A Child Called "It" is a 1995 memoir by Dave Pelzer that tells the story of his struggle for survival as an abused child. The book has been widely acclaimed and was adapted into a movie in 1999. It became one of the best-selling books of all time, selling over 17 million copies worldwide.
The memoir details Pelzer's experiences with his mother, whom he refers to as "the mother," and how she abused him physically and emotionally from the age of 4 to 12. His father is largely absent from the narrative, with only brief mentions here and there throughout the story. He also faces neglectful caretakers—who don't believe him when he tries to tell them about his situation at home—and school bullies who target him.
Pelzer writes about how difficult it was to survive despite his challenging circumstances, detailing how much strength it took for him to keep going each day despite facing such abuse and neglect on a daily basis. He speaks candidly about topics such as hunger pangs, physical pain inflicted upon himself out of desperation, constant fearfulness toward authority figures due to past trauma suffered at their hands, or even just simply feeling like an outsider among his peers due to his childhood bullying experiences. All this ultimately led him down a path where loneliness felt more familiar than any other emotion along the journey.
Through these vivid descriptions, readers can connect deeply with Pelzer's plight while learning valuable lessons along the way. We learn that hope should never be abandoned since courage can often lead you through any darkness if one gives it enough space and opportunity to do so.
In addition, this work has sparked important conversations regarding child abuse prevention efforts, both in popular culture and within educational settings. This text serves as an eye-opening read, and it also emphasizes the importance that society must place on protecting children everywhere, regardless of the background they come from or the type of environment they encountered growing up.