Monday, 25 October 2010

Autumn rain, a cup of hot chocolate and a book

It's been raining at this side of the world and it's been really chilly.  I have been wearing a coat when outside.  It's the time of the year when curling up on the couch in a blanket in front of the telly and sipping a cup of hot chocolate is heaven!  And yes, may I point out that the hot chocolate is non-fat!  Okay, some nights, I curl up on the couch with the telly on but I am not really watching, I have a book in my hand. I am talking about those nights when my husband complains that I am always in front of my computer typing away and that he doesn't get to see me any more!  So I sit with him in the lounge but I've got to do something else when he watches only Time Line, Antique Roadshow and the news!

So, two nights ago was one of those nights.  I read Dave Pelzer's 'A Child Called 'It'.  I don't know why I did...I try to avoid sad stories which are heartbreaking. I guess I did because one of my friends had read it and she seemed to like it so when I saw this in a charity shop, I grabbed it and took it home.

Here's the gist on the back cover:

As a child, Dave Pelzer was brutally beaten and starved by his emotionally unstable, alcoholic mother, a mother who played tortuous, unpredictable games that left one of ther sons nearly dead.  She no longer considered him a son, but a slave; no longer a boy, but an 'it'.  his bed was an old army cot in the basement, his clothes were torn and smelly, and, when he was allowed the luxury of food it was scraps from the dogs' bowl.  The outside world knew nothing of the nightmare played out behind closed doors.

Dave dreamed of finding a family to love him and call him their son.  It took years of struggle, deprivation and despair to find his dream and make something of himself in the world.  A Child Called 'It' covers the early years of his lfie and is an affecting and inspirational memoir of one child's determination to survive.

My tears fell down my cheeks when I was reading this book full of horrific childhood memories.  I wish Dave Pelzer just made it all up or exaggerated every detail because I still can't understand why a mother would do those things to an innocent little boy.  He was still almost like a baby when he was starved, beaten and punished.  My God, at this time of the year, I would be freezing just to wash my hands or face in icy cold water - but Dave was made to put himself in the bath tub filled with icy cold water!  How this boy survived, only God knows.

There are questions in my mind like, 'What is wrong with this mother aside from being alcoholic?  Did she get any treatment for her mental disturbance?  Why pick on Dave only and not the other 4 children?'  I know from searching on line that there are two more parts of the book but I was looking for something more in the book, something that will tell me the reasons behind the mother's evil behaviour and actions - there wasn't any.  So at the end of the book, I was left 'hanging.'

I can say my heart went out to this little boy who only needed love and caring from a mother.  I am full of admiration that this little boy has now become a man and a husband and a loving father.  Sadly, I don't think this book is for everybody because of its horrific content and that it will leave you upset or even sick in the stomach.  But if that's your kind of thing, then go and get it.  If you like this kind of book, I'd like to recommend three more that I've read this year:  Alice Sebold's 'Lucky' (her memoir) and 'The Lovely Bones' and Jodi Picoult's 'Picture Perfect'.

Happy Monday! :)

PS:  I am not sure which book I'm going to pick next as I keep changing my mind - it always depends on which interests me at any given time...I might get a Sophie Kinsella to make me laugh this time so I hope you stay tuned!  Now I'm off to visit your blogs and see what you've been up to! :)

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15 comments:

Ann said...

Hi Len, I didn't read this book, but saw Dave Pelzer being interviewed. It broke my heart! I was just never able to bring myself to read the horrors he indured.

Like you I prefer my books and movies to be less evil and more uplifting. Enjoyed reading your review though. Great stuff.

Kathie @ Just a Happy Housewife said...

It breaks my heart just reading your description of it....

Old Kitty said...

I remember deliberately not getting this book cos I don't think I could have stomached such abuse. Thanks for such a fab review of it though - I still don't think I can bring myself to read it! True life stories of such horrors just upsets me too much I guess - although I do think they ought to - and must - be told!!

Have a lovely evening Len!!! I hope your writing is going well - of course it is! Take care
x

ali said...

Oh man, I remember this book from way back when. As I recall it was the first time I'd read anything so .... heart wrenching in a real-life sort of way. It hurts so much more when you know it's not just fantasy.

Lydia Kang said...

That sounds like heaven to me (the hot chocolate, reading and TV, not the childhood torture).
I don't think i could read that book. I'd be too upset!

L.T. Elliot said...

I read this and sobbed. The line that really killed me is when he was standing at the cabin with his own little boy and his son tells him it was his favorite place. The wounded, yet healing adult who said, "me too" about did me in. Beautiful but haunting. Heartbreaking.

Gina said...

This isn't fiction then? My heart is already heavy from reading the outline . I haven't read The Lovely Bones, but I watched the movie. I bet that the book was better . I found that it is the case most of the time , mas maganda ang book kaysa film adaptation.

Glynis said...

I have read many books like this, and it is heartbreaking to know they are real. We read similar books, Len. I have read all of those you mention.

I have just read a book and reviewed it. I think you would enjoy it. http://bookstove.com/drama/sister-by-rosamund-lupton-book-review/

Theresa Milstein said...

I've heard of this book but can't read it. It's too sad. When children are mistreated, it just eats away at me.

I know what you mean about spending time in front of the computer. My husband and I have had a similar conversation.

Jessica Bell said...

You sound like me! When my man is sitting watching stuff on TV that I hate I usually sit with a book or my mini laptop. Otherwise, the complaints roll in!

Talli Roland said...

What weather, eh? Especially tonight!

I read this book ages ago (if it's the one I'm thinking of... for a time, it seemed all the books were misery memoirs!). And if memory serves, it was gut-wrenching.

The Golden Eagle said...

It sounds like a really sad book--I sometimes read novels like that, but not really often. I might check this one out, though.

My mom doesn't really complain about my time on the computer . . . but I'm off of it whenever the news is on, usually.

Ellie said...

Personally, I can't read this type of book; it cuts too close to home for me. But I have much respect for people like Dave Pelzer, who are able to put down in written form the abuse they have suffered and in doing so raise awareness of the horrific suffering some children endure. Having said that I often ask myself why people read so many of these books - I have friends who have dozens of them. Why would you want to read about so much suffering?

Loree said...

I cannot imagine how a mother could do things like that to her child. It is horrific. I do not think I could read a book like this. I know my mum has it and has read it but I cannot bring myself to read it.

Len said...

Hi everybody! Glad to see you all! Thanks for dropping by :)

Yeah, I don't usually read sad memoirs with children suffering...I skipped most chapters because I couldn't read them any more...but I was interested to know what happened to the mother, why did she do it. I needed an explanation. I didn't find any so I was a little bit disappointed.

@Gina - yes, this is a true story, it's a memoir.

I'm now currently reading another Percy Jackson and enjoying it! :)

Have a lovely Tuesday! :)