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

· Sold by Simon and Schuster
3.7K reviews

About this ebook

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.

Ratings and reviews

3.7K reviews
GClair Frank
December 17, 2023
Read this book in middle school. I never really understood the concept (as a young dumb child, I was). Then, there were moments of memory of this book in my life I kept being drawn back to. Finally finished and understood the hardship, abuse, and everything Dave did to survive. I would read it again.
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A2LHuncho Tube
September 12, 2016
David Pelzer suffered from and survived the third worst case of child abuse in California. After living through his nightmare, he managed to re-visit his childhood and write the autobiography. A Child Called "It", portrays his life from when his family life was too perfect, to when each day he woke up to fight to stay alive. Throughout the book he tells of his abuse, life at home, and his only hope of living, his father. As the story progresses and the severity of David's abuse grows worse every day, he comes to the same decision; do I fight to live or hope to die? With the exception of the first chapter, the rest of David's life is told as a flashback. The fact that the book begins with David's rescue gives you reassuring hope that soon his torture will end. The way in which David Pelzer writes, matures at the same rate as his age and character. In many instances, this makes you feel David's pain and torture David was born to something commonly known as the "Perfect Family". His early childhood was spent on trips to the Golden Gate Bridge and Russian River where they would go camping for weeks at a time. He was born to a loving and devoted mother, a proud and brave father, and two brothers that only exceeded his own age by a few years. For whatever reason, he never explained what exactly had started his abuse. He mentions his parent's love of drinking, yet it was never mentioned to be at a cause of his dramatic lifestyle change. When the abuse begins, he tells us how he remembers his parents fighting. Yet even their marital issues never seemed to have gotten in the way of their love for their children. Throughout the book he never formally addresses a specific cause to the start of what he once thought would be the end of his life. As his mother stripped him of his very own humanity, his spiritual self was all he had left to keep himself alive. His father, who he once thought would someday save him, slowly faded out of his life. When his dad finally moved out, David hated the world. He claimed that his far worst enemy was God, for not answering any of his prayers. David learned to hate anyone that knew of his situation, yet failed to help him. David Pelzer also learns to become his own hero. He knew that if he didn't have his own heard, he would die. Yet there were times when he even doubted that much. There are points in the book where he describes waking up and hoping that today would be the day she finally killed him and woke him from his never ending nightmare. This compelling story will take its reader from heart-wrenching torture and discipline, to David Pelzer's rescue and recovery of his own life. I think a person that would best enjoy this type of book is a person who likes true story's, action, survival, and the feel of them being in the book due to all the imagery.
101 people found this review helpful
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brenda zendejas
January 15, 2016
This book is just... wow. It's so crazy and sad everything David went through at such a young age. Such an emotional book. I cried in certain parts and got mad at his mother for treating him the way she did.. really heart breaking. Can't wait to read the second and third books
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About the author

Dave Pelzer has experienced a truly adventurous extraordinary life. At age 12, Dave was rescued and placed in a series of foster homes until he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force at age 18. As a member of the armed forces, Dave was hand-picked to midair refuel the then highly secretive SR-71 Blackbird and the F-117 Stealth Fighter.

Some of Dave’s distinctive accomplishments have been recognized through several prestigious awards, as well as personal commendations from four U.S. Presidents. In 1993, Dave was honored as one of the Ten Outstanding Young Americans, joining a distinguished group including John F. Kennedy and Walt Disney. In 1994, Dave was the only American to be honored as The Outstanding Young Persons of the World! In 2005, Dave was the recipient of the National Jefferson Award, which is considered the Pulitzer Prize of public service.

Unbeknownst to the general public, from 2006 to 2010, while at extreme risk plus using his own time and expense, Dave spent weeks at a time visiting the troops in the Middle East and South West Asia, providing counseling and comedic presentations to embedded troops.

For nearly a decade, when not on the road speaking, performing radio presentations, or offering counseling services, Dave serves his community as a volunteer Fire Captain for two separate districts. He has served in many explosive fires, floods, and other natural disasters. For his efforts, Dave was twice selected as Volunteer Firefighter of the Year.

Dave is the author of nine inspirational books. Dave’s first book, A Child Called “It” was on the New York Times Best Sellers List for a record setting six years. His books were on the same Best Sellers List well over twelve years. Dave was the first author to have four # 1 International Best Sellers and to have four books simultaneously on the New York Times Best Sellers List.

Dave is a living testament of a self-made man who has dedicated his life to helping others . . . to help themselves. He is the host of the podcast, The Dave Pelzer Show, providing humor, advice, and tools to help listeners make positive, productive changes. Visit: www.davepelzer.com.

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