©2005 Richard Pelzer; (P)2005 Books on Tape, Inc.
"Gripping....By looking back at, and then releasing, the image of the skinny, red-haired boy who wanted nothing more than his mother's love, Pelzer discovers his true spirit, which he shares courageously and selflessly here in the hope of healing himself, as well as raising awareness of and preventing child abuse." (Publishers Weekly)
I have not been able to stop listening to Richard's journey until it was over. Being a human service student, I have learned how there was no protection for children before the 80's. I have had to read many stories similar to Richard's from my state and I appauld his courage and would love to meet him one day.
R.P. starts the book as a five-year old who observes & participates in the abuse of his oldest brother, David, at the hands of his sadistic, cruel, alcoholic mother. At that young age, he has a sense that he has to abuse or be abused, so he is his mother's "Little Nazi," informing on David for mostly fabricated transgressions. David is the "kick-dog" in the family, made to eat out of a dog bowl, called "It," and abused horrifically. After David is rescued from the household by the authorities, R.P. knows that he is next in line for his mother's abuse. He develops a clearer understanding of David after he has suffered the same abuse David did. On a certain level, this book is a gorgeous apology from R.P. to David. R.P. then provides clear recollections of both the physical & psychological torment/torture he suffered from the age of five to fifteen as a miserable, defenseless child whose major vulnerability was that he wanted his mother to love him. Where were the adults? Neighbors, doctors, nurses, teachers who had helped David & suspected R.P. was being abused did nothing for R.P. His own father did not protect his five sons - David, Ross, Scott, R.P. and Keith, from his sicko wife and he finally left her, abandoning them. After the firstborn, David is rescued, R.P.'s hero -the secondborn Ross- leaves to join the Army. His only friend in the family gone, R.P. documents how the thirdborn, Scott assumes the role of mother's "Little Nazi" in abusing R.P. (Keith was too young to make a difference.)As I cringed in fear, dread and horror, I thought --this is so hard to listen to for 7 hours --how did he manage to survive it for 15+ yrs. An epiphany at the age of 15 provides R.P. with some psychological armor. The book ends. We know that he is moving to Salt Lake City with his mother, Scott and Keith -- we hope that he will survive until he can leave at age 18. It's a dark book that enlightens. Let's all be proactive in protecting children. See something - do something.
This book broke my heart. That a little boy could endure so much pain and suffering from the one person that should have treasured him is unfathomable. If descriptions of graphic child abuse bother you, then this book is not for you. It was hard at times to listen to but ultimately I think it brings to light what the devasting effects of mental illness and child abuse can leave on a person.
I loved the intamacy and intensity of this book but at the same time it often made me quite uncomfortable. A good part of it resonated with me all too well. Knowing that there are others out there that went through even worse is a big help. A different perspective gave me much food for thought. A wonderful read by Scott as well.
Another Jaw dropping book from a member of the Pelzer family. Being a Foster Parent, I can't imagine that the abuse in this family went on for so long with no one stepping in to help these children. Although this book is heart wrenching to read, we must all be reminded that we must never turn our back or not get "involved" when a child is not safe in their own home.
The best of (audio)books lift you from reality, and take you to a different place. This book accomplishes that literary fete. This is the single most powerful, vivid and moving book I have ever listened to; I couldn't wait to get into my car each day to listen to the next installment. I was left wanting to know more, wanting to know what happened next. And, most of all, asking myself how it is possible one person can be so cruel, and one person can live despite being treated like an animal. Good for you Richard, good for you.
I first heard the Pelzer family story about 5 years ago, when my brother bought Dave Pelzer's books. He read a bit of A Child Called "It", and I never forgot it!About 7 months ago, I came across all 3 of Dave Pelzer's books, and read every one of them! It floored me!
As I was browsing this site, I found R.P's book, and immediately decided I wanted to read it and here his side of it. It had the same effect on me as Dave's story did.
I admire, and respect both boys, now men, for having the strength it took to get through it, and be able to tell their story no matter how painful it must have been. I have so much respect for both brothers for stepping forward, and enlightening the public not only what a horrible and heartbreaking experience growing up in an abusive home was for them, but how heartbreaking, and just plain wrong, it is for the millions of children who live in abusive homes today.
Like them, I recognize that we can't go on pretending it will never happen to children we love, or simply hiding from it, or refusing to step up and at least try and do something about it. It's not easy for the one's telling, but it's that much harder for the children who live it everyday like the Pelzer brothers did.
If you read this, it is sure to have a profound effect on you, and make you not only think, but feel, and empathize with the Pelzer brothers and what they went through.
I would like to see Dave's books on Audible.com as well. They're both must-read's as far as I'm concerned.
Difficult, Horrifying, Hope
His brothers book, David, The Child Called It. Very similar
Cry, laugh, sadness, happy, horrified, nerve racking, hopeful
Awesome book, so was his brothers, highly recommend!
I am sorry, but I thought this book stopped short of a journey. It is a gripping and horrifying story of the actual abuse, the details of which are quite explicit. And after enduring HOURS of hearing about that, I got no payoff or satisfaction by means of how his life is, now? How Mr. Pelzer recovers is completely left out. How he "escaped" is also left out. For me, child abuse is the start of the journey and in this book I felt it was the journey. A mere 5 minutes at the end of the book recants why this might have happened, how "the system" failed him, but tells NOTHING of how he is doing, today...truthfully, as honest as the details of the abuse were, he was not very honest with how he came through. Sorry, but that's how I felt. I was looking for soooo much more self-discovery! Book wasn't hopeful, in the least, it left me sad and uninspired.
There have already been some excellent reviews about this book and the only thing I can really add is that in addition to being a horrific true tale of child abuse, it is also a very interesting and readable book. It is never boring and it drew me in like no other book about child abuse has.
I gained a lot of understanding from this book. For example, in the past, after reading stories about children hurting their own siblings I have wondered how such a thing could be possible. Now I have a clear understanding of how and why this could occur. It really breaks my heart.
It hurts to know that this type of thing is occurring every day in the world. But I guess that we can't just hide our heads in the sand about it. I would really rather not know. But as another person said, at least now I will be more aware of what is going on around me and will take steps to stop it if I ever see it is going on.
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