Analysis of Dave Pelzer’s Autobiography

The main character in the autobiography is Dave Pelzer. He is a young child who is both mentally and physically abused by his hateful mother. His most prominent trait is his ability to survive in any situation. Dave’s mother Catherine, started out as a Mrs. Brady, but she snapped one day after weeks of drinking. When her and her husband, Stephan, would fight and he would leave. This left Catherine without someone to take her anger out on. Obviously, Dave was the next best thing. Dave also had two brothers named Ron and Stan, who were never abused. May favorite character would have to be Dave because he remained strong even though all the hard times that he had.

The Story starts out with Dave telling the readers about how perfect his life seemed before his mother began her out of control drinking habit. Before she started the whole family would go on camping trips and spend most of there time together. When Catherine started to drink heavily, she and her husband began to fight over everything. This is when she first began to emotionally abuse Dave, by telling him that it was his fault that his they fought. She started referring to him as “ the boy” when she spoke of him and soon after, the entire family knew him as that. She then began hitting Dave and making him do everyone’s chores around the house. His Father decided to say something about the abuse, but Catherine became angry and took it out on Dave. A few nights later she was drinking and stabbed him in the stomach with a knife. Dave would also go days without eating because his mother thought it was fair punishment for not getting the chores done in time. He was also forced to lie to the school about his injuries, for example when his mother broke his arm he told them that he fell off the bunk beds. The worst “punishment” or torture that he had to endure was when he was locked in the bathroom with a bucket of cleaning fluids. The fumes filled the air and Dave could not breath so he pushed his face into an air vent to get good air. He was locked in there for several hours. A few weeks later his parent decided to go to their cabin. Dave thought they were going to be happy now and everything was going to change, but he was wrong. His mother had just given birth to her fourth child and his mother forced him to eat the feces out of the diapers. This terrible abuse continued for a few years until the school finally caught on. The book ended with Dave being taken away in a police car with promises that his mother would never hurt him again.

Dave wrote this book to let other know how bad abuse in America can be if children do not say anything about it, and if no one is looking for it a little bit. This book was not only very informative but also very scary. The way that he described some of the things that his mother did to him mad me sick and mad me wonder how someone could survive this kind of torture. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who could handle the horrific details. I have learned from this book that abuse does actually go on in society, and I feel that more needs to be done to end it.




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