The assertions in his memoirs have led to some skeptical commentary. In a 2002 New York Times article by Pat Jordan the author questioned the reliability of Pelzer's recollections. He said that "Pelzer has an exquisite recall of his abuse, but almost no recall of anything that would authenticate that abuse," such as any details about his mother. Two members of his family, his maternal grandmother and brother, have disputed his book. One of his younger brothers, Stephen, denies that any abuse took place, and says that he thinks David was placed in foster care because "he started a fire and was caught shoplifting." However, his other brother Richard Pelzer is author of the book A Brother's Journey, which confirms much of what David has said and describes his own abuse when David was finally removed from the home. In regards to this Dave has said that Stephen had affection towards his mother and that, "He misses her terribly because she protected him". Due to the criticism from the NYT article Dave does not give interviews often.
In an article with The Boston Globe Pelzer's grandmother said she believed Dave had been abused but not as severely as he described. She also said she didn't believe his brother Richard was abused. It was revealed however that Pelzer's grandmother did not live in the same state as his brothers and family and was not in contact with them when the abuse happened.
An article in The Guardian notes that gaps in the background narrative "makes the foreground harder to trust." The author writes, "My own hunch is that, substantially, he's telling the truth [...] But there is a definite feeling of exaggeration in the later two books..." The author then states the same feeling Plotz also covered in his article, that she feels Pelzer is profiting from his abuse and minimizing the seriousness of the crime by making the writing "entertaining".