Originally published at https://letarawritesbookreviews.wordpress.com/2017/06/14/book-review-push-by-sapphire/
Push– a word that is used several times in this book and is the term used to encourage the main character, Precious, to continue her efforts in making a better life for herself. This was a tough read, for more reasons than the subject matter.
I saw the movie Precious, which was based on this book, when it first came out several years ago, but I finally had the opportunity to read the novel when I stumbled across it in my local library. Remembering how much the movie made me cringe with disgust I braced myself and decided to dive into this book. I was not disappointed.
In graphic detail, the reader learns about the horrors of Precious’ life. The topics of rape, incest, physical and verbal abuse, illiteracy, and poverty are all brought to the forefront to show the readers exactly what Precious (and the countless people in real life who live like Precious) go through and how tough it is to come out of circumstances like that.
“Horrified” is the best word that comes to my mind when I try to describe how I felt as I read this. This is one of those books that I can’t say that I liked or enjoyed because the subject is not one that I consider enjoyable. I can appreciate the author’s effort because she certainly painted a vivid picture of what she wanted her audience to see. The book is written the way the main character speaks, which is poorly because of both her lack of education and people in her life who care enough to try to teach her anything. That made it a bit difficult for me to read at times, which was probably the point. Also, there were some details I felt didn’t need to be repeated, such as Precious’ description of the sexual abuse she endured at the hands of her father. If the author’s goal was to make her readers uncomfortable, she certainly achieved that.
It may have just been the subject matter itself, but about halfway through the book, I found myself feeling weary and ready to just end it. The story is short, but I wanted to see a little more progress a little bit quicker with fewer recollections of the many instances of rape or abuse. I didn’t want to revisit it anymore. Even though that progress did eventually come and throughout the novel, Precious did affirm that she wanted to have better and do better for herself and the children she bore as a result of her abuse, I still finished the book feeling hopeless.
Precious had a learning disorder, but she continued to push. She had an abusive mother, but she continued to push. She bore her father’s children/her own siblings, but she continued to push. She was simply passed from grade to grade without anyone taking the time to teach her or understand why she had a difficult time learning and communicating, but she continued to push. Precious pushed despite her circumstances, yet I still could not walk away from this book feeling positive about any of it. Sadly, that’s life for a lot of people from all parts of the world. The author was effective in telling the story she wanted to tell. For that, I rate it a 4 out of 5.