Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A Child Called “It” by Dave Pelzer

This is the true story of child abuse told from the mouth of a man that lived it. A Child Called “It” is Dave Pelzer’s account of life as the child that was the outlet for his alcoholic, emotionally unstable mother’s frustration with life. Never called by name, starved almost to death, and hidden away in the basement for years of his life, Dave Pelzer overcame this living nightmare to write a series of books about his life. This is the first in the series of three. It focuses on his childhood up to the fifth grade when observant teachers helped to bring his abuse to an end.

I was disgusted while reading this book. Not with the book, but with the fact that it is nonfiction. It’s rare that I read a nonfiction book, but when a fellow teacher told me how this book changed her way of thinking about her students, there was no way I could walk away from it. If you work with children in any way, you must read this book. It will make you angry. It will make you sick, but you must find the strength to read it. The fact that this woman was able to torment this child for so long without anyone knowing had me looking at each of my students with fresh eyes. It made me see that I need to understand their lives outside of school in order to understand their performance inside my classroom.

Underneath the wretchedness of this story is a theme of determination and perseverance that will steal your heart. Little David’s ability to hold on to hope is inspiring. To survive reading this book I had to keep reminding myself that it would be okay, he would live to write his story. I was able to keep reading because I knew he was going to make it. Where did he find his strength?

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