Wednesday, April 2, 2008
A Child Called It
I've been on a memoir/autobiohraphy kick since I'm in the middle of writing my own memoir for a grad class. Yesterday I picked up A Child Called It by David Pelzer and finished it in one sitting. I've been wanting to read it since I've heard so many people talk about it since its publication in 1995. I knew it would be difficult to read and disturbing, but I think it was worth the read.
I was checking out information on Wikipedia about it, and it seems to have disclaimers tagged to it. I guess that close friends and family members are accusing him of exaggeration, saying that "David wasn't at all ostracized from the family; he was very close to me and Richard. We were the Three Musketeers. David would make up lies, to receive some attention. But David had to be the center of attention. He was a hyper, over happy spoiled brat."
Hmmm. This sounds a bit strange to me.
In the book, David mentions that his mother brainwashed all the children to think that he was a "bad boy" and that he deserved his harsh treatments. I mean, I don't know which side to believe since I obviously wasn't there, but I bet that this brainwashing had something to do with it. I don't think someone would make up such brutality of a past like that just for money purposes. Read the horrible accounts and you might know what I mean.
I think the incidents that stuck out to me the most were the diaper incident where he was almost forced to eat feces but inhaled it up his nose, the bathroom sessions where he was forced to sit in the closed room with ammonia and clorox mixed together that burned him, the fact that he had to inject spoonfulls of ammonia, burn his arm on the stove, sleep in the cold garage, not have changes of clothes, and, above all, was not allowed to eat whatsoever. When he came home from school, his mother would make him throw up to make sure his stomach was empty. When he would go through the garbage, she would sprinkle poisons in it to make sure he stopped that. It's crazy to me.
What I don't get is that he used to be treated well up until a certain point. What sparked her anger towards him since she used to love him? And, she had four other boys who she treated very well. Why single out David, the middle child? Was he the blame for all her problems? She tortured him because, inside, she needed a way to vent out the anger she felt? She felt tortured inside so she needed vengeance on an external subject, AKA David? And why wouldn't the dad stand up to the mom? I know that it would just create more problems, but your kid is dying here. Is it worth it to just give in and become a part of the abuse?
I know that a lot of abuse happens to children and adults of all ages by close friends and family members. It's disturbing, but we live in a disturbing world. I am so glad that David here got out of the situation in a healthy way where he seems to have learned from what happened instead of getting back at others for the harm done on him (which normally is the cycle that spirals and never stops). Why so much hate and not enough love?
One last thing: It seems like any memoir/autobiography that gets a lot of attention and some large financial sum is always discredited or told to be "exaggerating," just like James Frey's A Million Little Pieces. I mean, the experience is dramatic from the person's point of view, so any slight detail that meanders seems to really tick people off. It's hard to recount memories EXACTLY as they are. You try to do it. It's not easy. I think some people always just want to get back at someone successful. Or, perhaps they go against their side of the story and what's published will be more widely believed and received. I don't know. Those are my arguments. What do you think? I think it's a pressing issue and question that I am very curious to see answered.
Anyway, has anyone read A Child Called It? What did you think of it? Do you think he's overexaggerating or that he's being accurate?