Monthly Archives: February 2017

A Child Called ‘It’: Dave Pelzer

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A Child Called ‘It’: Dave Pelzer (A Book Review)

Graphically intense and utterly heart-wrenching. Its narration truly feels like child’s call for help, yearning for a sense of belonging from a family who’s disowned him for their mother’s sake.

A Child Called ‘It’ is the first part from his trilogy of My Story where on this particular novel, he narrates the various encounters he’s experienced starting on his primary years at age 4 until 12.

An immensely powerful read, A Child Called ‘It’ tells the story of a young boy named Dave Pelzer, a victim of child abuse coming from his own mother done to him daily out of spite. Out of the number of siblings he’s had, Dave remained the only one receiving blows from here and there as his mother pleases, to the point where everyone in the family disowns him and is eventually considered a nobody.

From the wretched ‘games’ his mother has come up with, it’s a miracle Dave managed to survive all of the hideous attempts she forced him into doing to no avail. There are just about a hundred punishments unimaginable done to him whenever he does a ‘bad deed’ not until he’s finally gotten the help he truly deserves to have.

The entire novel of his first book is well written in a manner that you could imagine every single incident the author has described his terrible childhood from the beginning until the last chapter. The many instances alone he experienced would make it seem as if you too had carried the heavy burden he’s given all those years ago. Emotions emphasized throughout the novel are strongly felt, even to the reader. His hatred on the people whom he shared the same blood with is explained in a calm manner, that of a naive child who only wanted a love from no other than his household.

The optimism he’s kept to himself the entire time he lived in the same roof as his so-called family is what I truly admire about Dave. Despite the instances he endured alone, how his mother loathed for his existence and the attempt of having her own son hate himself as much as she detest Dave, are no match for the faith he had that someone, anybody would come and swoop him out of his home.

His hopelessness on the ceaseless torture experienced every single day finally reveled on as he came to the realization that even the person he believes would serve as his protector gave in to their mother’s wishes. I feel nothing but grief for the boy as his morale begins to simmer down until the detest he had is all bottled up inside him. The many instances he did are desperate even for his sake as he’s on a roll onto committing the various acts of theft to survive.

All the hard work he put his best into paid off as his renowned freedom is claimed after several years have passed. That was indeed pure bliss, especially on his case to be taken out of his so-called home he’s resided as long as he can remember.

The explanation and origin of child abuse in general, the hows and why behind it was well explained by David himself. I admire and have learned so much on the seriousness of the aforementioned issue, how it remains to still exist even to this day.

Two of these chapters struck to me the most for it shows the sudden change of his mother’s self-destructive attitude shown on her son. It may not be as true like she intended to do, but her gesture into being the mother Dave used to love takes an unexpected turn wherein a small part of her conscience wanted to care for him, still despite how she continues to punish the poor boy for simply existing to her life. But sadly, even the little love left within her isn’t going to let that change her mind into bruising Dave’s well-being into shambles.

The other one, as already written on the previous paragraphs is having the only hope that kept him going this far went to side with the family instead. It dawned to him that only he could save himself from the living hell he’s forced to reside with for the rest of his life. Part of his decision to remain strong and fight onward is a noble gesture, with this particular value a truly admirable lesson to live by to everyone in struggle with their own problems.

The single regret I had on this book was not seeing Dave’s own story coming from someone else’s perspective as he’s mentioned this belonged to him alone. A significant character, who also happened to be one of the saviors who ended Dave’s misery said so himself that going through all of the abusive relationships the author had between his mother wouldn’t be necessary. Either way, readers are informed on child abuse from the eyes of the victim and the effect it does to them along the way.

Regarding the book’s rating, I give it an 8/10.

A biography of survival and triumph, a life story of Dave Pelzer would inspire readers to strive onward, no matter what life throws back at you.

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Openly Straight: Bill Konigsberg (A Book Review)

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Openly Straight: Bill Konigsberg (Book Review)

Genuinely heartwarming, honest and a coming of age story people has most likely experienced in their own journey towards discovering one’s true self further.

Not all endings need to be informant for a reader to enjoy. Sometimes, letting them keep on guessing and have their own set of conclusions as to how an author has written it is the best way to finish the story.

This is deemed to be true on Bill Konigsberg’s novel entitled ‘Openly Straight’ where it tells the life of Seamus Raphael ‘Rafe’ Goldberg, a Colorado resident who decided to continue his next life anew on an all-boy’s boarding school, without labels. This of course, includes covering his gay identity as he’s grown tired of being known simply as that and have people assume the worst out of him because of it.

At first, it seems he’s doing a fine job with this plan he got on going, keeping this significant part of his just to himself, thus a blossoming new friendship with the apparent straight guys around school begins. That is, until he starts falling over someone who never thought there are actually endless possibilities love has to offer, once its enveloped ones’ feelings completely.

The aforementioned statement above is what struck a chord to me, which is the prime reason why I consider this book worth reading. I like how the setting and the plot itself is relevant even to this day.

What remains a problem on most countries, still is discrimination of all types, especially on gender. Others, meanwhile are lucky enough to have this looked upon that resulted to same sex marriage being legalized in their state. Whereas, some aren’t so fortunate to have the said law implemented from where they reside. That may be the case, but the inevitable occurs no matter how the increasing number of people begun to show their support on the LGBTQ+ community.

I like how the author was able to acknowledge these and set out realistic examples of typical stereotypes that are often encountered by these people. The usual assumptions of the gays as flamboyant in nature and dresses up in feminine wear all the time is a ridiculous notion to think of.

There’s also the irrational fear the straight people have against gay people wherein they loathe the idea of themselves being romanticized even if no intentions are shown as what happened along the next chapters of Rafe’s story. Homophobic comments are also said throughout the novel and it’s saddening to hear this is still practiced as a term of insult with the perception of gays as mere weaklings.

Genders and sexual orientations aside, what I love the most is the differing opinions each character has that then welcomes the conflict occurring in the story, that also serves as the highlight in making the novel intriguing enough for the readers, they couldn’t simply stop reading in sheer delight not until they got to the bottom of it.

The perspective on both parties (Gays and Straight) is showcased in a well written manner, the option to take sides wouldn’t matter since each opinions stated by each character contradicts in a way that isn’t necessary to debate on, choosing what’s ‘right’ from ‘wrong.’

As much as I’m delighted for this novel, there’s a couple of flaws that marked a dent on some of its chapters. The first would be the unfortunate erasure over bisexuality’s existence in the community. An organization present in the story left out this particular sexuality and is visibly obvious on how it’s written: ‘gay, lesbian or transgender’ in reference to the statistics behind the percentage of these people who identified themselves as such are homeless after families disowned them.

Being closeted myself, it’s disappointing to have people who shares the same identity as I am shunned away from the other sexualities who are also fighting for similar rights as we are now.

Another is not so much a problem compared to the previous one as this is more focused on the minor characters within the story. I believe that even if fictional figures like them didn’t have enough appearance on other parts, they still deserve to have their own spotlight shone onto them, especially if they did made an influential impact to the protagonist.

After all, a background story on their part is also necessary to pique a reader’s interest on other possible favorites aside from the hero. This best applies to finding out the how’s and why’s of an event that led them such outcomes not to be left unanswered.

Whether or not you identified yourself on the LGBTQ+ spectrum, you’d definitely be able to sympathize Rafe’s incoming struggles with his new identity as an openly straight person.

This crisis can be compared on how even an ordinary individual like yourself would have troubles with being one’s true self, you’d be willing to take the risk of becoming a totally different person from who you are supposed to be, in order to gain approval from other people you wanted to befriend or just to simply make a good impression to them.

If you’re one of those people experiencing this sort of dilemma, dread no more for this book is made especially just for you.

As for the rating, I’d give this novel 8/10.

The unprovided details surreptitiously left unwritten on its other characters and it’s rather unnerving abandoned attempt to erase the identity of bisexuality are the cons of this book.

On the other hand, the steady pacing on each character’s dialogue and their own sense of thoughts into expressing them is perhaps a personal favorite of mine on this novel itself. That and how the reader’s capable of empathizing with the protagonist or any of the characters in general upon setting themselves in this story. After all, what’s the use of reading something out of leisure and not feel a connection at all?

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