9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on October 18, 2009
"Push" is a dynamic, living novel that has documented trials and tribulations secretly experienced by many families. The writing is fierce, heart-breaking and harsh, yet can be so true as it documents an ugly story.Themes of poverty, power and control, sexual exploitation, poverty, domination, racism etc. ring through the poetry and Ebonics used by the author to make the piece more realistic. The setting is stilted with bare stone buildings, shelters, schools, hospitals placed in ghetto surroundings that provide little stimulation for growth and development. The main character, Precious, shows a strong willingness to survive and overcome her deplorable circumstances with only one main supporter, her teacher, who believe in her. Getting an education will save her from the abuse and destruction of her parents, enabling her to make an effort to break the cycle of darkness and repression for her own children. The book is a masterpiece.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on March 7, 2000
This book was incredibly difficult to read due to the graphic manner in which the subject matter was relayed. But this same graphic manner made the book that much more powerful of a read.
Sapphire does a great job first having us identify the main character, Precious Jones, as other, someone separate from us, and then slowly pulling us in to get to know her. This technique allows us to recognize that someone in reality whom we identify as other can become someone we know and understand independent of our own personal situations.
Note to readers: make sure to read the poem in the beginning before and after reading Push and see how your understanding of that poem changes.
Precious Jones is an angry, obese and illiterate sixteen year old girl who has suffered horrific abuse at the hands of both her parents. Now pregnant with her second child (by her father) Precious is an invisible statistic within both the education and social service systems, just one more of Harlem's casualties and a number that her school would rather advance and graduate than help. With the meeting of an extraordinary teacher Precious is finally `seen' and starts to receive the help and encouragement that she so desperately deserves. Learning not only how to read and write about her life but how to make it on her own for the first time.
At 139 pages Push was a short but tough read for me on many different levels and I found myself putting it aside more than once so I could regroup. The subject matter here is beyond shocking, at times nauseating and definitely not for the feint of heart. And unfortunately just when you think it couldn't possibly get any sadder, it does. Precious's story has also been written in the vernacular and requires some deciphering to be able to understand what she's trying to say.
Through journal entries (and some flashbacks) between Precious and her teacher, Ms Rain Precious tells us her story. Including; illegible writing (with translations) incorrect spelling and grammar, slang, swearing, alphabet recitals, poems and corrections from Ms Rain. As her reading, writing and self esteem issues improve so does the writing in the book, so that towards the end Precious is talking about GEDs and college and I'm enjoying her progress in a very real way. Despite everything Precious's spirit is very real and you can't help but cheer for her and hope for the best.
PUSH is the book that the recent academy award winning film "Precious" was based upon and although I haven't seen the movie yet, out of the two (and in a push) I would recommend the movie.
on February 8, 2010
Publisher: Vintage Books
Source: Personal Copy
Push is an emotional, raw, and heart-breaking novel. Claireece Precious Jones lives a life that no one wants to hear about. Precious has repeatedly been molested by her father, pregnant at twelve and again at sixteen. Precious doesn't know where to turn or who to ask for help. Her mother is not the nurturing type; she's actually jealous of the attention Precious receives from Carl. She accuses Precious of stealing her husband and repeatedly beats her. Precious is aware that her life is not normal, she is aware that there are parents in this world who love their children. She is just not sure why she was given this set of parents. She wishes she weren't invisible, she wishes she wasn't fat and ugly. She wants more for herself and her children. Her mother gave her daughter to her grandmother but Precious refuses to give up her son. Eventually she enrols in an alternative school, but continues to struggle through life.
I had a hard time reading this novel; emotionally I didn't know if I could continue. At one point I put it down and felt like crying. I couldn't believe the storyline, knowing full well that this does happen in real life. Precious was so young and tried to seek help but was pushed away from everyone. The vulgar language was very raw and disturbing for me. This book throws the harsh realities of life at you. I kept reading because I was rooting for Precious, I felt so sad and angry for her. This book brings you on an emotional roller coaster.
on November 8, 2003
The reason why I gave this book 5 stars is because the rating scale wouldn't allow me to give it a perfect 10! If you are looking for a book by an author who puts their heart and soul into their writing then look no further this is the book that you are looking for. This is a short novel, so I read it over night. Sapphire the author, who posseses a writing style so graphic that it electrifies her readers allowed my emotions to get deeply involved in this book, I felt the pain, the anguish, the rawness and the triumphs from the main character and storyteller Precious an iliterate teenager who is "precious" in her own right. She is abused by her immoral unsympathetic parents, a mother who mentally, phyically, and spiritually mistreats her and a father who has violated and deprived her of a childhood by molesting her at a young age. As the story progresses you as the reader will notice Precious striving to overcome these heinous obstacles and becomes a heroin. Reading this book was more than just entertaining it was an experience, a raw experience that I hadn't felt in a long time from any author (with the exception of Sistah Soldier). If you haven't read this novel yet Please Please PLEASE, RUN out to your nearest bookstore and purschase this book. This book will take you through emotions like no other book has done before.
on March 3, 2003
" Push" an excellent novel written by Ramona Lofton Sapphire. The dialect used in this novel made me feel as if I was at a play actually listening and watching the events as they take place. Above all the use of Ebonics helped me to understand how illiterate the main character Claireece Precious Jones was however, as the novel continue the use of Ebonics decreased as Claireece education increased. Shapphire use excellent adjectives to describe the gruesome events that took place in this young girl's life. Events such as being sexually and mentally abused by her mother and stepfather or the embarrassment of still urinating on herself at the age of sixteen. Shapphire use of adjectives and sentence structure makes the novel easy to read and comprehend. "Push" is one of those novels that once you start reading it, you can not stop.
This is the best book I have ever laid my hands on. I would recommend this novel to anyone. Although it is fiction, it is extremely realistic. This novel describes in full details actual events that many can relate to or know someone who can. "Push" is the type of novel that will make you laugh and cry all on the same page. Besides, it is one of those novels that you can read over and over and never become bored. Each time I have read "Push" I had a different opinion on the characters and the actions of Claireece parents. Thus far, no book can compare to "Push".
on October 10, 2002
Adolescence is a difficult time for girls. Their bodies begin developing, and maturing. They face changes within their bodies physically and mentally. Claireece Precious Jones ( also known as Precious) endures incomprehensible hardships throughout her adolescent years.Day by day she is faced with an abusive mother, and a father who constantly rapes her. I compare the settings of her life same as the life of Dave Pezler's in A Child Called "IT". She realizes she needs to change her living conditions, and start a better life for herself.
Growing up, Precious feels small and insignificant emotionally, but dumb, overweight and ugly physically. Her self esteem has deteriorated as she was growing up by her jealous, antisocial mother. She begins to have thoughts of suicide, thinking it's her only way out- "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." Her life seems to be a repititon for unimaginable,repulsive events. She feels unwanted throughout her whole life, and hates her mother, her father, her teachers, and most of all herself-"Don't nobody want me. Don't nobody need me. I know who I am...ugly black grease to be wipe away, punish, kilt, changed, finded a job for."Feeling deprived of her education, she states"The tesses paint a picture of me an' my muver-my whole family, we more than dumb, we invisible."
Pregnant with her second child, by her father, she is forced to drop out of high school, and attend alternative school."I always did like school, jus' seem school never did like me" Precious has remained completely illiterate. The context of this book really displays that. However,with the help of her teachers and fellow students who have undergone experiences as horrid as her own, she begins new understandings of words, friendship, and,most importantly herself.
Although Precious is a character very hard to relate to, she is portrayed as a beautiful individual in my opinion.The author allows its readers to see how a young girl gets through the trials and tribulations in her lifetime.Sapphire's use of language in the text strengthens Precious as a character. Precious is portrayed very " real."Precious's tone of voice used is crude, and full of sarcasm and hate. I very much recommend this book! The contents is a bit controversial to understand but the story of the life of Claireece Precious Jones seems truly authentic. It is a bit intense, but it is a story that has to be heard, and one that you will walk away remembering.
on October 10, 2002
" Push" by Sapphire is a really intense book dealing with a teenager, her abusive parents, and her struggle to make it some way in life. I really don't like reading but this book caught my attention through the first page and carried me though the end with ease. Precious, who is the main character, must "push" her way through life despite the many obstacles she encounters from her being illiterate to having to raise a child at 15 on her own.
This book also deals with rape and molestation, which I think will catch anyone's attention. The author has done a great job here in being descriptive about Precious Jones life. Sapphire describes exactly what is being sexually done to the main character by not just her father, but her mother as well. The way that the author chose to describe this girl's life made me feel as if I wanted to do something to help her but I had to remember that it was just a book.
There is someone who finally does see Precious as a person who has hopes and dreams like us all and helps her to get in the right direction. Precious Jones life after meeting Ms. Rain became a lot easier, although her life is still not on the same level of a regular teenager. She acquires new people and friends who are there to help see her along while she pushes on in her life.
I do recommend this book to anyone, teenagers and adults. I must warn that it does get graphic and can make you feel a bit uneasy, but this is what also makes the book great. This is the type of book that pulls you into it from the first page and keeps you interested through the end.
on April 18, 2002
You complain about how your boyfriend broke up with you or how your parents are on you because they don't let you go out. You think you have problems, but you have no idea. When you finish reading Push you will compare your life problems to Precious Jones', and you will realize you have nothing to complain about.
Precious is a high school student who's hiding her problems from everybody. She has one child and another on the way. The father of the child is her stepdad. She is alsobeing molested by a close family member, and, she can't read or write. After years of hiding from these problems, she's makes a resolution to learn how to read and write. This book reveals her struggle to become literate and have a normal life.
For instance, Precious says,"I get confuse i hate him, but my pu**y be popping, He say that big mamma your pu**y is popping. I hate my self when i feel good." Here Precious is remembering her confusion when her stepdad forces her to have sex with him. I got hooked on this book because I'd never read anything with profanity or explicit sexual behavior. But Sapphire includes these because she wants the reader to experience how life isn't always cookies-and-cream.
Both teens and adults readers will learn something from this book. Teens may learn that hiding your problems won't make them go away. Adults (especially teachers) will learn not to ignore their students' personal problems and the signs of illiteracy.
on April 18, 2002
...At the age seven, Precious Jones got left back in the second grade because she couldn't read. This happened again in the seventh grade. At the age of twelve, she had her second baby by her father. Now at the age of 16 , nothing has changed for this young woman. Her father still rapes her and she still fights battles with her mother. However, all that changes when she meets a woman that goes by the name, Miz Rain. She helps Precious get through all of her mother and father's nonsense.
Precious Jones is not so precious. She can be oppositional and defiant in class. There would be times where she would explode and curse out the teacher because she wasn't doing well on a test. Even though Precious came across as being strong, deep down, she was insecure.
The relationship between Precious and her parents was very unusual. She went through her childhood being raped, beaten, and physically, mentally and emotionally abused. As a strong young African-American, Precious Jones had to find things out the hard way. Even though she did not have a strong relationship with her parents, Precious Jones somehow managed to survive their torment.
There were two main themes in this book. The first one was that there are many cases of sexual abuse in this big world that does not get reported to the police. The second theme of this is that no mater what happens in your life, you can always over come it. So, if you are a sensitive guy or woman, I do not recommend this book. If not, go ahead and take a step to the unthinkable .