Kristilyn's Reviews > Precious

Precious by Sapphire
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Jan 30, 10

bookshelves: physical-book
Read from January 28 to 30, 2010 — I own a copy, read count: 1

** spoiler alert ** I just finished reading Precious (aka Push) by Sapphire and have thought for the last half hour how I feel about. I’m on the fence – did I like it? Did I hate it? On the one hand, the story has potential. I felt sorry for Precious (who really didn’t seem likable in the novel – different from how I see her in the trailer for the movie) throughout the novel and was happy for her when she started to make a life for herself.

On the other hand (and there are quite a few of these), how could so many bad things happen to one person – rape, incest, illiteracy, HIV, bearing a child, etc. One thing that bothered me was the writing style. Sapphire starts out the book as though Precious were reciting it (Precious is written as a stream of consciousness by Precious). The problem is that the language isn’t consistent. Certain parts are totally comprehensible, and others are incomprehensible (and this is in the beginning of the book, not towards the end where Precious’s literacy improves). Or there is inconsistency with certain words – i.e. switching the word “mother” to “muver” within a few pages of each other. The voice throughout the book was just not genuine.

One thing that bothered me was when Precious was birthing her first child – Mongo. In the hospital, as she’s being questioned by a nurse about her new baby (keep in mind, Precious is 12 years old at this point), she tells the nurse that the father of the baby is her (i.e. Precious’s) father. Would nothing have happened about this? Or was it so common for people to be in incestuous relationships that no one does anything about it? Wouldn’t a nurse have to report this? But no, Precious goes right back to living with her (sexually and physically) abusive mother and then bears ANOTHER child with her father.

What??

The good parts are that she has values. She doesn’t want to turn into her mother. She wants a life for her and her children. She wants to go to university. She wants to find love. It was nice to see that after growing up with no friends and no real family, Precious finds friends within her new school, who turn into her family.

When I finished reading the book, I felt like nothing had really been resolved – and I really wanted there to be a conclusion, some closure. Precious is still studying to get her GED, but I would have liked to see what happens when she gets into the real word. Yes, she severed ties with her abusive mother, but she’s still living in a halfway house talking about how she should get a place for her and her children, and she’s still relying on other people for money – not having a job for herself. And she’s still learning to read.

In the end, I can’t say whether or not I see Precious as being worthy of a recommendation to anyone. Personally, I can think of so many better books to read (ones that don’t include the word “pu**y” throughout). I don’t see what was so earth shattering with this novel – it was easy enough to read (Cormac McCarthy has better novels that make you really pay attention to the dialogue) but it just didn’t seem believable that so many things would happen to one person. If you’re looking for shock factor, then read this book. If you’re looking for something with a resolution, something that makes you feel like you didn’t just waste your time when you’re finished reading, then read something else.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Jess I think that a lot of people who read this book don't like it that much because it's difficult to swallow the idea that one person could face so many traumatic experiences in such a short lifetime. However, I think that's exactly what Sapphire wants to expose her readers to. There really are people who suffer this much, and the reality is that those at the bottom rungs of society are the most likely to experience many of these problems (abuse, STDs, teen pregnancy, etc.)

Also, if you pay close attention to when Precious' use of language deteriorates, it's usually precipitated by abuse by her parents at home. Sapphire manages to capture in Precious a very real portrait of what it's like to be the victim of trauma. You have good days and you have bad days, so this is reflected in Precious' writing.

Perhaps it's not the best novel ever written, but it is worth reading and has a lot of merit. Having worked with a lot of inner city adolescents myself, I know that Precious' struggles are really not that uncommon and the shock factor wears off quite fast.


Judith (Judith'sChoiceReads) The sad thing is that many people in such situations never really do "get" a resolution, some are lucky enough if they end up with a degree. I think I appreciate Precious for its unbiased manner (haven't read the book yet but read lots of reviews on it) and think that many people find it shocking because, yes, it is hard to read about incestuous relationships and abuse but they do happen. Not to troll, just saying. I appreciate your insight! From the sounds of it I don't think I'll read it ASAP but it'll be on my list :)


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