"" Writer's Wanderings: A Child Called It

Thursday, October 14, 2004

A Child Called It

For our book discussion group at the library this month, we were asked to read A Child Called It by David Pelzer. It is not a pretty story. Pelzer reveals, in graphic terms, the tortuous abuse he suffered at the hands of his mother. I almost quit reading half way through the small book. I kept hoping it would get better for him. It only got worse. Starvation, mutilation, near drowning, and ostracism from the family were only some of what went on seemingly forever in the four or five years she chose to single him out and perpetuate her sick punishments on a boy who never deserved them.

Thankfully the ugly part is sandwiched between two short chapters revealing his rescue by social services after a few teachers finally risked their jobs to bring the abuse to light. It occurred during the 1970s and Pelzer indicates that social awareness of child abuse was not in the forefront at that time. Hopefully, things have changed--but I wonder. Too many children still continue to die from shaking, beating and other horrendous abuse. Is it so cleverly concealed until its too late or are we not paying attention? This is not the situation where you use the "don't ask, don't tell" policy.

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