A Child Called "It" by David Pelzer Book Review


Dave Pelzer is a child who was abused and starved by his mother, he was often referred to as “It”, known as nothing to his own family. The abuse became so normal to David, his family started to believe it was all okay and didn't seem to have a problem with it. Every day when David woke up he wondered in what different ways would he get abused. Some days he even wished it would be his last, he thought that if he were dead all the pain would be gone and he wouldn’t have to see or deal with his mother again. Pelzer then wrote this book to show how a parent can become abusive and how the human spirit can still manage to survive. Abuse is a topic that is not the easiest to talk about, it often takes lots of courage to be able to speak the truth about what happened. This is so, because the fear of the sociopath finding out what was said, about them, can only lead to the child getting hurt even more. The book is written in the first person, allowing the reader to get all the details possible and get a feel of what he went through for most of his life. In the book, A Child Called "It", by David Pelzer, David uses the theme of abuse and family to show how victims can be overlooked and we should begin to appreciate more of the little things in life.

For many years the focus, the concept, and the physical beatings of abuse have been overlooked by many. The author uses abuse from the perspective of his own life to show how it can easily be overlooked and even misjudged by others. While several people tend to ignore abuse, Pelzer makes his point clear that it is not fair for anyone to experience or even witness abuse in their homes. A cover-up that is repeated often, “Accident. I am always supposed to say that” (Pelzer 6). David’s mom makes him lie about what she does to him. Every day it is something different and it is always to be told to be David’s fault, that he did something on “accident” and the mother continues to get away with it. This can be shown as abuse being overlooked because it took several years for David’s teachers to realize what was going on in his home life, they always believed that it was David’s fault. “... Mother controlled him like she controlled everything that happened in her house” (Pelzer 90). Everyone in David’s house overlooked abuse, or in other words, no one would stand up for what is right. They all began to just let it happen like it was a common thing. It got out of control, “... they took turns hitting me and appeared to enjoy throwing their weight around” (Pelzer 135). This is the main message of abuse being overlooked of even the most vulnerable, their mom made it seem like what she was doing was right and normal. David’s very own brothers began to do the same things as his mother would, treating him terribly and enjoying it while it is happening. Pelzer’s goal in the novel is that no matter how hard and tough your life may be, one must try to improve their situation and achieve a better life, as David did eventually. 

David Pelzer uses several literary devices throughout his novel to help develop his theme. He uses diction by giving exact words that his mother has called him. She once said, “You are a nobody! An It” (Pelzer 140). These words prove what kind of person his mother is and how she views her son. These hateful words began to make David lose faith, and feel like there was no God to ever help him, David even his own identity. He once said that “... I was never meant to be loved” (Pelzer 145). His mom used so much negative diction, making him feel worthless and as if he should not be living. The word choice causes the reader to feel the same ache that David once felt. He also uses imagery by giving a visual description of how he was abused. He included these to allow you to get a picture and an idea of what he went through and what it looked like from his side. Mother, “...shoved my head under the water” (Pelzer 112). David's mother put the water on cold, making him not able to pick it up until she said. She did this to amuse herself, seeing him in pain puts a smile on her face. When his heart is aching her heart is full and happy. “She slammed my face into the diaper and rubbed it from side to side” (Pelzer 56). His mom's way of punishing him, for no reason, was doing the most terrible and awful things. He gives us a clear image of the scene, while also developing the theme of abuse. 

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