A BROTHER'S JOURNEY: Surviving a Childhood of Abuse

Richard B. Pelzer, Author . Warner $21.95 (272p) ISBN 978-0-446-53368-3

In this gripping, deeply troubling memoir, a follow-up to his brother David's bestselling A Child Called It , Pelzer reveals the unyielding suffering he says he experienced at the hands of his depraved mother growing up in the 1970s. Once David, the elder of the two, was removed from the household, the author, by this account, became the target of their mother's alcohol-induced rage. As Pelzer details his outward struggle to survive—learning to fall asleep with his eyes open, for example—and his internal efforts to understand and rise above his circumstances, he assaults readers with the graphic facts, told in surprisingly matter-of-fact language, about being beaten bloody for falling asleep when he was supposed to be awake, and being forbidden to bathe and forced to eat scraps from a dog bowl. Family members (including Pelzer's father), neighbors and teachers were aware of the abuse but did nothing to help, and Pelzer credits outsiders, especially his friend Ben, with finally "allowing" him to see himself more clearly. By looking back at—and then releasing—the image of the skinny, red-haired boy who wanted nothing more than his mother's love, Pelzer discovers his true spirit, which he shares courageously and selflessly here in the hope of healing himself, as well as raising awareness of and preventing child abuse. Agent, Jim Schiavone. (Jan. 5)

Forecast: Print ads and a radio satellite tour to 25 markets will draw in readers who were riveted by 1995's A Child Called It (interestingly, though, Pelzer doesn't comment on It, which came under scrutiny because of allegations that its account was embellished).

Reviewed on: 11/15/2004
Release date: 01/01/2005
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 272 pages - 978-0-7515-3600-3
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