A Man Named Dave: A Story of Triumph and Forgiveness Summary & Study Guide

Dave Pelzer
This Study Guide consists of approximately 23 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of A Man Named Dave.
This section contains 537 words
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A Man Named Dave: A Story of Triumph and Forgiveness Summary & Study Guide Description

A Man Named Dave: A Story of Triumph and Forgiveness Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

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In "A Man Named Dave," David Pelzer offers an honest and often difficult account of his transition into adulthood. After suffering 12 years of abuse from his mother, he enters the foster system as a haunted young man. He applies himself to work from a young age, to prove his worth to society. This work ethic causes him to drop out of high school. However, the allure of success in the Air Force draws him. He enlists to become a fireman, like his father was.

Pelzer continues to suffer from setbacks in the Air Force, seemingly through no fault of his own, though he does possess a naiveté that is unusual for someone of his age. Though he continues to apply himself fully to his tasks, he feels discouraged in jobs that he does not enjoy. Due to his secluded upbringing, he lacks social skills and fails to make friends.

After several years in the service, Pelzer learns that his father lies sick in the hospital. He arrives days before his father dies, whom he only saw briefly since entering foster care. Pelzer watches as cancer takes his father. The loss makes him feel more hopeless, as he hopes to save enough money to buy a house for him and his father. Without that goal, Pelzer's life begins to feel pointless.

The only skill Pelzer seems to possess, though, is an unbreakable will to survive, which he continues to possess. After more years in the Air Force, he gains clearance as a crewman on a refueling plane. With this promotion comes a transfer to a base back in his home state of California. He relaxes his strict hold on himself somewhat by renting an apartment off base. Months later, he attracts the attention of Patsy, a young woman in his apartment complex.

Female companionship is something of which Pelzer has no experience. However, Patsy pursues him, even to the point of moving in. Though Pelzer recognizes their personality conflicts right away, he feels his scarred background damages him; he admits to himself that he does not deserve better anyway. After several months of living together, Patsy announces she is pregnant.

Determined to be a better parent than his own were, Pelzer pushes for a quick marriage. He faces marriage and parenthood with the same determination he shows for every task. Deep down, however, he fears that he is genetically programmed to fail as a parent. The birth of his son proves otherwise, however. He falls instantly in love for the first time in his life. His son's happiness even sustains him through his service in the Persian Gulf War. It causes him to stick with a broken marriage for nearly 10 years, through his retirement form the Air Force and transition into life as a motivational speaker.

Finally, however, Patsy demands a way out. She refuses to support his sometimes unprofitable life as a speaker. They remain amicable in the separation. In the process of taking over his own life, including publishing the first two volumes of his memoirs, Pelzer meets his second wife. With the success of his books, he gains more fame as a speaker. Shortly after moving to his dream home on the Russian River, Pelzer remarries.

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This section contains 537 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the A Man Named Dave: A Story of Triumph and Forgiveness Study Guide
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