58 pages 1 hour read

Dave Pelzer

A Child Called It: One Child’s Courage to Survive

Nonfiction | Autobiography / Memoir | Adult | Published in 1995

A modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, SuperSummary offers high-quality Study Guides with detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, and more. For select classroom titles, we also provide Teaching Guides with discussion and quiz questions to prompt student engagement.

Key Figures

Dave Pelzer

Dave Pelzer is a New York Times best-selling author who chronicles his abusive childhood in a trilogy of memoirs. A Child Called It focuses on Pelzer’s young life until he is handed over to foster care. In this memoir Pelzer depicts himself as a sensitive yet resilient young person who is determined to survive seemingly insurmountable emotional and physical manipulation. He is characterized by his will to survive and the small but clever ways he usurps his mother’s control. Pelzer’s struggle is one of endurance. He learns to overcome his challenges moment to moment, and he is eventually led to a safe environment with the help of his school administrators. Pelzer’s story illustrates the helplessness and innocence of child abuse victims and explores how domestic power struggles affect these children’s early lives. The other books in Pelzer’s trilogy of memoirs are The Lost Boy: A Foster Child’s Search for the Love of a Family (1997) and A Man Named Dave: A Story of Triumph and Forgiveness (2000).

Catherine Roerva

Catherine Roerva begins the book as a washed-up, angry single mother who takes her frustrations out on her children, namely author Dave Pelzer. However, as the book transitions into its second chapter, Pelzer portrays his mother in a different light.