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.
The word ‘love’ is an ambiguous word to use in this situation for many reasons. There is no way to actually feel love towards a memoir in which the content is so brutally described. The honesty in which situations are described makes those who read it feel a form of compassion for the child, though mostly hatred of the situation in which that co passion is brought forth. Did that make sense?
When I was recommended this book by coworkers, they all described how they cried and cried over the trials and tribulations that this small boy had to go through in his young life. Now I am some kind of sadist for I didn’t cry, but don’t let that be an indication of the impact this book has one someone. I finished the whole thing in less than six hours. Was that because I wanted the happy ending that I know he got? Or was it because I wanted the torture of reading of his life to end? Either way, this was an empowering piece of literature. This is a graphic book depicting the torture filled life that David lived, and I suggest that you be in a good place mentally before reading this book. It can be very hard at times to realize that these things have happened to someone.
This truly is a heartbreaking book that will leave you questioning what the human race can actually accomplish. However, Dave’s resilience will have you eager to accept that your faith in humanity can be restored as quickly as it was broken. He shows you that even though he went through so much, he was able to accomplish so much as well. He never let his past defeat him; in fact, he let his past push him farther ahead.
I would warn you to be emotionally prepared when you read this book, because it can cause quite a lit of distress, and has a lot of dangerous triggers that might upset you. But if you can overcome your own difficulties to read this, then you can help Dave through his while reading this from the voice of a child- a child raised to be called ‘It’. I give this book a solid 4 stars. I believe the writing itself is what kept it from being a 5-star book as it was a bit simple for my taste. The story was incredible, but it was the writing itself that could have used some work.