"A Child Called "It" is David Pelzer's tale of abuse and neglect as a young child. David begins his story talking about the physical hits he is taking from his mother while doing dishes and trying to find out where he can find some food. After finishing the dishes he is rewarded with the leftovers from one of his brother's cereal bowls. When he arrives at school he finds social workers there who have to interview him, and he is removed from his home. He has been rescued.
David then begins on a journey through his childhood. He talks about some a good time when he went with his mother to a park and had some frightened moments thinking that he might fall into the pond. She had comforted him by taking his hand. One day during kindergarten he had also felt her hug him from behind and he had felt great pride security and love.
David's life began to change. He had become the child that seemed to behave the worst and had a voice that carried. His mother's discipline went from punishment to verbal, mental, and physical abuse. His mother's physical appearance had also changed. She looked rough and would spend time on the couch in her robe and seemed very unhappy. She yelled at the kids a lot, but targeted David.
David was finally reduced to living in the basement of the house. He was given very little food and spent most of his time going through trash cans in search of food. The physical abuse increased significantly. The more his father traveled at his job, the worse the abuse seemed to become. David came to realize that he was not wanted. He no longer received Christmas gifts nor was he included the family events or holiday activities.
For David, school was not much better. He was mocked by other students and had no friends. He was isolated from others and had no where to turn. Finally, he was freed from his life and taken to a better life where he could be free from abuse.