My voice sounds like fingernails against chalkboard (when you can actually hear it), my left ear has blocked up and my hacking coughs produce either large wads of gooey phlegm or hard, nasty pieces that were probably once caked on to the inside of my lungs.
So I’m not feeling that well. I’ve been gargling, cleansing my sinuses (thanks neti pot!) and drinking enormous amounts of fluids and I’m sloooowly getting better. Grrr.
Anyhow, I digress. I’m taking a leaf out of Shiv’s blog and posting a book review. Not that I plan to make a habit of it, its just that this particular book really affected me.
The book is actually an amalgam of three books into one larger one. “My Story” by Dave Pelzer is a heartbreakingly painful story of a derranged, alcoholic mother who singles out one of her sons – Dave – for outrageously cruel and almost fatal treatment from the ages of around five to twelve, when he was finally made a ward of the state.
The first book (A Child Called It) details his life of pain, suffering, humiliation and degredation by his mother. She starved him and beat him. She made him sleep in the garage and work as a slave for the rest of the family. She burned him arm and would feed him ammonia. And much more. Dave’s father stood by helplessly wishing he could help. All the while, this small boy tried to understand what he’d done to deserve this treatment and why his mummy didn’t love him. Reading this story made me cry often and when his teachers and school nurse finally took action to take him away from his mother my relief was palpable.
The second book (The Lost Boy) looks at Dave’s time in foster care and trying to adjust to living a relatively normal life after years of torture and seclusion. It wasn’t easy for him or for his foster parents and even though he was away from his mother, she still did what she could to ruin his life further. Its a very interesting look at the inside world of foster homes in 1970’s America. Its also fascinating to read of Dave’s tactics for survival in a world he didn’t know how to relate to.
The final book (A Man Named Dave) details his rise from the ashes of his childhood life. Dave joins the airforce and becomes sucessful in the world. But ofcourse, he still has 1,001 demons and issues to deal with. What’s admirable about Dave, is that he goes after it all. He might hurt, he might not understand – but he never gives up, never stops trying. Dave also eventually falls in love and finds meaning through his relationship with his son. And somehow, he manages to find it in his heart to forgive his mother.
Dave’s recovery and deep-filled desire to help other “at-risk” children is awe-inspiring.
Whilst reading this book at this time in my life was a little bit… dicey for my internal emotional world, I couldn’t stop reading it. It was literally a page-turner of the best kind, despite the horrific content.
I’m still not sure where I’m at right now, given the weight of the book. But am I supremely glad I read it. He’s just another example of the kind of person we can all choose to be – someone who rises high above the past and strides with purpose and strength into a much brighter future.