Pelzer was the second born of five children. His father was a fireman and, according to Dave, his mother was originally a loving, kind and wonderful person who would try to do anything for her family. The abuse gradually started when he was about five. At that point, Dave could tell what kind of day he could expect to have by the way his mother was dressed. If she was all made up then he could expect a good day, but if she wasn't he knew he would be either hit, yelled at, or punished, or all three.
The book describes the worsening abuse that Pelzer suffered at the hand of his mother and her alcoholism. Most speculate that she had some other addiction or a chemical imbalance but none is known. The abuse escalated when Dave was seven years of age when he was told he would stay back in first grade for another year. It's not made clear whether the school or his mother made this decision. He would steal food from the kids' lunch boxes because he never got fed. The kids started to notice that some of their food was missing and then he got caught, and the teachers called his mom not knowing that he would be getting more abused then he already did. When he got home his mom punished him for taking food from the kids. At this point he began to be punished severely, made to do extra chores, and was banned from family activities. The beatings began to increase and now began to happen with his father around as well. The "good days" were becoming few and far between. That summer he was excluded in a family vacation. At first he tried to stop the abuse but as time went on felt unable to intervene. His mom never once excluded his other siblings. They were all treated nice and never once got in trouble by his mother. She had no reason to just go after Dave.
The next year the abuse intensified and at that point he was not even allowed to eat meals with the family. Dave was the one... [continues]
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