Book Review on A Child called It and The Lost Boy by Dave Pelzer
The story of The Lost Boy is an autobiography of Dave Pelzer. Pelzer writes about the troubles he went through since childhood until adulthood. The writer was unfortunate to be born in a family that had irresponsible parents that were alcoholic and unreasonable. Pelzer’s mother physically, psychologically and emotionally abused him, while his father paid no attention to what he went through. Finally, Pelzer was relocated from his home and placed in foster homes until he attained his adulthood. Both his parents passed on but that did not bother Pelzer. In fact, the writer loves his foster parents more as opposed to the biological ones. Pelzer considers himself as a lost boy because of the abnormal life experiences he had to encounter (Pelzer 56).
Pelzer states that the publication A Child called “It” is similar to the story of The Lost Boy (70). The former has been written by the same author discusses how the protagonist, a young boy, was saved by the school from his mother’s violent behavior. The protagonist’s mother hit his head on the kitchen counter and forced him to lie to the nurse. The nurse finally realizes that the boy had been abused for long, and instinctively takes him to the children service where he is adopted.
The characters in the two books grew up in an environment, which was at first condusive but later worsened. Dave says that since infancy up to his early years, his parents were caring and took them to vacations. He specifically quotes one evening he watched the sunset as his mother cuddled him (Pelzer, 80). At this time, the characters would be said to have a normal child development since he had a caring family then. Middle childhood was terrible because Dave experiences torture, depression and frustration. For example, his mother never fed him appropriately, he slept in the basement, she beat him and once stabbed him (Pelzer, 57). This treatment made Dave to have a middle childhood full of oppressions and he could not tell anyone.
By the time Dave was an adolescent, he was living in a foster home. His adolescence was full of rebellion and hostility. For instance, he and his friend set fire in school and he had to go back to juvenile (Pelzer, 78). This abnormal character was caused by the feeling of freedom after an oppressive experience at his home. He felt like a normal child who was free to express himself, hence the hyperactive. There are factors that contributed to development from adolescence into adulthood. The major one was presence of loving foster parents. Because he got caring parents, this enabled him to go through adolescence and be successful in his adulthood. The characters have an exceptional behavior, which they exhibit. Most children, who would experience such misery in childhood, are expected to be timid and unsocial. On the contrary, Dave grows up to be a bold and successful man.
The author’s purpose in writing the given books is to address the issue of child abuse. This vice exists and it is being practiced by some ruthless guardians in homes. Pelzer informs affected children not to allow such acts because they are inhuman. Parents are not only the people who may be abusive to children; it could also be perpetrated by another adult. This book acts like an alert to parents in ensuring that their children are not abused by anyone (Pelzer 85). Dave, the main character has had different experiences during his growth and development. He was an unhealthy child because he was never fed well. At first, Dave says that his mother was nice and treated him well. As time went by, she became alcoholic and picked on him. According to the story, she had become mentally challenged. Dave was subjected to a life of fear, frustration, and psychological trauma.
The story of A Child called “It” also talks about child abuse and lack of respect for children’s rights. It shows the dangers of mental challenges within the society. The protagonist’s mother maltreated the son because she was mentally incapacitated. People with mental challenges should be separated for the community because they could cause deaths to other community members in extreme situations. Alcoholism and other irresponsible habits exhibited by these parents are contributing factors to poor parenting and the family element (Pelzer 67). This is actualized to Dave’s parents by the loss of their son. The story is meant to make readers understand that a stable family enables children to grow normally and healthily because they are settled and psychologically at peace.
Pelzer asserts that he uses first person for the bigger part of the story of The Lost Boy (97). This is because, the approach created an effectual manner in which the story could be written as an autobiography. Only Pelzer, the author, could narrate his story and as well as opinions on the given issues. The story setting is in the Daly City in California, where David lives with his family during his early childhood. The story mostly revolves within the home setting because it offers the location where most of the incidents occurred. The protagonist is subjected to misery and suffering coercing him to several foster homes. His adolescent stage is not exciting as it is characterized with segregation, as other children do not appreciate the fact that he is a fostered child (Pelzer 55).
The story of A Child called “It” is also written in first person and this has helped to bring out the impact of the story’s themes and purpose. When the boy makes direct address, the reader finds it easier to understand the story and makes it easily unforgettable. The first person approach allows the reader to acquire the intended expressions, impressions and the mood of the story, a sad one for the matter. This is easily evidenced by the writing technique. The same position makes the story more active and lively because it infuses pragmatism within the publication.
Dave Pelzer’s The Lost Boy is successful in several ways. These include detailed explanations of child abuse and the unconstructive effects it accords to children after they are rescued from the cruel environment of the abuser. This book really portrays how life can be miserable for both abused children and those in adoption. Pelzer assists the reader in reflecting on the evaluation of one’s achievements. The story makes a notable point in offering individual appreciations towards good growth and development in terms of love and support from families. The author has successfully managed to make emotional expressions and this is quite captivating to the readers (Pelzer 120).
The achievements of A Child called “It” include the provision of succinct information concerning children’s rights protection. This is evidenced by the nurse who reports Dave’s abuse. In other words, the writer says it is important to come forward and report any incidences of child abuse because extreme abuse may lead to death. For example, the protagonist is stabbed with a knife and denied medial care; he bled a lot and this was life threatening. In addition, the boy was malnourished because he was not fed well. Note that, malnourished children can die due to starvation and lack of appropriate nutrients. One of the greatest hindrances recovering males is accepting they were once victims. This writer has not been affected by this weakness and he successfully joins the Air Force and doing voluntary work (Pelzer 89).
A weakness observed in this story is it does not elaborate exactly how the writer moves from being a victim to a conqueror. It lacks required details that explain every step of how Pelzer handled each element. More details are required to show the writer’s journey to success and a fulfilling life. It is not also clear how the writer is living presently. However, the book has tried making some conclusions about the writer to improve the audience’s understanding.
Pelzer advices that the developmental stages of a child should be handled with care and guardians should pay attention to the child (95). This is quite important when a child moves from childhood to maturity stage. A lot of guidance is needed for smooth transition. Using Dave’s example, this did not appear as the case as his childhood is full of misery and much suffering. After he is taken to a foster home, the protagonist becomes hyperactive because of the freedom he has not known in a long time.
The writer also suggests that the boy was full of bitterness hence his harsh character. There is an instance where the boy is negatively influenced by his peer and they plan to set fire to a classroom. Upon identification, the peer quickly changes the story and implicates Dave. At one of his foster homes, the protagonist rides a bicycle and goes to view his maternal home and this is taken as an indiscipline action (Pelzer, 100). Dave is punished but this time in a proper way. Punishing adolescents in the required way enables them to learn from their mistakes and know that the guardians wish them well.
Pelzer, Dave. Moving forward: Taking the lead in your life. London: Orion Books Limited, 2010. Print.
Pelzer, Dave. A child called “it.” An abused child’s journey from victim and victor. London: Orion Books Limited, 2008. Print.