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A Child Called It

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Essay title: A Child Called It

I was first reluctant to read this book, due to the fact that I, myself, have a child and could never imagine harming her in anyway. I must admit it was a very tough book to read. The trials and tribulations that David endures are cruel and demented. I could never being to imagine the suffering that his mother had put him through.

The book is about the author David Pelzer's life story as a child growing up in an abusive family. The abuse started when he was around the age of 5 and got progressively worse by the time he was 9. Before that age there was no signs of abuse, he was just a happy child in a loving family, or so it seemed. He took trips with his family, ate dinner with them, played with them, and was well provided for. Things took a turn for the worse when his mother, Catherine, began to heavily drink. His father was always away from home due to his working all the time. The more his father was away the more his mother seemed to drink and abused him. She would play cruel and unusual "games" with him. But, more or less she would just beat him for no reason. He was not allowed to eat dinner with the family and was starved for days at a time. If he finished all of the laboring chores she had for him in a certain amount of time she would sometimes let him have the scraps her other children had left on their plates. He would dig through garbage, beg for food, and steal food from school or stores just so that he would make it through another day, but his mother always seemed to catch him and beat him for it. He lived in the cold basement, slept on an army cot that is if she didn't make him stand for hours on end. He wore the same torn and tattered clothing everyday for school. He had a bad smelling odor since he was not allowed to bathe. His mother forced him to eat his youngest brother's feces, burned his arm with an open flame from their oven, and made him submerse himself in freezing cold water. She would lock him up in the bathroom with a bucket of Clorox and ammonia mixture which she liked to call the "gas chamber" and leave him in there for practically dead. She also liked to make him take down spoonfuls of ammonia. The worse of the abuse he endured was the stabbing, when he was around 10 years old. To show what a neglectful mother she was he had to tend to his own wound instead of her taking him to the hospital for treatment. Ultimately, due to David's strong will to survive and endure all of this, he made it through to the end. If it wasn't for his school making a report of all of this and calling the local police to follow up and make sure he was taken care of he may never have lived through this terrible experience.

There were so many "red flags" and warning signs throughout this whole book that I wished his school or neighbors would have picked up on earlier so that maybe he could have been removed from that household sooner. He came to school in dirty, ragged clothing. He always came to school hungry and would steal from other students so that he could eat. He had marks and bruises all over his body. He was never allowed to play outside with the other children. There were just so many reasons and signs that had suggested he was being abused. When child services had come to his house, I understand he was scared to say anything. He was afraid things would go back to the way they were and he so desperately sought for his mother's love and approval. This is why he didn't say anything. After all, she was starting to treat him nice again, probably because she knew child services was coming to speak to him.


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(2009, 11). A Child Called It. Retrieved 11, 2009, from

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"A Child Called It." 11, 2009. Accessed 11, 2009.