This book is David Pelzer’s poignant autobiographical account of abuse by his mother. It is a story that afflicts the reader with multiple pains from beginning to end.
David Pelzer, the third of four siblings, grew up in what at first seemed like an ordinary home. It was a home where every day was’ a new adventure ‘, alive’every day, sprinkled with magic ‘. It was a life where Mom (Catherine Roerva) took her kids on day trips, where spring meant picnics, and Mom and Dad ‘he seemed happy to be side by side on a blanket, drinking red wine and watching his children play.
Then almost overnight, Dave’s paradise was lost. Your home became Milton fire Hell lake. His mother became unrecognizable as a human being. He got drunk incessantly on drink, and when he yelled ‘her voice changed from loving mother to wicked witch. From being a mother whose hug always made Dave feel safe and warm, she became ‘Mother ‘-a terrifying, frightening and sadistic figure.
‘Mother‘I’d grab Dave and smash his face into the mirror. When she hit him, it was with such a ferocious frenzy that ‘his blows seemed to last forever. She poured ‘ammonia‘Y’Clorox‘down her throat until her brain screamed. For her he stopped being a son, but a slave and was no longer a child but an ‘it’. She burned him on a hot stove and shoved a bar of soap down his throat to make him stop talking. She roared at him, starved him to death, and even fed him vomit and excrement. ‘Mother ‘ he even stabbed his son.
Although the school was a haven for domestic torture, he was often so hungry that he stole food …Twinkies and other desserts’ of fellow students. Because of this, he became a total outcast at school. No student would have anything to do with him. On the playground, they called it ‘David the Food Thief. Every day they came with torture and degradation.
Dave’s father, Stephen Joseph, who “had broad shoulders and forearms that would make any muscular man proud,” did not protect his son. He was a muscular wimp who faced the decline of his family by drinking heavily and cowardly turning his back on his beleaguered son. Dave Pelzer’s story is a monument to human courage. Dave’s youth belied his resistance to survival. Despite his mother’s savagery and his father’s indifference, he vowed “not to give in, not even to death.”
Even after reading the book, it is difficult to understand how someone so young could endure such a harsh experience for so long. His mother, Catherine, was brutal with a tormented soul. But, she was also cunning and slippery and often managed to explain the outsiders’ suspected child abuse. Like an oiled beast, it was often difficult to corner her.
But, young Dave was finally rescued from his torture and found a refuge with a loving foster family. He continued to serve his country in the war and received praise from three American presidents. He is the author of five best-selling books and a loving husband and father. He is now a man with a noble mission and an inspiration to thousands of defeated spirits around the world. All of this happened after his massive injuries as a child. Out of pain came growth, purpose, and even joy.
Unfortunately, many victims of child abuse never survive. When they do, they often continue the cycle of anger against society. Dave Pelzer’s tale is a haunting and brilliantly written narrative of gratuitous violence. There is almost no sentence that does not contribute to aggravate the anguish. The depth of Dave’s pain is stamped into every word.
As we read the book, we get closer and almost witness the carnage of his childhood. Once the reader opens the book, it is impossible to put it down. And when completed, this story of sick violence lingers in mind for a long time. Although Catherine Roerva did not murder her son, she somehow killed him many times: his childhood, his innocence, his confidence, but fortunately not his will to live.