My Story: A Child Called It, The Lost Boy, A Man Named Dave Paperback – 16 Sep 2004
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The remarkable trilogy from SUNDAY TIMES No.1 Bestseller Dave Pelzer - now in one volume.
A CHILD CALLED 'IT' is Dave Pelzer's story of a child beaten and starved by his emotionally unstable, alcoholic mother: a mother who played torturous, unpredictable games that left one of her three sons nearly dead. Dave was no longer considered a son, or a boy, but an 'it'. His bed was an old army cot in the basement and when he was allowed food it was scraps from the dogs' bowl. Throughout, Dave kept alive the dream of finding a family who would love and care for him. THE LOST BOY: the harrowing but ultimately uplifting true story of Dave's journey through the foster-care system in search of a family who will love him. A MAN NAMED DAVE: the gripping conclusion to this inspirational trilogy. With extraordinary generosity of spirit, Dave takes us on a journey into his past. At last he confronts his father and ultimately his mother. Finally, Dave finds the courage to break the chains of the past and learn to love, trust and live for the future.See all Product description
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Covering the ages from four to twelve years, when Dave Pelzer lived with his natural family, this is a story as much of survival as of the terrors endured by a vulnerable small boy.
Pelzer's childhood was initially, and by comparison with what was to come, idyllic, but as his parents took to drink he became ostracised and abused by his mother. The suffering the young boy had to endure does not make for easy reading, at times his torment seems almost beyond belief, treated as a slave to his own family, made to sleep in the garage, regularly not feed, wearing the same unwashed clothes and subjected to numerous inhuman degradations and tortures at the hands of his mother. But while he survives he is understandably not unaffected, being isolated not just at home but through his behaviour also at school he is inevitably a very naive boy and the easy target for bullies.
He is eventually rescued and then enters the foster care system, which is where A Child Called It concludes. But before we get there there are some very harrowing accounts.
Dave Pelzer is able to recreate not just what he endure with vividness, but also the dialogue, his interchanges with his family, at school and with those who eventually come to his aid.
The Lost Boy
Covering Dave Pelzer's experiences from the age of twelve to eighteen, this continues directly from where A Child Called It left off. Much less harrowing than the latter, it nonetheless highlights the many problems that the youthful Pelzer encountered in this period. He understandable had difficulty adjusting to a 'normal' life, the relative freedom of his new life causing to be somewhat wild. We follow him through a series of foster parents, some of whom played a crucial role in taming him, teaching him how to be human, and setting him on a positive course for the future. Also playing an important part in this are some of the adult neighbours tat on foster home who saw something more in him and took an active interest in cultivating the young Dave.
This is again a very personal and revealing account, but is also demonstrates the vital role foster parents and others in the social care system can play in helping the young in need, and is as much a tribute to these self sacrificing people.
(This is a well written account, but I do find the consistent use in certain circumstances of the subjective pronoun in place of the objective pronoun not just irritating but more significantly distracting. Fortunately this error does not occur in the final part of the trilogy.)
A Man Named Dave
Here we follow Pelzer's story from the age of eighteen when he flies off to join the Air Force. He describes his progress in the Force, it not always going has he had dreamed, his traumatic first marriage, the birth of his much loved son and his meeting with Marsha who will become a part of his life. He continues to work hard, but life is a still a struggle at times.
Dave is very much his own man now, although when it comes to matters of the heart he is still learning. But when he decides in what direction he wants his life to go he is determined to make it, and it is this theme of his determination to be positive and move forward that dominates this account. It is in danger of becoming a little overbearing at times, a little too self-congratulatory, even self-indulgent, and I did find myself rushing through some of these passages just picking out a few sentences; but I also recognise there are some who will no doubt find reassurance in such passages.
My Story is a remarkable achievement, a remarkable a achievement for a young boy who made it from such desperate beginnings, and a remarkable achievement in its overall positive depiction of what could have been a morbid account. That is not to say there are not episodes of horror almost beyond belief, but whatever Pelzer has endured he is able to use it to make him what he is today.
The book being sold here is a trilogy of 3 non-fiction books. The first book deals with Pelzer's childhood which is when the abuse took place, the second book looks at his time in foster care and how he dealt with things as a teenager, and the third is really about becoming a well adjusted adult.
The first book is the most popular and for a lot of people, it might be the only one they're really interested in reading. While it's certainly a tough read, it is incredibly inspiring to see how Pelzer focused on survival and developed such the resiliency.
However, the second and third books struggle a bit as a result of their subject matter. They're less about survival and more about learning how to live a normal life. There's plenty of ups and downs along the way but there's much more of a focus on Pelzer's emotional and healing journey and on adjusting to the boring details of life. That's not to say his journey isn't interesting. It is and there is plenty to learn from, but they do have a different focus and direction than the first book.
On a practical note, having 3 books in 1 makes for a very large book. If you dislike grappling with an overly thick paperback you might be better off buying them separately.
I really enjoyed the trilogy and found a lot of value in seeing his whole journey but I would probably recommend that people buy the first book and take it from there unless they already think they would find the second and third books appealing.
I bought the first book on its own to see whether or not I would want to read on. I regret this as this is much better value for money and you get to find out what happened next. I suppose the dark inner side of us wants to know more...