Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Push” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


3.86  ·  Rating details ·  51,319 ratings  ·  6,386 reviews
Precious Jones, an illiterate sixteen-year-old, has up until now been invisible: invisible to the father who rapes her and the mother who batters her and to the authorities who dismiss her as just one more of Harlem's casualties. But when Precious, pregnant with a second child by her father, meets a determined and highly radical teacher, we follow her on a journey of educa ...more
Paperback, 177 pages
Published April 29th 1997 by Vintage (first published June 11th 1996)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Push, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Josianne Fitzgerald No. Not appropriate. There's lots of graphic depictions of abuse. I'm 50 and I found it hard at times. Heck, it was hard ALL the time, but Precious's …moreNo. Not appropriate. There's lots of graphic depictions of abuse. I'm 50 and I found it hard at times. Heck, it was hard ALL the time, but Precious's voice is so real and her desire for an education is so strong, it overcomes it the abuse, much like Precious does.
Melissa As a teacher I wouldn't really encourage anyone younger than older high school students to read this and that would probably depend on the student.…moreAs a teacher I wouldn't really encourage anyone younger than older high school students to read this and that would probably depend on the student.(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.86  · 
Rating details
 ·  51,319 ratings  ·  6,386 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Push
Petra: all work & no play makes you poor.On hiatus
Update I read Precious not Push. It had a different cover. I'm aware it's the same book, but why change my edition?
5 stars for creating a really unique heroine
5 stars for an enjoyable, engrossing story
7 stars for beautiful use of language (yeah mutherfuckers, sometimes that word is the only word that fits)

I didn't put much faith in an author named 'Sapphire'. More urban fiction: ghetto girl's acrylics scratch eyes out of baby father's new crack-addicted girlfriend, I thought. (Not that I don't
Mar 13, 2010 rated it did not like it
Shelves: books-i-despise
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.

There is a debate (or at least an ongoing conversation) among teachers who help college students hone their reading skills. What exactly, do you have the students read? The great works of literature, such as Homer, Emerson (yes, Vicky, I am thinking about our conversation the other night)? Do you have them read more modern works? How do you teach reading when you also have to teach reference? The best example of this is when my students were reading an essay about wetlands and thought the word c ...more
Apr 06, 2007 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: literary
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
Paul Bryant
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 .
Jun 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
For the longest time "Precious" was my favorite "modern" (2009 & up) movie. It had the gospel-and-church-strong power to compel me to immediately look upon my own life reflexively, and pronounce it all not too bad after all. Other souls are in peril, of course, and all I can do is complain about my own vapid existence! In truth, the movie adaptation is a horror film disguised as Oscar-baiting melodrama.

It's powerful; a very visceral kick to the gut. & the book is no different. Sure, it's devoid
Mental Health A Thon: Intersectional Rep(Black, Depression, Trauma Survivor)

4.5 Stars

I have had this book for YEARS. I bought it right around the time the movie came out but I never read it. I watched the movie and thought it was moving & great but I still didn't read the book. I don't tend to read "Misery Porn".

If you're asking What is Misery Porn?

It is books in which the characters experience one awful thing after another with no sort of resolution or end to the pain. Books in which the suf
Nov 20, 2007 rated it really liked it
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
Edward Lorn
Oct 21, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm a big fan of books written in vernacular if the voice rings true and the book is short. Luckily, this book does not overstay its welcome. If you ignore the final essays at the end, Push is all of 150 pages long. Your average reader could mow through its text in a single sitting. But I will warn you, if you're a self-proclaimed Grammar Nazi, your head could possibly explode. Rest assured, though, all errors and broken syntax is on purpose.

Push (or the movie tie-in title Precious), by Sapphire
Nov 21, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: i-own
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
May 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 01, 2009 rated it liked it
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. ...more
Mar 14, 2010 added it
Shelves: 2010
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
Jan 01, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This is one of those books that's so real (hell, I taught a kid like this at an alternative school in Chicago) it'll never get into a high school curriculum. It's that good, that authentic, that "dangerous". I avoid the hype around vogue books and authors, but this one delivered the goods.
The language is definitely vulgar, violent and hyper-sexual, but the voice...my goodness! I'd never compare a book to "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn", but it is ironic that Sapphire mentions Twain's great book
Mar 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: four-times-read
Loved this story!

I read this book years ago when it first came out and as a teenager I didn't really appreciate the importance of this story. Even seeing the movie didn't change my outlook. But now, as a mature adult retreading this novel created a whole new experience. The grit included in this story is enough to bring tears to any eye.

I must watch the movie again...
Feb 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
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
Holy hell this book hits you straight in the guts right from the beginning and doesn't let up. Raw and powerful the writing style gives it an authenticity that gets to you, although it got slightly on my nerves after awhile. You immediately feel sorry for this poor girl. The abuse...too much at times, ugly awful. So glad there is a a silver lining at the end of all this with a glimmer of hope to hang onto ...more
Sep 05, 2009 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ms. Jones
Jul 01, 2008 rated it liked it
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
Natalie Richards
Oct 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Precious is sixteen years old,illiterate and pregnant for the second time with her father`s child. She is beaten and sexually abused by both her parents and bullied at school. She believes she is ugly and worthless. Then she is placed in an alternative teaching programme, where she learns to read and write. This is a harrowing read but I admire the way the author, Sapphire, constructed her writing and really allowed Precious to shine. You will cheer Precious to the end as she learns to love hers ...more
Jason Pettus
Mar 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing
(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
Jun 30, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Timothy Urgest
Mar 30, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
She say, “Was you ever, I mean did you ever get to be a chile?” Thas a stupid question, did I ever get to be a chile? I am a chile.

A bomb of a book. Read it.
Aug 15, 2008 rated it it was ok
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
May 23, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Elona Washington’s “Ivy League to Stripper Life” piqued my curiosity in this book. Sapphire forced readers to face illiteracy and incestual relationships in a raw form. It was impossible to disconnect from the misery, poverty and pain. Precious wanted to learn and have a happy lifestyle, but was disqualified from success very early in life by the very people who should have protected her innocence. I thought she would get relief when she told the nurse her father was the father of her baby. Sapp ...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
Jan 30, 2010 rated it liked it
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
In what can only be called grit lit, Precious is a unique heroine. Sadly, her experiences may be confirmed thousands of times by other abused youths. However, making her voice heard is an uplifting moment of self-assertion and personal growth. The book is visceral, poignant, powerful. And yet…

I saw the film a long time ago (10 years+), when it was in the theatres. And while I saw it only once, I still remember it quite well, hard-hitting as it was. Unfortunately, this hampered the read quite a
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
2022 SQHS Your Li...: Precious (Push) - Saffire 6 19 Nov 25, 2019 01:32PM  
Books2Movies Club: Precious - book and movie 8 43 Mar 12, 2016 04:36AM  
Let's Read Togeth...: Ep. 21 - Push by Sapphire with Alex Ptak 1 7 Feb 03, 2015 04:53AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Kid
  • The rights to the streets of Memphis
  • The Coldest Winter Ever (The Coldest Winter Ever, #1)
  • God Don't Like Ugly (God Don't Like Ugly, #1)
  • Confessions of a Video Vixen
  • Waiting to Exhale (Waiting To Exhale #1)
  • The Sex Lives of African Women: Self-Discovery, Freedom, and Healing
  • Comes the Night
  • The Romantics
  • Shyt List
  • A Hustler's Wife (A Hustler's Wife, #1)
  • Flyy Girl (Flyy Girl, #1)
  • Bang!
  • The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth
  • Sapphic Art
  • Wild Animus
  • A Piece of Cake
  • The Vixen Diaries
See similar books…
See top shelves…
Sapphire the Author.

Sapphire is the author of Push, American Dreams, The Kid, and Black Wings & Blind Angels.

Push: A novel, won the Book-of-the-Month Club’s Stephen Crane award for First Fiction, the Black Caucus of the American Library Association’s First Novelist Award, and in Great Britain, the Mind Book of the Year Award. Named by the Village Voice and Time Out New York as one of the top ten

Articles featuring this book

If you haven't heard of record-smashing singer and songwriter Mariah Carey, is there any hope for you? Who else has sold more than 200 million...
62 likes · 25 comments
“Depression is anger turned inward.” 68 likes
“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)”
More quotes…