Alterknitive's Blog

Book Reviews

Dave Pelzer, Help Yourself

I used to think that mine was the worst possible childhood, and until very recently, I complained to anyone who would listen about how badly I was treated and how traumatised I am as a result.  Then I found out about Dave Pelzer.


When I read his book, A Child Called It, I cried often.  What did I have to complain about in comparison?  I learned that he had written a self help book, and I just had to read it.  I thought, if anyone knows what they’re talking about, it will be him.


Pelzer has more right than most to complain about his past, but he doesn’t.  He accepts it, and even values it for making him the man he is today.  In his book, Help Yourself, he uses his experiences to illustrate how he made it through to become the happy, healthy and productive individual that he is, and more importantly, to encourage the rest of us to do the same.


He writes in a friendly, direct tone through which the reader can discern his genuine wish to share what he has learned for the benefit of others.  His advice is presented in a simple and straightforward, no nonsense manner, which I feel makes it easy to see how it might be applied to one’s own life. 


I’m sure all of us have been attracted by the bold claims of other self help books before.  I know I have!  In my experience, the central theme is mostly to “let go” of the past.  While this is an excellent idea in theory, it is easier said than done.  I never learned how.  I resolved that there must be some magical formula to it that maybe one day I’d find out.  Pelzer has demystified the process for me.  I find Help Yourself to be an excellent starting point for identifying the issues and beginning to resolve them.  It has certainly given me a glimmer of hope.


What Help Yourself is not is an alternative to proper medical and/or psychological treatment if that is what the individual requires, nor is it a quick fix.  Pelzer tells the reader that if they want a better life (and who doesn’t), then they will have to be prepared to make it happen for themselves.  While telling us it will take time and effort, he is motivational, and I for one couldn’t wait to get started!


So, “What is this magical formula?”, I hear you ask.  You know you’re going to have to work at it, but where do you start?  I can only tell you a little about what was helpful for me in finding my starting point and digging myself out of the rut I have been in for years on end.  My issues will not be the same as yours.  If in doubt, get the book (I have seen it on for 1p, or borrow it from your Library).


If, like me, you are affected by adverse events from your past, then draw a line in the sand.  You are not living in that past now.  There’s nothing you can do to change it, but what you can do is change your perception of it, and learn from it the way that Pelzer has.  Don’t waste any more of your time and energy holding grudges or hating people, or even worse, trying to please everyone else.  You are your own person.


Whatever you are doing at the moment that isn’t helping to improve your life is perhaps all you know how to do.  If it isn’t helping, you need to be doing something else.  While moving out of your comfort zone, however miserable it may be, and making a better life is scary, if you don’t try, you’ll never know better.  Your life is yours, you own it, and you deserve to live it your way. 


Allow yourself to dream of what might be, and use your dreams to make realistic goals for yourself.  Break down the steps it will take to achieve your goals into manageable pieces, and do something small every day to get a little closer to where you want to be.  By giving it your all, you are investing in yourself.


In conclusion, I can highly recommend this book.  Reading Pelzer’s commonsense approach and simple advice, it is easy to see how you can apply it to your own life in order to make it better. 


Pelzer says in his epilogue that it is his sole desire that his book makes a significant difference, and to me at least, it most certainly has.



  1. I have not read this book, but have read most of his others; I was lucky enough to hear him speak a few months ago and it was riveting. He’s so positive, and so thankful for the social workers and police officers and educators in his life…I keep hearing him say “do something” I’m glad he was helpful to you

    Comment by Carol — 04/09/2012 @ 4:25 am |Reply

    • He really is an inspiration!

      Comment by alterknitive — 24/02/2013 @ 3:19 pm |Reply

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Blog at

Catt Creative

Create yourself


News, politics, insights, inside information from the left

I am 1 in 4

Reducing the stigma around mental health

Frack Off London

Fighting extreme energy in London


A Site of Beautiful Resistance

The scatty sewer

A scatty sewers journey through the world of sewing

The Sew London Project

Style and elegance - perfected for you.


trapped in the broom closet

Captain Awkward

Advice. Staircase Wit. Faux Pas. Movies.

From Psychic / Medium Danielle Egnew

The Call to Light Press - Spiritual Messages for Changing Times.

شاي بالنعناع

A sip of mint tea with an Arab American Muslim woman.

HodgePodge Crochet

.....because crochet is what you live for.

Mental Health Cop

A venn diagram of policing, mental health and criminal justice

Pride's Purge

an irreverent look at UK politics


a collection of all things breastfeeding!

Beastrabban\'s Weblog

Just another weblog

ExposingBF Blog

Fighting fascism one fact at a time

%d bloggers like this: