My wife recommended (several years ago) that I read this book by Dave Pelzer. Now I know why she recommended it...
I started the book around 1:00 this afternoon and was done by 5:00. This tale caused my stomach to churn, and literally made me wince as I read it. It is the story of one of the worst cases of child abuse in California. The author (now a grown man) is the one who was abused by an emotionally unstable, alcoholic mother. He tells the first part of his story in this book, capturing his thoughts of hope, fear, anger, rebellion, and ultimately, his own survival. This book tells of his early years, from a young age when he had a loving relationship with is mother and father, until fifth grade, when...well, I'll let you find out.
The story is almost so graphic that it seems unreal. As you read and realize that it is real, your heart will drop as beating after beating takes place, and Dave's mother invents new ways to torture him.
The biggest observations for me, though, have to do with the secret nature of abuse. How many adults put on a good face, only to go home and beat their kid or sexually abuse them? How many yell at their kids and demean them at home, making them feel like an "it?" How many kids do I know that are being abused, but are too scared to say anything? Or maybe they are afraid they have done something wrong?
This is a MUST-READ for anyone working with young people.