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3.8 of 5 stars 3.80  ·  rating details  ·  27,982 ratings  ·  4,233 reviews
An electrifying first novel that shocks by its language, its circumstances, and its brutal honesty, Push recounts a young black street-girl's horrendous and redemptive journey through a Harlem inferno. For Precious Jones, 16 and pregnant with her father's child, miraculous hope appears and the world begins to open up for her when a courageous, determined teacher bullies, c...more
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published June 11th 1996 by Knopf (first published June 1996)
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I HATED this book. Don't get me wrong, I understand that horrendous things happen to people on a daily basis and that there are triumphant stories of those who have risen from the wreckage and are now living as icons of survival.

But this book is not like that, really. This book is more like "Listen, Precious has been raped and now I want to rape you too." And after you read the book, you need therapy and you feel like Precious is not really okay like the book tried to say she is at the end.

This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
PUSH exceeds the limits of my understanding. I am a white male; moderately affluent; educated; healthy; and able to say that my foundation from my past has allowed me to become the person I am today. Precious Jones is none of these things. If anything, she is the antithesis of what I am.

This is not her fault.

Blame birth. Chance. Possibility.

But what I have does not compare to what Precious Jones has. She is a fighter; a survivor of incest; HIV positive; beyond impoverished; and yet, hope burns...more
Dec 01, 2007 Jessica rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: pushers, the pushed
I encountered this when it was excerpted in the New Yorker around the time of its 1997 publication, when I was a senior in high school. Reading the New Yorker piece effectively shattered my skull, bludgeoning my brain into a tenderized and confused lump of quaking grey gristle.

Push is written in the voice of an impoverished, illiterate, uncared for, despised, abused, obese, neglected, friendless, and seriously fucked teenage black girl living in 1980s Harlem -- ground zero, at that time, of raci...more
I was going to write up a Celebrity Death Match between Sapphire and Dave Pelzer for the title of Most Abused Child Ever, but on second thoughts, silence is golden.

One last thing. I remember reading Push and watching The Wire during the same week had a strange effect on me which for a white English male was not a good thing. A work colleague asked me if Push was any good and I barked at him bitch be messin my mind and shit .
I honestly doubt I would have picked this novel up had it not been recommended to me or (as was the case) required as part of a class. While I enjoy "coming of age" stories and stories of overcoming hardship, the overarching themes and situations in this book are off-putting to say the least.

The professor made it very clear that the first chapter (~40 pages) was going to be very difficult to read for a number of reasons. Some students were put off by the spelling which was initially a little str...more
Poignant and unapologetically raw. Precious' ability to keep fighting against such dire odds both amazed and inspired me. This is a story I will never forget, and I truly look forward to the film adaptation.
I love this book. I hate this book.
I'm a binge reader -- I can swallow whole a 900 page novel from Friday evening to Sunday afternoon. It took me 3 weeks to read this huge short book. I had to put it down when I felt how little Precious thought of herself. I had to put it down when her mother admits her role in her child's abuse. I had to put it down so I could think of ways to kill this fictional pitiful girl's fictional stepfather. He is, as the Sweet Potato Queens would call him, "A Blood Sp...more
Ms. Jones
I feel fifty-fifty about the novel, PUSH. It tells an inspiring story about how reading and writing can save you from any situation you might encounter, no matter how tough. As an English teacher, I have to support that message! The characters, however, are not as well-developed as they could be. Sometimes while reading this book, I felt that Precious kept encountering more and more obstacles just so that the author, Sapphire, could play with readers' emotions. I also felt that she used curse wo...more
Beautiful and devastating. I don't mind monsters, rotting corpses or exploding heads, but this book proves my theory that no fictional horror can ever top the horrible things human beings do to each other in real life. The narrator, Precious, is abused in unspeakable ways by her parents, but she is also the smartest, funniest, most insightful and vibrant voice I've read in a very long time. In spite of being violated, she manages to soar above it all, telling it like it is and demonstrating just...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This is an important novel, though it lacks many of the pretensions that would convince us so.

Push, now known as the book that inspired last year's much-renowned hit film Precious, is the first-person account of the teenage life of Claireece Precious Jones, a Harlem teenager who as of writing this account has given birth to two children, a boy and a girl, both products of her rape at the hands of her biological father. In terms of Push's social narrative, it only goes downhill from there: Preci...more
Jun 30, 2011 Teresa rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Teresa by: rhea
3 and 1/2 stars

Disturbing, but worth it. I read more than half of it before going to sleep the other night and had bad dreams. Maybe I distanced myself from it emotionally when I picked it up again, but it didn't hold the same power over me when I read the rest. Perhaps that's the danger in a overwhelming topic such as this; our minds push away something so difficult -- our own form of survival, so just imagine what the people who endure the things Precious did have to do to survive. We become i...more
I really like this book. It was about this girl who gets raped by her dad,her mom does not belive her. She gets abused. i would recomend this book to kids and adults. But in my opion this book is most likly for adults because it has adulat language.
Anthony Chavez
-Definitely not for the squeamish or those who don't like harsh truths, sexual situations and cursing-

This book is packed with a heavy message that Sapphire drives home superbly. It was an easy read, but heavy in its own right.

"Push" rips you from your safe little cozy life and drops you into a concrete jungle that forces you to feel and experience life alongside Precious whose life, when we meet her, has been truly destroyed. Precious Jones was born a victim, and not by her own declaration. Pre...more
Athira (Reading on a Rainy Day)
Several years ago, when I was still in high school and believed that although the world wasn't wholly good, it wasn't too bad either, I came across a news item of an eight-year old girl in a Middle East country, who was repeatedly raped by her father, and thus made pregnant as well. The news horrified and numbed me. Reading Push was, in a way, a huge reminder to me of that one incident, the one that probably stripped off the fancy glasses from my irises.

I think...
When I read how Precious' mother...more
Opening Line: "I was left back when I was twelve because I had a baby for my fahver."

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 extr...more
Jason Pettus
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter.com:]. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.)

Here in Chicago, the Uptown neighborhood where I live is still chock-full of lower-class black families, a situation that originally developed during the "ghettoization" of this neighborhood in the white-flight 1950s; and so among other things, this has led my neighborhood library to stock an entire wall...more
Micaela Eliot
“Pain hit me again, then she hit me. I’m on the floor groaning. Mommy please! Mommy please!” This is only one of the many cries that are shrieked by (Claireece) Precious Jones, a 16-year-old girl, who is pregnant for the second time. No, she didn’t get pregnant by her boyfriend, best friend, or even a random stranger, but by her own father. And this is only the beginning of her problems. This powerful novel written by Sapphire is not only touching but also so breathtaking that I had to stop in...more
When I first read this book many years ago, I was initially drawn in by the raw and uncompromising story of a young girl whose life wasn't even remotely happy or positive. But when I overlaid my initial titillation and genuine curiosity with a more critical consideration of this book, I didn't think it was anything more than a bit of over-hyped sensationalism. There are writers who, with less obviousness and far more literary panache, can shock us just as deeply, but on that cerebral level that...more
One could say a lot about this book. I had to put this book down MANY times! Not because of how its written, not because it was anywhere near boring but because it was so raw, so disturbing, so sad and yet there was hope within it too. I also couldn't stop picking it back up. I felt horrible reading such a story as if my reading this was in some way exploiting her. Then I chose to believe that reading such a story isn't exploiting her in fact it's raising awareness that such issues do in fact oc...more
I not sure exactly how to feel about this book. I did really enjoy the writing, and I think I could give it to some of my Street Lit fans. Unlike most street lit, the writing is really pretty lovely and I did find myself caring about Precious and her terrible, horrible situation.

Still, I absolutely despise books that thrive on the pain they pile on their characters. Precious has rape, incest, illiteracy, AIDS, multiple pregnancies, obesity, and homelessness to contend with at sixteen years old....more
MK (Food actvist)
Jan 19, 2010 MK (Food actvist) rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone that wants to be moved
Precious Jones is Black teenager who can't read or write, but that's
the least of her problems. At 12 years old she had a baby by her father
and is now pregnant again, by him. This pregnancy leads to her getting kicked out of school. She is sent to an alternative school where she is determined to learn to read and write. She wants to gets a good job and get her own place to live.

The book is written from Precious' POV and in her words, literally and
literary. The spelling, cursing and descriptions...more
This is a masterpiece. Horrifying, inspirational, disgusting, touching..and totally believable. The voice in this book rings truer than any I've read in a while.

Precious' voice is so convincing, so consistent, that I'd swear she must exist somewhere. I guess she probably does exist lots of places, just not in this exact form.

I just read that Sapphire was inspired to write this by her years teaching literacy to young women in NYC, and the book is proof that she knows what she's talking about. P...more
Several months ago I was approached by a coworker and asked if I had read Sapphire's Push. She had seen a trailer of for the upcoming movie and knew she just had to see it. When she discovered it was based on a book, she thought of me.

Push is not one of those novels that will appeal to everyone. It may offend some. It is a book that will drag out the reader's darker emotions: anger and sadness. It did for me, anyway. I read this book with tears in my eyes. I had a few choice names for the mother...more
Kerry Connelly
Enthralling as it is disturbing and sickening, yet it writes like poetry that flows with the magnificent rhythm of a song.

Yes Precious has had to PUSH. Aside from enduring the pain of pushing while birthing her father’s babies and getting more than just pushed around her whole life by her mother, father and peers. It must be said that the ray of light that embodies this gem of a book, with its rough and jagged edges, authored by the rightly-so named ‘Sapphire’, comes from the soul of an author w...more
Knowing that the movie "Precious" was about to come out, I decided to read the book first.

This powerful, short novel packs a punch. Precious Jones starts out life being raped by both of her parents, never knowing that her life had any value. At the age of 16, pregnant with her father's second baby, she gets kicked out of traditional school (junior high school) and enrolls in an alternative school, where she learns to read...from scratch.

As Precious learns to read and write about her life, she d...more
Feb 03, 2009 Lindsay rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lindsay by: An
Shelves: fiction
Push requires a strong stomach to get through. It took me back to my brief stint working at the Victim Counseling Unit at the D.A.'s office. I couldn't believe how bad the things were that people were willing to do to each other, or how much of it there was just in my county. Even though I loved the people I worked with, I ultimately decided I couldn't make it a long term commitment, because I was afraid of becoming too jaded, too cynical, too suspicious. This book was cathartic in some ways, be...more
This will never make it to the "required reading" list for high school students, but it's a must read for life. It sounded very autobiographical the way it was told. It was a difficult read with a few breakdowns along the way. Life isn't fair.
This urban horror story was compelling, shocking, and impossible to put down. I read the whole thing in a day and can't stop thinking about it.

Not for the shy or the squeamish, this story of an illiterate, morbidly obese 16 year old girl will completely change how you think of people and society. Precious has been sexually and physically abused by both parents, gives birth (twice) to her father's children, and ultimately finds her voice, quite literally, through the help of an alternative school...more
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should this book be banned? why or why not?!!!! (NEED FOR ENGLISH CLASS) 48 368 Jun 30, 2014 07:09AM  
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Ramona Lofton was born in Fort Ord, California, one of four children of an Army couple who relocated within the United States and abroad. After a disagreement concerning where the family would settle, her parents separated, with Lofton's mother "kind of abandoning them". Lofton dropped out of high school, fleeing her abusive father, and moved to San Francisco, where she attained a GED and enrolled...more
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“Mother to Son

Well, son, I'll tell you:
Life for me ain't been no crystal stair.
It's had tacks in it,
And splinters,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor -
But all the time
I'se been a'climbin' on,
And reachin' landin's,
And turnin' corners,
And sometimes goin' in the dark
Where there ain't been no light.
So boy, don't you turn back.
Don't you set down on the steps
'Cause you finds it's kinder hard.
Don't you fall now -
For I'se still goin', honey,
I'se still climbin',
And life for me ain't been no crystal stair.
- Langston Hughes (112)”
“Depression is anger turned inward.” 31 likes
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