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Claireece Precious Jones endures unimaginable hardships in her young life. Abused by her mother, raped by her father, she grows up poor, angry, illiterate, fat, unloved and generally unnoticed. So what better way to learn about her than through her own, halting dialect. That is the device deployed in the first novel by poet and singer Sapphire. "Sometimes I wish I was not alive," Precious says. "But I don't know how to die. Ain' no plug to pull out. 'N no matter how bad I feel my heart don't stop beating and my eyes open in the morning." An intense story of adversity and the mechanisms to cope with it.
With this much anticipated first novel, told from the point of view of an illiterate, brutalized Harlem teenager, Sapphire (American Dreams), a writer affiliated with the Nuyorican poets, charts the psychic damage of the most ghettoized of inner-city inhabitants. Obese, dark-skinned, HIV-positive, bullied by her sexually abusive mother, Clareece, Precious Jones is, at the novel's outset, pregnant for the second time with her father's child. (Precious had her first daughter at 12, named Little Mongo, "short for Mongoloid Down Sinder, which is what she is; sometimes what I feel I is. I feel so stupid sometimes. So ugly, worth nuffin.") Referred to a pilot program by an unusually solicitous principal, Precious comes under the experimental pedagogy of a lesbian miracle worker named, implausibly enough, Blue Rain. Under her angelic mentorship, Precious, who has never before experienced real nurturing, learns to voice her long suppressed feelings in a journal. As her language skills improve, she finds sustenance in writing poetry, in friendships and in support groups-one for "insect" survivors and one for HIV-positive teens. It is here that Sapphire falters, as her slim and harrowing novel, with its references to Harriet Tubman, Langston Hughes and The Color Purple (a parallel the author hints at again and again), becomes a conventional, albeit dark and unresolved, allegory about redemption. The ending, composed of excerpts from the journals of Precious's classmates, lends heightened realism and a wider scope to the narrative, but also gives it a quality of incompleteness. Sapphire has created a remarkable heroine in Precious, whose first-person street talk is by turns blisteringly savvy, rawly lyrical, hilariously pig-headed and wrenchingly vulnerable. Yet that voice begs to be heard in a larger novel of more depth and complexity. 150,000 first printing; first serial to the New Yorker; audio rights to Random; foreign rights sold to England, France, Germany, Holland, Portugal and Brazil.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
The book is small and a quick read but as you read it you feel everything the main character feelsPublished 23 months ago by Danica
This book is a quick read but by no means a light one. The subject matter is dark, deeply depressing and extremely graphic. The novel is very well written. Read morePublished on June 17 2013 by A. Soares
Such a good book I gave it to my mother-in-law. A novel written like no other, with a moving story and possibly the read of the year!Published on Feb. 26 2010 by C. Lessard
From the moment I picked up this book, I was hooked. The author has written and described Precious so well and with such compassion that I wanted to reach out and hug her. Read morePublished on Feb. 11 2010 by Marsha Baxter
I was very surprised to find the way this novel was written. There is a lot of profanity and grafic recounts by the narrator, of scence of incest. Read morePublished on Feb. 4 2010 by S. Devaladares
Push was easy yet hard to read. I enjoyed reading through Precious's eyes and her first person narrative was well done. Read morePublished on Dec 29 2009 by T. Walden
In light of the movie coming out, I picked up the book Push. It is a quick read, 1 week or less. However, it packs a lot of punch in those few pages. Read morePublished on Oct. 23 2009 by L. Alfred-Moses
The book is told from the perspective of Precious Jones.The grammar and style of writing progresses with the growth and enlightenment of the protagonist. Read morePublished on Sept. 27 2009 by Rafael Benedicto