Book Review: Push

Push

Sapphire

Vintage

192 pages

I brought this book to my last book club meeting as a possible selection in the future.  Ultimately, my book club turned it down due to how many triggers are involved.  After reading Push, I agree that it is a very sensitive book and may not be the right choice for some people.

Precious Jones is sexteen and pregnant with her second child while living and going to school in Harlem.  She bore her first child at age twelve and both were the result of an incestuous relationship forced on Precious by her own father.  She has been dealing with sexual abuse from both her parents at a young age.  He mother is morbidly obese  and spends her time ordering Precious around and beating her. 

Once Precious’s school finds out that she is pregnant, she is expelled from her school.  While not having to complete school may be a welcome excuse from most teenagers, Precious is upset to no longer be in school.  She is able to enroll in an alternative school where she continues her education even after her son is born. 

The ignorance of Precious is heartbreaking.  She can barely read, despite being sixteen.  She yearns to get an education but there is still a lot she doesn’t know or understand about the world.  She named her daughter Mongo because she was born with Downs Syndrome and she is unable to care for her, so Mongo lives with Precious’s grandmother. 

The dialect in Push took a little time to get used to.  Precious’s language was indicative of where and how she was brought up.

I was left back when I was twelve because I had a baby for my fahver.  That was in 1983.  I was out of school for a year.  This gonna be my second baby.  My daughter got Down Sinder.  She’s retarded.  I got left back in the second grade too, when I was seven, ’cause I couldn’t read (and I still peed on myself).  I should be in the eleventh grade, getting ready to go into the twelf’ gradeso I can gone ‘n graduate.  But I’m not.  I’m in the ninfe grade.

I got suspended from school ’cause I’m pregnant which I don’t think is fair.  I ain’ did nothin’!

The resilience Precious had was astounding.  Pretty much anyone in that situation would be beaten down by life.  She just kept getting blow after blow and yet her hope is unwavering.  Although Push is a difficult read because of it’s contact, it leaves the reader with the idea that even those in the worst situations in life can prevail. 

Other Reviews:

The Red Lady’s Reading Room

BermudaOnion’s Weblog

Stuff as Dreams are Made on . . .

I bought this book from Kroger (I can’t even buy groceries without buying books too!).

For those of you who have read the book AND seen the movie, was the movie true to the book?  Which did you like better?

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7 Responses

  1. I bought this book for one of the secretaries for Christmas. She found the language difficult to get used to.

  2. This sounds like an amazing but difficult book.

  3. I totally agree – as sad and as horrifying as this book was, it left me with some hope.

  4. I haven’t seen the movie or read the book … but it sounds pretty heavy.

  5. I definitely want to read this one but I can see where it might be a tough sell for a book club. Most of the ladies in the one I’m in read a book a month–whatever the leader and I recommend but we try not to push them too far out of their comfort zone.

  6. I’ve been toying around with using this for the Read the Book, See the Movie challenge; but I’m unclear as to whether or not I want to put myself through the pain of reading about such an awful experience.

  7. Haven’t read the book but Monique won an Oscar for her role as Mary and Gabourey Sidibe as Precious both remarkable performances. Others in the cast, Paula Patton, Mariah Carey, Sherri Shepherd, Lenny Kravitz; an amazing story of difficult and triumphant times.

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