A Child called It by Dave Pelzer

Book name : A child called it
Author: Dave Pelzer
1558743669 (ISBN13: 9781558743663)
First published in 1992 by HCI
Genre: Memoir
My rating : 3/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

This book chronicles the unforgettable account of one of the most severe child abuse cases in California history. It is the story of Dave Pelzer, who was brutally beaten and starved by his emotionally unstable, alcoholic mother: a mother who played tortuous, unpredictable games–games that left him nearly dead. He had to learn how to play his mother’s games in order to survive because she no longer considered him a son, but a slave; and no longer a boy, but an “it.”

Dave’s bed was an old army cot in the basement, and his clothes were torn and raunchy. When his mother allowed him the luxury of food, it was nothing more than spoiled scraps that even the dogs refused to eat. The outside world knew nothing of his living nightmare. He had nothing or no one to turn to, but his dreams kept him alive–dreams of someone taking care of him, loving him and calling him their son.

My thoughts
A child called It is by no means an easy book to read.I had read reviews about the book and had wanted to pick it up for the longest time. Now that I am done with the book,i don’t know what to think about it. It is a brutal book and definitely not something I would recommend to the weak-stomached. The language is simple and the narrative linear. Dave’s description of the abuse his mother puts him through is graphic and cringe inducing many times.My stomach heaved as i read about Dave’s mother treating him worse than a dog by starving him and asking him to drink ammonia and other insanely inhuman things.It read like a manual on torture 101. How can someone be so inhuman to do that to her own child ,I wonder. She had to be severely damaged person .

What I also wonder about is why did it take so long for the school’s management to catch up on what was wrong with a kid that routinely came into school with bruises all over him.I read elsewhere that a huge controversy was kicked up with some people accusing Dave of imagining the abuse.Whatever the truth is,I just hope that Dave has healed. The best thing about the book ,according to me was the matter-of-fact narration .Dave story abuse and recovery has been broken up into 3 books ,when it could have been easily condensed into a single gripping book. Hope is a thread that runs through most of the book and despite the inhuman things Dave’s mother puts him through,I could see his spirit shining through.

In a strange way, the more Dave’s mother abused him ,the more he craved for her attention.This is something I’ve read about elsewhere as well as a ploy abusers make use of to make sure that the circle of abuse continues,because all he needed to do was to tell someone about his mother’s abuse for his ordeal to end. Overall,a short,gripping read.Depressing too,but definitely a book I would recommend. I’ll go with a rating of 3/5 for this book and would definitely want to grab a copy of the sequel just to read about how Dave managed to put back his bad childhood behind him and forged ahead with his life.

It’s also heartening to learn about Dave’s efforts at educating school children about abuse by visiting schools and interacting with children. One out of five children being abused is a statistic that makes me shudder.Dave is contributing in whatever small way he can and I salute his spirit.

Liz rocks,and how !

Book name : Eat, Pray Love- One woman’s Search for everything across Italy,India & Indonesia.
Author : Elizabeth Gilbert
Genre : Spiritual memoirs
My rating : 4/5

The book is sensual,spiritual,funny and serious all at the same time.This is probably the first spiritual memoirs i have read and i am not disappointed.Eat Pray Love chronicles Liz’s journey to sanity after a very traumatic divorce.Liz takes a year off her “life” and decides to EAT,PRAY and LOVE. the book is divided into 109 chapters ,symbolically representing the Japa mala which has 108 beads.The 109th bead is for thanking the teachers.These 109 chapters are further divided into 36 chapters each devoted to the pursuit of Eating,praying and Loving.

Liz gallivants across Italy with the sole purpose of eating beautiful food.This part of the memoirs is very light and Liz’s wit sparkles in the pages..Liz describes beautiful food and her hunger for gelatos.Funnily,the book reminded of the book Conversations with God.But,this part of Eat Pray Love is definitely more engaging and almost chick-lit-ish!.

The second part of the book was a little dense.The part in India,where she goes to pray.The humour that sparkled in the first half almost dries up,replaced by a serious narrative that describes Liz’s struggles with taming her mind.She stays in an Ashram (edit: in the outskirts of ) Mumbai,scrubs floors,meditates,battles fears and demons and emerges cleansed.This is a boon for people like me who have 10 books about alternative religions with them,yet don’t have the urge to read any of them as they are dense and tiring.Liz does compare notes about various religious ideologies.She seems so learned and spiritual at this point.

The final 36 chapters of the book deal with Liz’s journey to Indonesia to find a balance between her spiritual-seeking and pleasure seeking nature.Yeah,that’s where she meets the love of her life after almost one and a half years of celibacy.This part again is fun and full of interesting tit-bits on Bali’s Socio-cultural aspects. Very engaging read.

All in all,a beautiful book.Hugely popular.Some critics have panned it saying that it has a very Chick-lit-ish approach to spiritualism.My take is that this is what makes the book what it is.. Funny ,poignant and yet serious.You can’t help but like Liz and her motley group of friends at the end of the book.Wonderful book that lets us have a peak inside a troubled mind going to divorce.At the end of the designated year of eating,praying and Loving,Liz is rid of her negative thoughts and feelings about divorce. She doesn’t however say that these will be kept at bay for ever as spiritual good health is something that has to be constantly strived for.If not given timely overhauls,the weeds will grow right back and draw you back to the negative circle.

I loved it.A book i would want to gift my best girlfriends(in the words of Julia Roberts!!).. A higly recommended read.

Review of BPO Sutra by Sudhindra Mokhasi

A compendium of real life BPO stories compiled and edited by Sudhindra Mokhasi. 150 accounts that gives us insights into lives of people working in the industry touted as one of the Sunrise industries in India.Sudhindra himself has worked in various BPOs for almost a decade and some of the stories are drawn from his own experiences.

The stories are mostly one-two pagers and make for a light time pass read.No deep insights or wit here.The stories mostly revolve around abusive clients,dumb clients,the shady happenings in a call center,the affairs and sexual harassment cases,insensitive bosses and the works.Nothing jumps out at you out of the pages and sustains your attention for more than 20 minutes. To be very fair, i did like a few stories in there..There was story where a supervisor goes out of the way to help out an old lady who is unable to use her credit card.The old lady asks for the Supervisor’s address,to which the supervisor just gives here name of company and says that it was in India.A week later the supervisor is surprised to see a package for her in the mail.She opens the package to find a box of chocolates and a cute letter from the old lady.The old lady had taken the pains to figure out where the supervisor worked and had sent her the chocolates !.. sweet woman,no??

Several stories revolved around BPO drivers and adventures of Agents while onsite.There are lots of sleazy stories as well.For someone who isn’t accustomed to such stories,this book might have seemed new and different.I didn’t find anything new as the Hubby regales me with such tales almost everyday.Yeah,he works for a BPO.No,he doesnt take calls ;-)!.

BPO sutra also happens to be an online portal(Bposutra.com).There are forums for people in the industry to interact with each other.There are also mentorship programs,job postings and gyan articles about how to get it on in the industry. The second volume is in the pipeline and the author is looking for more stories.Do check the site for details.

Overall,a lacklustre book.Good for reading in short bursts.Ideal for local travel!.

My rating : 2.5/5
Publisher: RUPA
Price: Rs. 95