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Publisher's Summary

The Pelzer family's secret life of fear and abuse was first revealed in Dave Pelzer's inspiring New York Times best seller, A Child Called "It", followed by The Lost Child and A Man Called Dave. Here, for the first time, Richard Pelzer tells the courageous and moving story of his abusive childhood. From tormenting his younger brother David to becoming himself the focus of his mother's wrath to his ultimate liberation, here is a horrifying glimpse at what existed behind closed doors in the Pelzer home. Equally important, Richard Pelzer's touching account is a testament to the strength of the human heart and its capacity to triumph over almost unimaginable trauma.
©2005 Richard Pelzer; (P)2005 Books on Tape, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"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)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
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Story

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  • Overall
  • Leslie
  • Pelham, NH, USA
  • 06-15-05

amazing story of courage and strength

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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Story
  • Rj
  • 05-10-15

Thank goodness it's an audio book

The narrator is fantastic, but the story is repetitive and frustrating. I listened to this audio book after "a child called it" the first time and tolerated it better. The story needs an editor who isn't afraid to cut the fat.

The second time listening to this just dragged. It almost felt like the author wanted to ensure that the reader saw that he suffered just as much and to gain the same sympathy as for Dave.

The narrator makes it worth listening too. fantastic voice, reminds me of thr power of the story of Ender's Game, Ender's Shadow, and all off the series by o. scott card.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Amy
  • Beaver Dam, WI, USA
  • 11-27-06

Jaw Dropping

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Beth
  • Fort Worth, TX, USA
  • 08-16-07

heartbreaking...

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Jonathan
  • Newburyport, MA, USA
  • 02-13-07

A favorite

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Jeffrey
  • Highland Park, NJ, United States
  • 09-09-05

Powerful

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

An Abused Boy Grows Up to be a Man

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.

7 of 10 people found this review helpful

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Very selfish

Richard seems very selfish, karmas a "b", not being mean to any abuse victim but, he got what be deserved. He bullied his brother for his own pleasure, and now hes the one going through the same things. The nerve of him trying to ride the same waves as his brother Dave, is just a shame. The book was okay, & repetitive.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Story

Disturbing but well written!

I read David’s book many years ago after watching him on Oprah! I was in disbelief that this could go on unnoticed. Then to know a second child was left in the house for her to continue the nightmare was absurd! Regardless of what the neighbors thought, they knew David had been taken away! So how do you sleep at night if you haven’t done all you can to help all of these children? May this woman burn in Hell for all that she did to God’s precious angels! Thank you Richard for being brave enough to share this story and strong enough to continue on living!

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  • Story

Such an important story to tell.

This book should be read by anyone working with children. Powerful, moving, heartbreaking and impressive.