Friday, April 24, 2015

Too Close To Me by Dave Pelzer

Release Date: April 7, 2015
Publisher: Rosettabooks
Author Website: 

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

Decades after being rescued from an abusive home, Dave Pelzer bravely came forward with the shocking truth about the most horrific accounts of child abuse that California was ever made to face. Time, patience and determination helped him fight many battles of his teen years to become a well-functioning member of society as an adult. But he was from the fairy tale ending that many believed him to possess. Though he worked hard, was married and had children, issues from his past began haunting him whenever doubt or problems arose within his relationships.

Now that his second marriage ended badly, Dave struggled to free himself from the remaining chains originating from his past. Pushing his body and mind to the brink of exhaustion failed to do anything other than make troubles appear worse. That all proved to him where the answers were all along. In order for him to move forward, he must relinquish the hold his past had on him. To do so would mean facing the decisions he made along the way.

Having read the first two books written by the author, I was excited to receive this book as a prize from a giveaway at Goodreads. Though I was familiar with the author's childhood through his previous works, this book also presented the history of his family and the abuse without reliving the entirety of what he went through as a child. It was revisited in certain sections of the author's story when necessary, but the book wasn't so much about all the details of what he went through. Instead it was about how coming forward and dealing with what happened affected his life, relationships and health as an adult in this world. The author opened the book with his thoughts and feelings about his second marriage failing. By doing things the opposite way he'd done them in his first marriage, his hope was to have a better relationship with his second wife. Unfortunately, the near-ceaseless drive that carried him through most of his life began to wear on him and his marriage.

As the demise of his marriage allowed him the protection of being alone, it also gave him more time than he wanted to explore all the avenues where he'd failed and the dark recesses of his mind where the grip of the past was still very tight. The author was very open and honest about everything that occurred in his life to date, including the failings of himself and others as he viewed them. It was hard to read through the parts of the book where he delved into the past, remembering all the horrible things he endured at the hands of his mother, but they were necessary to understanding how he still had the need to impress and the desire to appease everyone. This also included both his parents, even though each were long gone and each had hurt him in different ways. The weight of all his obligations, both real and imagined, took a toll on his mind and body after so many years. They left him with panic attacks, severe nausea and tremors that frightened him more than anything because he feared that was turning into her.

While the book maintained a fairly steady pace from the opening chapter, there were a few places where I felt it slowed almost to a crawl, but picked up again within a few scenes. Life can often be like that, so it didn't surprise me that the book would follow suit since it was about the author's own life. Though the book as a whole had an impact on me, two scenes really got to me. The first came in the middle of his dealing with the divorce of his second wife. Mr. Pelzer was asked to spend some time with wounded Marines. As he spent time with each one, he had a revelation about himself which allowed him to break some of the bonds the past had on him. The interactions between he and the soldiers were poignant and heart-breaking at the same time. The second moment which stuck out in my mind was near the end of the book when he finally understood what he'd needed to change in order to move forward with his life. It was a major part in his letting go of the past and therefore, somewhat of a spoiler. You'll have to read it to see what happened.

Overall, this book hit home in a few areas. Some of present day issues mirrored my own - the overwhelming need to appease everyone, the fear of being alone though I want to be alone, and the constant need for approval. To see how they weighed on him and drove him from one extreme to another opened my eyes to what could happen in my own life if I kept on the same path. Though our pasts were different, the author and I still needed to resolve similar issues. In a way it was good to see how he went about fixing some of those issues in himself. The book gave off a sense of hope and optimism in the later chapters, making me feel like anyone could break the chains of their childhood, whether similar to the author's or not. This book should be on your TBR list if you have followed Dave Pelzer's life story and want to see another stretch of it or if you need an inspirational book where the author took a real, hard, honest look at his own self to make changes.

Too Close to Me by Dave Pelzer is currently available at several retailers, both online and in local stores. It can be purchased in either hardcover or digital (Kindle) versions. Below is the book's page at Amazon.
Too Close to Me by Dave Pelzer

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