A Child Called "It" Characters
by Dave Pelzer

A Child Called "It" book cover
Start Your Free Trial

A Child Called "It" Characters

The main characters in A Child Called “It” are David, Catherine, Stephen, Ron and Stan, and Russell.

  • David, the book’s author and narrator, suffers terrible abuse at the hands of his mother.
  • Catherine, David’s mother, is an alcoholic who beats, starves, and terrorizes David.
  • Stephen is David’s father and a fireman. He enables David’s abuse by not standing up to Catherine.
  • Ron and Stan, David’s older brothers, treat him like an outcast.
  • Russell is one of David’s younger brothers. Catherine trains him to monitor David and report back to her about any infractions.

Characters

David Pelzer

David Pelzer is the author and narrator of the bestselling memoirs A Child Called "It" and The Lost Boy. A Child Called "It" tells the harrowing story of David's abuse at the hands of his mother, a violent alcoholic who concocts horrific ways of torturing David. At first, the abuse is comparatively tame, with Mother forcing David to stand in a corner or in front of a mirror for hours at a time. Soon, however, the abuse intensifies, and David is regularly beaten for imagined infractions. His mother refuses to buy him new clothes or shoes, so he wears the same ones every day, growing increasingly dirty and smelly. She also refuses to feed him, so he's forced to steal food, first from his fellow students, then from a grocery store, then the school cafeteria. When she discovers this habit, she starts forcing him to throw up after school and once even makes him eat the vomit. From there, the abuse becomes even more horrific. She wipes his brother's dirty diaper across his face, attempts to burn him on the stove, and stabs him "accidentally" while he's doing chores. Finally, his teachers call the police to report their suspicions of child abuse. David is free.

Download A Child Called "It" Study Guide

Subscribe Now


Catherine Roerva Pelzer

David's mother is a vicious woman who singles out David for abuse. Early on in the memoir, she displays signs of mania, but it's unclear what mental illness she suffers from, if any. Her behavior becomes increasingly erratic, until finally the happy, loving mother David once knew is replaced by a monster. No mental illness or claims of alcoholism could justify her treatment of David. Her many atrocities include forcing David to drink ammonia, burning him on the stove, refusing to feed him for days at a time, smearing feces on his face,...

(The entire section is 512 words.)