Award-winning author provides inspiration for Windham students
By Melanie Savage - Staff Writer
Windham - posted Tue., Oct. 1, 2013
“You’re my favorite. I love your book,” said Windham High School freshman Monique, shaking the hand of best-selling author Dave Pelzer. As Pelzer moved on to greet other students, Monique chatted excitedly with her seat mate. “He shook my hand,” she whispered.
Pelzer spent the moments as he waited for the auditorium to fill shaking hands and chatting with students. Most were familiar with some of his work. “I’d say maybe 75 percent of the kids have read at least one of his books,” said teacher Vincent Iovine. In fact, according to a press release sent out by Windham public schools, Pelzer’s “A Child Called It” is one of the books most frequently checked out from the school’s library.
“A Child Called It” chronicles Pelzer’s emotional and physical abuse at the hands of his mother. The book describes an alcoholic who served as a devoted Cub Scouts den mother, and who provided for the needs of the majority of her children. But David was singled out for unrelenting torture. Referred to as “It,” never by his name, young David was forced to live on an old Army cot in the basement of the family home.
According to Pelzer’s autobiographical account, over the years he was starved, stabbed, forced to eat the contents of his sibling's diapers and a spoonful of ammonia, burned over a gas stove, gassed, and tortured in numerous other, horrific ways. Pelzer was finally rescued and delivered into foster care at the age of 12, when school staff finally reported the abuse to the authorities.
Subsequent to “A Child Called It,” “The Lost Boy” and “A Man Named Dave” described Pelzer’s journey through the foster child system, and his eventual career in the U.S. Air Force. Pelzer has penned four additional self-help books, and developed a career as an inspirational speaker.
Pelzer’s message to the Windham student body was one of perseverance in the face of difficulties. “One of my jobs is to look for greatness…” he said. “You have no idea how important you are to me and to this school.” Using moments from his own history as illustrations, Pelzer encouraged the students to focus on the positive.
He spoke of an infection he developed at the age of 8 after his mother inadvertently stabbed him in the chest. In order to save his life, Pelzer made the decision to treat the infected wound himself with a rag and some water. He likened the infection to hatred and other baggage, and urged the students to purge themselves of negativity. “Please do not quit on yourself or give away your dreams,” said Pelzer.