Sunday, May 24, 2009

A Child Called "It" by Dave Pelzer - is it for Tween?

A Child Called It is Dave Pelzer's memoir of growing up in a terribly abusive home. His fairy tale mother becomes an alcoholic and turns into a monster. She is violent, withholds food, and emotionally manipulative. She isolates David, fools others, and vicously tries to destroy him day after day. This is the first in a trilogy of books and covers his early years from age 4-12 until he is rescued by Child Porotective Services. (BTW Those years in CPS are the second book and not real pretty either.)

This was a reread for me wondering if I could possibly put it in the hands of my sixth grader, Tween, the subject matter is so dark. I wouldn't be handing it to him because it's well written - it isn't. But it is sensational in the way of "alligator eats man" sensational. The content just stops you cold because it is so unimaginable to anyone who has ever loved another living thing. It's the train wreck that you don't want to see but just can't seem to avert your gaze.

Tween needs a book to read; daily reading is a homework assignment with a journal entry as proof. The RoundFile house is FULL of books. Bookworm and Youngest read constantly and Bookworm hoards books so her bedroom looks like a library. However, there is not a single book that interests Tween. No book can make that required twenty minutes of reading pass without whining and complaining and stalling and just plain driving Just Mom crazy. So I thought about what I see Tween watching on TV, lots of tabloid style shows i.e. "100 most outrageous ___". If you translate that to books - I think A Child Called "It fits the bill.

The book is an easy read technically - easy sentence structure, not much difficult vocabulary. There's some foul language - even the F word. It's a difficult read emotionally but I think it will draw him in. Tween thinks I am abusive because I force him to live in a ranch style home while all the other kids live in two story houses. And he only gets a new skateboard when he earns enough money to buy one, the other kids get one practically on demand (or so he says). And I won't let him drink an energy drink chock full of sugar and caffeine half an hour before bedtime, and I demand that he do his homework before sports, or youth group, or movies's just torture. I'm pretty confident in all those parenting decisions but this one...not so sure. Maybe this will go down as one of my bad parenting decisions but I'm giving him the book. We'll file this under the heading of...I'll do anything to get him to read. We'll see how it goes.

This is one of the books on my list for the Spring Reading Thing 2009. Click on the logo to see the rest of my list.

Click here to see my progress towards completing the challenge!

1 comment:

bermudaonion said...

I think you've made a good decision. Maybe the book can open a good dialogue between the two of you.