it reminded me of the movie the color purple. there was so much abuse that this little boy went through. not to mention how bad his childhood was I don think I could ever have a mother who smokes all day and doesn't feed her children it seems so unethical. and to top it all off she makes him wear the same clothes for the past 2 years and takes abuse to the highest but the way how the author described what the child life was like can leave you in a state of confusion

jk15_0 Jan 14, 2013

Dave Pelzer, at around 5 years old started getting abused. He didn't feel like he was loved and the mother seemed like she wanted to kill him.He had to do chores and was starved, couldn't play with his brothers, couldn't play at all, and mostly got hit, punched, kicked, and other horrible things.

violet_cobra_28 Jun 27, 2012

This book is about a boy who had it all a loving family,a home to go home to,food on the table ,and much more.....Until his mother gets and drinks. He has got brutally beaten by his mother (She stabed him, made him put his hands on the stove ,made him eat him baby brothers waste, and much more.) But an the end he no longer has to live like that.

didi115 Jun 27, 2012

This book is about a boy who once lived in a loving enviroment untill his mom got sick and drank. He started to suffer. He never took showers, sometimes gets to eat his brothers left overs if he completed his chores in the time he was given, he face harsh punishments like being locked in a bathroom with harsh chemicals. Even through all the hard things Dave was able to act tough and get through it every morning. He never tells anyone and he still loves his mother very much even through every thing she has done to him.

SAPPHIREBEAR15 Jun 23, 2012

[This book] is [an] 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 torturous, unpredictable games - games that left him nearly dead. He had

tt14 Jun 18, 2012

Dave gets abused by his mother . The teachers want to do something about it by cant because this is consider discipline your child 1920’s. Dave got rescues from this mother’s womb in 1970’s I believe.


Add Notices
Sep 08, 2015

Frightening or Intense Scenes: There are very intense and graphic scenes described regarding the abuse that the author underwent as a child.

Sep 08, 2015

Violence: The child abuse described in this book is violent and graphic.

didi115 Jun 27, 2012

Coarse Language: Not that much though.

Cecily1998 Jan 22, 2012

Violence: Some parts may be very disturbing

Cecily1998 Jan 22, 2012

Coarse Language: Words that may not be suitable for children

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