A Child Called "It"

A Child Called "It" Study Guide

A Child Called “It,” published in 1995, was Dave Pelzer's first book. It is a nonfiction memoir, telling the story of his abuse as a child from the ages of 4 to 12 at the hands of his mother. It follows his childhood until a teacher at school at last calls the police and he is sent to live in a foster home.

The book was successful and made it onto the New York Times bestseller list, selling over 1.6 million copies in five years. Pelzer has been interviewed on multiple shows about the book and his experience, and he continues to give lectures across the country today.

However, A Child Called “It” has been extremely controversial since its publication, primarily because other family members give differing accounts of Dave's childhood. Both his maternal grandmother and brother have disputed his claims, claiming either that no abuse had taken place, or that he was abused, but not as severely as the book would suggest. Pelzer has been criticized openly in The New York Times for his claims. However, one brother of his, Richard, has supported his claims of abuse in his own memoir, A Brother's Journey.

A Child Called “It” is followed by two other books that detail further events in Dave's life following his abuse, The Lost Boy and A Man Named Dave.