When I finished reading this book for the first time, I was truly blown away by the abuse David Pelzer suffered at the hands of his mother. That a parent could inflict this type of harm on her own child is unfathomable to me. Dave's narration doesn't flinch from the most painful of details. He explains the emotional torture of being locked away from the rest of his family and treated as something less than human. He explains the way his mother manipulated him into not telling the social services worker the truth when she came to investigate concerns of abuse. He explains his strategies in finding and stealing food in order to survive his mother's attempts to starve him.
In fact, David Pelzer's case is counted as one of the worse cases of child abuse in California's history. The story is so shocking that some say it couldn't be real. And it is easy to understand why people may think that.
After all, what kind of mother locks her child in a room with a chemical mixture that could kill him? What kind of mother forces her child to eat his own vomit?
Sometimes I think child abuse victims unfortunately become a nameless and faceless idea, and we become removed from the reality that some of our most vulnerable members of society face. This book stands as a personal testament to the cruelties that happen inside homes all across America (and elsewhere) and the strength of the human spirit to persevere in the most difficult of circumstances. Dave Pelzer's story is one of unquenchable hope, even when he seemed to have no one in the world who could rescue him from his mother's evil actions.