David Pelzer

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David Pelzer

David Pelzer

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In “A Child Called ‘It’,” author Dave Pelzer recounts a profoundly shocking personal history of childhood mistreatment, marking it as one of the most extreme cases of child abuse recorded in California. The memoir garnered significant attention, staying on the New York Times best-seller list for an extended period and earning a nomination for the Pulitzer Prize.

The narrative begins with Pelzer’s early school years, highlighting the onset of abuse by his mentally unstable and alcoholic mother. From first through fifth grade, he endured severe physical, emotional, and psychological abuse. His mother’s cruelty escalated to the point of denying his identity, referring to him as “it” rather than his name. The constant abuse nearly led to his death, until intervention by authorities. Despite the harrowing experiences, Pelzer’s resolve to survive and his faith were undiminished, driving him to not only overcome these challenges but to share his story with the world.

Born on December 29, 1960, in San Francisco, Pelzer is recognized for his autobiographical and self-help writings. His 1995 memoir reached significant commercial success, staying on The New York Times Best Seller list for numerous years and selling over 1.6 million copies within five years. The publication of this book brought Pelzer widespread fame, though it has also been the subject of debate and skepticism, with some family members and journalists questioning the authenticity of certain events depicted.


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CHERYL SCRUGGS is the host of the Thriving Beyond Belief podcast. She and her husband, Jeff, are doing life together and thriving in Dallas, Texas.

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