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A Child Called It

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As a child Dave Pelzer was brutally beaten and starved by his emotionally unstable, alcoholic mother; a mother who played tortuous, unpredictable games that left one of her sons nearly dead. She no longer considered him a son, but a slave; no longer a boy, but an 'it'. His bed was an old army cot in the basement, his clothes were torn and smelly, and when he was allowed the luxury of food it was scraps from the dogs' bowl. The outside world knew nothing of the nightmare played out behind closed doors. Dave dreamed of finding a family to love him and call him their son. It took years of struggle, deprivation and despair to find his dreams and make something of himself. A Child Called 'It' covers the early years of his life and is an affecting and inspiration memoir of one child's determination to survive.

In most of my classes I’ve always heard that your parents are the most important people in your life and I truly believe this. People are affected by everything their parents say and do both in childhood and later on in adulthood. If a child is constantly looked down upon and made to believe that nothing they do is good enough, chances are they will grow up believing this and having low confidence. It is remarkable that a child David’s age fought himself from breaking down, dissolving into tears and giving up hope for a better future. David constantly worked towards or rather survived because of a dream, a dream t hat he was a prince and that everyone loved him. It was this strong belief and sense that he was not “bad” that allowed him to survive and escape his torturous existence.

You may remember that in training we emphasize how many abused and neglected children remain so attached to their families that they want to live with them at any cost. This was not Dave Pelzer's experience. He grew to hate his mother for singling him out for systematic torture. His anger helped him survive: "I wanted to show The Bitch that she could beat me only if I died, and I was determined not to give in, even to death." (91)

After a visit from his mother at his foster home, David decides to take back all of the things he told Mrs. Gold about his mother. He lied and told her that all the stories about his mother beating him and mistreating him were untrue and that he really was a bad child. As much as Mrs. Gold tried to reassure him David continued to lie and yell at Mrs. Gold. "David, you have to understand that in a person’s life there are a few precious moments in which decisions, choices that you make now, will effect you for the rest of your life" (57). This explains the ethical dilemma that David was put in. Although he wanted to free himself from the pain of his mother he also did not want to hurt his family.

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