to wonder who on earth reads these books? And why??

(184 Posts)

I forget the snappy term for them but I'm referring to all the books about child abuse. Titles like "No Daddy No" and the like. I can understand that if you have suffered abuse it could be cathartic to write about it but I really don't understand why anyone would want to read it.

I may be a bit unreasonable as I have never read one of these books - have I missed something?

FeistyLass Sun 27-Jan-13 19:54:14

I read anything so I must admit I did read A BoyNamed It. That was enough for me and I can't imagine how much more difficult it would be to read once you have a child of your own.
It was so sad but I think it was also an example of how amazing people can be and how strong, because the author did have such an awful childhood but was able to find a way through it.

BoneyBackJefferson Sun 27-Jan-13 20:02:59

HollyBerryBush
"A Boy Call It - drivel - and fantasy if his siblings recants are to be believed - but hey! it made David Pelzer a fortune at the expense of his family."

So much for we believe you.

His brother backed him up.

peachypips Sun 27-Jan-13 20:06:54

I complained about these in WHSmiths. There was a whole section of them- four shelves high and about twelve feet wide. Voyeurism.

peachypips Sun 27-Jan-13 20:08:10

Have no prob with Boy called It - he was first so no bandwagon...

pouffepants Sun 27-Jan-13 20:13:30

Why do people doubt that there are thousands of children going through this stuff?

Maybe it's a joint effort to broadcast this fact to the world, instead of all living in our little bubbles. Yes, they're upsetting to read, but that's not the point, we must all be alert. And I don't mean to the odd sausage roll consumption!

fuzzpig Sun 27-Jan-13 20:19:00

I hate them. I read a child called it, when it was new and sort of groundbreaking IYSWIM. But ugggh at all the misery porn.

Can't deny I've considered (fleetingly) writing my own one about my own shit childhood just to make some money in desperate times.

BambieO Sun 27-Jan-13 20:19:14

I wouldn't say it's a bandwagon people are particularly thrilled to be jumping on confused

I'm sure their lives have been scarred by their experiences in some way. I think people are extremely brave to bare their souls and tell their stories.

I hope nothing like the acts detailed in some of the books ever happen to someone one of us knows after some of the judgemental posts on here

Allinonebucket Sun 27-Jan-13 20:19:30

Unless you are working through your own childhood trauma, then repeatedly reading this sort of thing is, well, creepy and pathetic.
IMO.

fuzzpig Sun 27-Jan-13 20:21:23

(Although tbh my childhood abuse probably wouldn't count as awful enough for the genre hmm)

Its no different from the penny dreadfuls and the true life mags. Misery sells.

Not my thang though.

YANBU

I don't know if you'd class it in the same genre, but a friend gave me a book as a birthday present called The Church of Dead Girls & said it was a great read. It's fiction, thankfully hmm about some weirdo who abducts & kills young girls and puts them in a 'church' with altar, flowers etc in his attic. I find it utterly confused that anyone would want to a) write it, or b) read it. Sick. Saw friend in a diffferent light from then on.

KitchenandJumble Sun 27-Jan-13 20:28:18

I don't think anyone doubts that children experience abuse. But some of these so-called memoirs have been exposed as complete fabrications (e.g. the Satanic cult one I mentioned above). And that does a tremendous disservice to actual victims of abuse. Just as the fake Holocaust memoir by Wilkomirski is a slap in the face to actual Holocaust survivors.

As for Pelzer, I have no idea whether his memories are accurate or not. But he is a godawful writer.

I don't take issue with the subject matter of these books. But I do object to the way they invite the reader to enjoy the vicarious thrill of witnessing violence. The piling on of more and more disturbing incidents, each drawn out and described in sensationalistic, cliched language makes me ill.

The same can be said of any disturbing subject matter. There have been some brilliant and heartbreaking works written about the Holocaust, for example. But there have also been some dreadful books (e.g., the schlock that is The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas). I think there's nothing wrong with having some discernment about how a subject is treated. To me it makes no sense to say that books like Pelzer's are in the same league with Mary McCarthy's, etc.

BambieO Sun 27-Jan-13 20:29:16

Considering I have only read a handful this seems to be a topic that is playing on my mind now!

I really do believe that the abuse detailed does go on and that more of us should be aware of the signs.

I think to say people are jumping on the bandwagon is extremely unfair. Just because something awful happened to someone else first does not invalidate the fact that it happened to you also and does not mean you are any less entitled to tell your story should you choose.

I wouldn't pick one of the books as a first choice as I like to read to 'escape' and these books can be utterly heart wrenching but I wouldn't judge someone for their choice of reading matter, be it these books, 50 shades, bell jar or harry potter.

Everyone is entitled to read, I think lots of judgy pants are practically tucked on people's ears they are so high sometimes.

Allinonebucket Sun 27-Jan-13 20:32:02

The cheap thrill people get, from reading about other people's actual miserable lives for entertainment makes me depressed. Don't they feel dirty afterwards? Disgusted with themselves? That's why it's called porn I guess. Yuck.

pouffepants Sun 27-Jan-13 20:37:01

I certainly don't get a thrill from it!

People need to be fully aware of the holocaust, in the hope that as the human race we never allow it to happen again.

I think people should think about serious abuse more often, not just shut it in a box of things that make them feel uncomfortable and sad, so we may have a chance as society to recognise and tackle it.

soontobeburns Sun 27-Jan-13 20:38:24

I love them. I have about 30 but it doesn't make me a bad person.

I want a career as a probation worker/social worker. And this helps me understand and kind of desensitise myself for my voluntary work with young offenders and nspcc and my ideal career.

Would people say the same about law and order:svu?

Maybe it makes me weird that I read them but I don't reslly care.

KitchenandJumble Sun 27-Jan-13 20:47:02

Desensitise yourself, soontobeburns? Really? I would think you would want to sensitise yourself to issues of abuse and neglect as much as possible.

VitoCorleone Sun 27-Jan-13 20:51:47

I read A Child Called It years ago, and the other 2 books he done. Very sad.

But i havent read any others, every time i go to Asda there seems to be new ones on the shelves, i just dont want to read about that sort of stuff. I cried reading A Child Called It but had to finish reading it to see how things turned out for him, i wouldnt read that sort of book again.

I dont judge people who do though, its just not for me.

cumfy Sun 27-Jan-13 20:55:12

I may be a bit unreasonable as I have never read one of these books

Umm ... that could be a good place to start.

I read the Dave Peltzer books.

I had a neglectful/alcoholic/slightly abusive childhood and found them quite good and insightful.

One of the big problems is that abusers and co-abusers deny and minimise their actions and therefore any attempt to reconcile your past directly with them is fraught with difficulties and likely failure.... and guess what ..... it's all your fault.

Reading survivors accounts enabled me to identify with the events and psychological stress experienced by the writer and thereby find some validation of my own childhood. It was also good to listen to the short and long term survival strategies as a vicarious third party, this helped identify themes and distill and compress my own experiences.

I can however see how people who come from loving family backgrounds, not finding any significant form of identification with the writer, might perceive such accounts as somewhat voyeuristic.

Catchingmockingbirds Sun 27-Jan-13 20:59:46

I've read a few to help me make sense of my own childhood. I'm not dim, nor do I collect porcelain kittens/dolls hmm

fuzzpig Sun 27-Jan-13 21:01:06

It makes me sad to remember the content of the pelzer books; it is very similar to what DH went through, except DH never got 'saved'

Letmeintroducemyself Sun 27-Jan-13 21:02:54

I'm sorry I think if someone is brave enough to write their story other deserves to be heard.

I could write a book, I have thought about it - (I was not the victim) - it sickens me to read victims experiences being mocked, misery porn etc, why are we using sexual terms to describe the sufferings of abuse victims.

these victims were silenced for long enough - these books you are all so quick to mock and laugh at are their "voice".

MrsBW Sun 27-Jan-13 21:03:16

'Cheap thrill'? No.

Because I may want to get an insight into the feelings of people that have suffered this level of abuse? Yes.

Catchingmockingbirds Sun 27-Jan-13 21:03:31

Don't they feel dirty afterwards? Disgusted with themselves?

No, I don't.

tinselahohoho Sun 27-Jan-13 21:07:16

This thread comes up every so often and I always find myself drawn in despite trying to ignore the OP.

To the person who said they're all made up, I can assure you they're not. Neither are they all the same.

To anyone who does want to sneer, I would suggest you consider how any survivor would feel if they read your comments. It's shameful to dismiss all experiences by anyone who has ever written their story in this way, it really is.

Abused children are told to shut up, don't tell, never mention it, no one will believe you if you do talk, throughout their lives - why should they keep doing that when they finally get a chance to make their voices heard?

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