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  A Brother's Journey by Richard B. Pelzer

Review by: Teila M.
Michigan, Grade 10

I Liked all of the detail and everything about it.

Have you ever been around a child who was severely abused? Would you know if he or she was abused by just looking at them? Most kids wouldn’t realize their friend was being abused by their parents unless they were told. In the book A Brother’s Journey that was written by Richard B. Pelzer, his mother abused him and most of his teachers and neighbors realized what was going on in the household but never did anything to help. Abuse is something that can ruin a child’s life in the matter of time. Richard and his older brother Dave were put through it most of their life.
This memoir is a sad but truthful book on what really happens to Dave and Richard throughout their childhood. My favorite thing about the book is the description that was put into it, which made you feel like you were there. Most of the setting takes place at Richard’s house in California.
The main characters of the book are David, Richard, their mother, and their three older brothers. David lived in the basement of the house and was to eat from the dog bowl. In the first part of the book that they talk about David they only tell about how he was abused and that he was taken from the home. Richard, who was abused after David was taken from the home, was David’s younger brother who struggled with his emotions of his mom beating him. Richard walked 45 minutes to school everyday, and before he would leave for school his mom would chase him around the house just to hit him before the day started. Their mother drank all the time, which gave her the urge to beat them. The three older brothers were never touched, and Richard thinks its because they are the oldest of them all. Sometimes they got to pick the type of beating that Richard got.
Some quotes from the book are: “ At the age of nine I had become so timid and afraid of everything that I seldom looked any farther than my own little corner of the world and my bedroom for anything or anybody. I had become just what mom wanted: an obedient punching bag. But for the first time ever, I found enough courage to at least try to run away and leave her forever. Unfortunately, as a child I knew I just couldn’t stand up to her. I didn’t have the resolve to make a stand.” “ Mom has no one like David around to beat on anymore. I am more afraid of her than ever… I get in more trouble for anything I say. Now I find that I’m always in trouble and I don’t know why. Now that David is gone, I’m afraid that she will try to kill me, like she tried to kill him. I’m afraid that she will treat me like an animal like she did him. I’m afraid that now I’m her IT.''
There were many similes, metaphors, personifications, sight, sound, taste, smell, and touch throughout this book. Here are some examples: Simile, “He was like some animal you see on scary late-night television shows that’s kept under the steps, and yet the rest of the family seems normal.” Metaphor, “I didn’t know what I was looking for, but the basement was almost calling me.” Personification, “I felt better about holding it all in when I saw the walls cry for me, time after time.” Sight, “Opening my eyes, I realized she had left.” Sound, “ Not a soul was in the kitchen or anywhere else that I could hear.” Taste, “He was rarely permitted to wash, and was fed only leftovers a few times a week.” Smell, “I picked up the trash on the table and around the floor. I filled three trash bags with smelly garbage.” And Touch, “My chest felt as if it was crushed.”
While reading this book you never want to put it down. In every chapter there is something new that his mom is doing. His mother loved to drink and when she drank was when the worst came out of her. This book is very sad in many ways. There are many kids in the country who are abused by their parents daily. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in reading the type of abuse that Dave or Richard were put through.
Author Richard B. Pelzer was born fourth of five boys in 1965 in Daly City, California. During his childhood Richard watched his mother abuse his older brother David, and was the only witness to his mothers attempt to kill her son, who was Richard’s older brother. Richard barely survived his extremely abusive childhood and his own harsh teenage years. After thirty years and with the support of his wife, Richard collected his memoirs and wrote his first book “A Brother’s Journey.”

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