A Man Named Dave by Dave Pelzer Genre: Autobiographical novel
A Man Named Dave is the third and last story in Dave Pelzer’s series about his abusive mother. The first book, A Child Called It, covered his childhood and how he survived the extreme physical and mental abuse he received from his Mother. The second book, The Lost Boy, covers his teenage years and his five foster homes. This book covers his adult life. At age eighteen, Dave joined the air force. He wanted to be a pilot, but he didn’t start off that way. At first, he was a cook in the air force. Then, he went through the training and eventually achieved his dream of being a pilot. Dave was married to a woman named Patsy, but the eight year marriage ended in divorce. They divorced because she wasn’t able to understand how Dave felt about his childhood, and how his life remained haunted by the memories of his years as the bruised, cowering “It”. He still maintained a healthy relationship with their son, Steven, though. Throughout the book Dave had many confrontations with his Mother, including the one at his father’s funeral. Dave is now happily married to his second wife, Marsha. He has won awards and appeared on talk shows. He has a wonderful relationship with his son, who he promised he would never treat the way his Mother treated him. And, his Mother is now dead.
“Pelzer…inspires us all. He is a living example that all of us have the capability to better ourselves no matter what the odds.” – Jack Canfield
A Man Named Dave is a true story. It is written by the author, the actual victim of this abuse, in first person. I really enjoyed reading it because this really allowed me to get into the character’s head. People who have never experienced things like child abuse can not even begin to imagine what must be going through the victim’s head. However, by reading this book I can see that his Mother not only caused him severe physical abuse, but she also abused him emotionally. And, I was able to see that even after Dave was rescued, the memories of being abused will haunt him for the rest of his life and will follow him and affect him no matter what he does. Pelzer’s writing style used a lot of details while describing his feelings. This is similar to his previous books, A Child Called It and The Lost Boy. The only difference is that in his first two books you were able to get into his head and see how he felt while the abuse was going on, and in this book you are able to see how he feels afterward, and how he uses his childhood as a reason to accomplish more in his life and be someone, and how he promises himself that he will never treat Steven this way.
"‘You lose’, I smiled
‘What?’ Mother asked
‘All those years you tried your best to break me, and I'm still here. Father's finally free, Ron's (his brother) in the service, and soon the boys will move out on their own. I'm a good person. I try my best in everything I set out to do. I make mistakes, I screw up, but I learn. I don't blame others for my problems. I stand on my own. And one day you'll see, I'm going to make something of myself. Whether I dig ditches or flip burgers for the air force, I'll be the best, and somehow, some way, I won't waste my life away. If you taught me anything, you taught me that. Stay away from me. Everything you've done to others...I pray for you every night, I swear to God, I really do. You may have your papers, your money, whatever. You can hate everybody and everything on this planet, but YOU lose!'.”
This book is one I will never forget. Child abuse is a difficult subject to read about at times, and after reading the first book, A Child Called It, I was tempted to read this book to find out about what happened to Dave after his tragic childhood. I think his books are very inspiring, this one in particular. It shows that despite his childhood, he was able to overcome everything and still become a wonderful, successful man.