This review is of a Sinhala translation of the original book. So I beg your pardon for any possible errors of the names of the characters and places involved.
My story is the self written autobiography of Dave Pelzer. This is a true story of boy who had an abused childhood, suffered from the effects of it for a long time, but gradually gained control over his fate and became a successful citizen.
David Pelzer has a wonderful early childhood. He and his brothers are happy and content with his parents love and caring. But after a while their parents, specially mother, change, though the reason is not clearly mentioned in the book.
Both parents get deeply in to drinking. His father becomes ignorant, and mother becomes cruel to him. She makes him slave at home, beats him, burns him and starves him. But above all, she tells him that he is a bad boy and is the cause of family’s misery.
The true extent of the abuse he undergoes will shock you, if you read the book yourself.
As his school teachers realize that he is being abused by his mother, the social service is notified and he gets taken in to their care. He lives with a few foster families from then on, some of whom truly love him. With their help he shakes his bad memories off. The most important thing is that he realizes that he must break the cycle of hatred, there for his parents.
He works hard at manual jobs and saves enough to get himself in the Air Force in which he eventually comes to a good position with his hard work and devotion. Then the first girlfriend steps in to his life. After they spend some time together, she gets pregnant with his child. In spite of all the advises of his friends against it, he decides to marry her, determined not to let what happened to him as a child to his own child. He becomes the father of son and the son becomes the focus of his life. Remembering how miserable he was as a child, he brings up his son with love and care.
He decides to help those who are like him out there. He starts doing workshops for those who have had abused childhoods. His wife sees all these as nonsense and eventually leaves him. He tries his best not to let the divorce disturb his son.
In spite of these draw backs, he continues his deed. Then he finds the true love of his life. With her help, he fulfills the ultimate need of all human beings, to play an important role in the society. His social work is finally recognized and rewarded. But what’s more important is that he is a good father to his son through and through.
Books like this has the power to help people to be rid of hatred and make them realize how good it is to forgive. This book is one of the best I have ever read.