A Brother’s Journey

richardpelzer.jpg

 Another book for the hungry weekend. Richard Pelzer’s A Brother’s Journey: Surviving a Childhood of Abuse. I read it in a hurry, wanting to finish the whole book in one sitting. Otherwise would be something sort of a thriller.

The four children – all boys- were raised by a their alcoholic mother. She was being extremely abusive to certain boys, not all of them. The first boy who became her object is Dave. When he was taken away by social services, Richard became the focus of her rage. He went on describing his emotional feeling and quest from the age of 8 till 15 around 1970s. He felt disappointed at his brother, teachers and neighbours who knew the way his mother treated him and Dave but failed to take any actions.   

The ending of the book is a bit of a disappointment. It leaves me in the dark of how he resolved his feelings and anger of his mother’s abusive acts and how he overcame his hunger for her affection.  

For me, it lacks of ingredients that make great novels a good read,  like introduction, plot and ending. It is more like a descriptive story, how he was beaten and when and how he felt. Maybe I should have read the book written about the same family by his brother, Dave Pelzer, A Child Called It (1995). It might give me better insight.

It does raise an issue whether or not people should stand up to those who abuse their children. Should we just stand aside and watch? Should we do something about it?

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7 Responses to “A Brother’s Journey”


  1. 1 adit January 7, 2008 at 10:44 am

    I think we have social obligation to protect children under abuse. Yes, they’re not ours, but it doesn’t mean that we can stand still when knowing someone is abusing their children. At least we can do is to report to the authority, I think.

  2. 2 L B January 7, 2008 at 12:09 pm

    How can we just stand and watch and not do something? Child abuse is an evil matter.

  3. 3 giddy tiger January 7, 2008 at 3:35 pm

    Definitely stand up and do something.

  4. 4 colson January 7, 2008 at 8:13 pm

    Child abuse is a very serious, worldwide problem. And everybody will agree we should protect children who are in danger. However the search for solutions poses real dilemma’s. For instance how to find a balance between the privacy of the family involved, the basic right of parents to take care of their own way of education and the duty of the society to safeguard the well being of the children.

    Questions like:

    When you, as someone from the neighborhood, have a suspicion of maltreatment of a child, can you confront the parents and hold them accountable (when they are neither relatives or friends)?

    Would you – as a professional schoolteacher – when you think a child in your school may be abused at home, because he/she often seems to be ( physically and/or psychologically) bruised – tell the authorities ( police, childcare etc)?

    Or do the same when, in your capacity as a professional doctor, if you think the injuries you treat a child for, are suspicious?

    Is it right for the authorities, if (only) suspicions have arisen, to go, check and question the family members at home?

    Personally I think the answers are yes. But one might cause severe damage if it is done without the utmost caution.

  5. 5 Sandy (Momisodes) January 7, 2008 at 8:24 pm

    I did not read this book, but I would have to agree that we should not stand and watch the innocent children be punished and abused in a way that causes serious physical and emotional harm.

    That is wonderful you were able to make it through the book over the weekend. I feel the same why when a book leaves me hanging with no resolution….

  6. 6 MissFrenchJessica January 8, 2008 at 12:20 am

    Book sounds interesting. I may pick this up and have a read. Thanks for the critique.

  7. 7 happysurfer January 8, 2008 at 8:23 am

    Child abuse is really sad. It is one of society’s illnesses. Shouldn’t children be protected and loved, not abused?


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