A Child Called 'It' Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of A Child Called 'It'

       A Child Called "It" is a very depressing biography that takes place during a young child named Daves life. He is severly punished (by his mom) for anything he does wrong. Many of the times he is not even fed. He learns that he has to fight for food. He knows that the only way he will get things done is to do it himself. He comes up with ideas just to find ways to eat. When his mother suspects him of eating he must throw up his food and sometimes even eat it.
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       After a while Dave isnt even considered part of the family and has to live in the garage. He feels that all him sense of self is all gone. He doesnt even feel like a person. He stated in the book that he has seen his mom treat animals better than he gets treated during his childhood.

The review of this Book prepared by Chance

    A Child Called it is an autobiography. A boy named Dave is always abused. He does not like it. His mother is on drugs. At the start of the book, the father is very supportive of his son. But towards the end he is not supportive. The boy must do chores before eating breakfast. He usually does not get dinner. His brothers don't do any chores. His mother always punches him. He has to do a lot of work. She also feeds him Ammonia twice. He also had to drink dishwashing liquid twice. She made him stay in a bathroom filled with Ammonia. Another punishment was that he had to have his head under cold water. The first punishment he got was having his face smashed against a mirror. When he went to school, he always was told to tell the nurse it was an accident. But the nurse soon found out.

   When Dave was very young his mom was very nice to him and they went on family trips. His mom always planned the trips. They were always fun. His father was a fireman. They went to Russia RIver or another place.

    Dave was put in Daly City Cennter away from his mom. They phoned his mom and told her. The officers did not want Dave to be hit again.
The review of this Book prepared by Nayeem Ahsan

March 5, 1973 was a day in young Dave Pelzer's life he will never forget. It was the day he was rescued from severe child abuse. School staff had seen enough and although they risked their jobs, they phoned the police.

Life for Dave had not always been horrible. He can remember the times when his mother loved him and treated him with equality in the household. Slowly, things changed and Dave became the cruel target of his mother's crazed abuse. His mother treated her other children with kindness and provided lavish meals for them then forced Dave to clean up their mess, not even allowing him their scraps.

Withholding food was just the beginning of torturing her son. His siblings were not allowed to acknowledge him in the household and his father did absolutely nothing to defend his defenseless child. Dave was starved, burned, and poisoned yet did not give up hope until years of accumulated abuse, both physical and mental, took its toll. He knew his mother wanted him dead and she nearly succeeded.

The review of this Book prepared by Tracey Ray

My Story by Dave Pelzer tells of the troublesome childhood from the age of 4 to the age of 12 years that Dave endured at the hands of his alchoholic mother. How she singled him out for no known reason and chose to abuse him for her delight. He was to follow strictly what ever she wanted of him. If she felt like it she would beat him senseless for her own enjoyment. She would not feed him and expected him to clean the house and obey her. He was treated worse than animals in her house. He was to made to run to school while his brothers were driven to school by his mother. His father promised to help and protect him, but sadly, permanently left the home with out him. He was not allowed to join any social clubs and when he brought home reports from school which he was proud of his mother would rip them up and throw them in the bin, and tell him he was not worthy of such praise. He was made to get into baths with ammonia so as his body would burn and to put his arm on a live gas stove top. His mother kindly bought him a pair of ice skates, the only present she bought him in years. Unfortunately, it was the middle of winter and he had to skate every day in thin rags. He had to find work and then give his mother all the money he earned.
The review of this Book prepared by Laurel Hadley

David Pelzer writes a compelling account of his struggles as a young boy who faces the grueling and hateful attacks of his alchoholic mother. His once loving and beautiful "mommy", embraces the bottle when relationships in her life leave her disillusioned and angry. As the whiskey flows, so does her obscenities as she mercilessly starves and beats her son.
   David courageously faces all her abuse, and wills up the mental fortitude to outwit her at her own "games". His perseverance and will to survive kept him going through long days with no food, no warm clothes and no love. Even after his mother stabbed him, pushed him down stairs, and made him breathe toxic fumes, David picked himself up and dressed his own wounds.
   Teachers at his school witness daily the bruises, neglect and starvation. Bravely, they keep a journal in the nurses station of every new wound David bears each day. He begs them not to tell "the secret" of his mothers' abuse, but they know something has to be done for this precious child. A child his mother calls "It".   
The review of this Book prepared by Rebecca Platt

David J. Pelzer's mother, Catherine Roerva, was a devoted den mother to the Cub Scouts in her care, and somewhat nurturing to her children--but not to David, whom she referred to as "an It." This book is a brief, horrifying account of the bizarre tortures she inflicted on him, told from the point of view of the author as a young boy being starved, stabbed, smashed face-first into mirrors, forced to eat the contents of his brother's diapers and a spoonful of ammonia, and burned over a gas stove by a maniacal, alcoholic mom. Sometimes she claimed he had violated some rule--no walking on the grass at school!--but mostly it was pure sadism. Inexplicably, his father didn't protect him; only an alert schoolteacher saved David.
The review of this Book prepared by Jennifer Edlund

In David Pelzer's book, "A Child Called 'It'", David is in a constant struggle to stay alive. His alcholic, sick, abusive mother played "games" with him that were so severe, young David was in constant fear of his life. She beat him, starved him to nearly death, and stopped calling him by his name, instead she would refer to him as "it" or "the boy". Although David was young, he had to think like an adult in order to survive his mother's severe abuse and rage. The extent of the "games" were so severe that David never knew if his mother was going to kill him, this time, or not. Finally after years of struggle to stay alive, a teacher and principal at David's school risked their jobs by telling a police officer about David's bruises, scars, and other visible marks of abuse. David was finally told what he wanted to hear, "She will never hurt you again."
The review of this Book prepared by Chelsey

"A Child Called It" is an autobiography. It is about a small boy named "David" who faces constant fear and pain to an extent that NOBODY should ever have to endure. He reflects on "good times" in childhood, but is neck-deep in domestic abuse. His mother, once loving, turned into a monster, leaving both emotional and physical scars on her child which will haunt him for life. This book is about a child trying to survive. This child shows extreme amounts of courage, bravery, and a will to survive. This is the most emotional, and inspiring series' of books I've ever read. These books (A Child Called It, The Lost Boy, and A Man Named Dave), inspiring as they are, are also very hard to take. I would not suggest the faint, young, or "happy book" readers read these books until they realize what they are about, as they are very ugly in nature and may be difficult to finish.
The review of this Book prepared by Amber

A harrowing true story of an innocent child who suffers for years at the hands of his mentally ill Mother. David Pelzer a four year old boy is beaten,kicked, starved and tortered in the most horrendous ways immaginable by his menatlly ill mother. David is slowly alienated from his entire family and treated as a slave. His Father is a frightened weak man who watches as his son is beaten, starved and humiliated daily. David's brothers helplessly watch as their brother changes from a healthy young boy to a starving,physical wreck. After years of torture David is finally saved by teaching staff at his school. The school nurse has kept a documeted record of David's bodily wounds through his years of torture. Finally the law steps in to save an innocent childs life and David he is placed in the care of the local authority.
The review of this Book prepared by Catherine

This heart wrenching biography takes place in the child, Dave's, most vulnerable years during the first decade of his life. Dave was brutalized, enslaved, imprisoned, beaten, and demeaned, being treated worse than an animal by his mother, and his non-involved father. The book talks of the struggles in a child's mind. Thoughts of normalcy enter his head, though he knows something is wrong with his life since other children aren't the same as him. And finally his rescue from a social worker. This book will make you cry and will be the most thought provoking book on child abuse you may ever read.
The review of this Book prepared by Kathleen

This book is horribly painful and violent and is only uplifting if you read the two following books. If you read the last one "A Man Called Dave" you will finally get the spiritual uplifting message right at the end of the book and that is worthwhile. The author's mother was unbelivably monstrous and this book is about his time when she was abusing him in an unbelivably cruel way. Because of this the book is dominated by his mother and is almost unbearable to read. You need to have the second book The Lost Boy by your side when you finish "A CHild Called IT" in order not to be horribly depressed and frustrated. Pelzer really should have ended his first book at the moment in "THe Lost Boy" when David finally experiences happiness, as it is the book is just too painful and depressing. David Pelzer is an amazing inspirational man but please DON'T let your children read this book. It is too filled with evil and torture.
The review of this Book prepared by Keith the survivor chef

Chapter Analysis of A Child Called 'It'

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Plot & Themes

Kids growing up/acting up?    -   Yes Kids:    -   parental abuse Family, hate    -   Yes Struggle with:    -   Mother The difficult family member    -   expects to be obeyed in all things    -   is a hitter Period of greatest activity?    -   1950+

Subject of Biography

Gender    -   Male Ethnicity    -   White Nationality    -   American


How much descriptions of surroundings?    -   3 () United States    -   Yes The US:    -   California Century:    -   1960's-1970's

Writing Style

If this is a kid's book:    -   Age 16-Adult Pictures/Illustrations?    -   None

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