This month I read Push by Sapphire.

  Push is about a sixteen year old, African American girl, named Precious, living in Harlem, who lives with her welfare-collecting mother and has already had two children, both by her biological father who is out of the picture in her home life.

  Push is written in an intentionally uneducated style, with poor grammar and even worse spelling as it is told from the point of view of the protagonist, Claireece Precious Jones, names such by her mother because "As soon as I held her, I knew that's what she was. Precious."

   The book starts off with Precious being kicked out of her school for being pregnant with her second child and being offered a spot at an alternative school so she may get her GED. In her GED class preparatory classes, she meets an inspiration teacher, Blue Rain (yes, her first name is Blue) and proceeds to begin adjusting to her life as something more than just her mother's slave.

    Push really opens your eyes to the real tragedies of life that you, as the reader, are aware are going on out in the real world. From incestuous-rape relationships to teen pregnancy to child abuse to welfare abuse to inadequate school systems, the sadness of this book affects you deeply.

   If you want to read a book that will make an impact on your life and the way you think, I recommend this book greatly.

(my middling attempt at recreating the movie poster)

Have you read this book? What did you think?

Views: 110

Comment by Jennie Yang on May 28, 2013 at 1:33pm

I only know of this book via the movie "Precious, based on a novel Push by Sapphire," as the title goes. From the movie, I had an idea that it was about an African American girl with a horrible life. I didn't really know much about the movie beyond that, besides Gabourey Sidibe-mania and Mariah Carey's drunken acceptance speech. Anyways, I'm pretty interested in reading this book; it sounds very powerful, albeit depressing. I wonder how the purposeful spelling/grammar issues would affect my reading (since I'm usually pretty intolerant of poorly written English). 

Comment by Maggie Hanna on May 29, 2013 at 2:34pm
Wow this book sounds like it would be really good. These books are always really gripping. I never saw the movie Precious but I heard it was really good, ow I will make sure to read the book first.
Comment by Sam Yim on May 29, 2013 at 4:08pm

I only saw the movie and haven't read the novel yet. The intentional grammar errors don't really translate perfectly from the book to the movie, so reading Push in its original format sounds like a more convincing experience. I think it's interesting how the author would do this on purpose, it must add a whole lot to the imagery.

Comment by Hyoin Sung on May 30, 2013 at 9:17pm

I remember when the movie came out and me being horrified that her own father did that to her. I'm glad that you wrote a blog about this book or else I would've missed out on a good book! It's true that people should be aware of the real tragedies that go on everywhere and every day because it makes people become less ignorant which in turn makes the world a little better to live in.

Comment by Paraskevas Christodoulopoulos on May 30, 2013 at 9:21pm

I find this book as an interesting contrast to Crank, in which the protagonist had the capability to avoid her fate but chose not too, while here, the protagonist had misfortune dealt upon herself and is constantly trying to escape her fate.

Comment by Sophia Peng on May 30, 2013 at 9:28pm

Christopher, while it was originally a bit hard to understand, it gets progressively gets better throughout the book, symbolizing her educational growth. But I do think it adds a lot, when you read it you can really feel the inflection and the accent.

Comment by Junilane L. on May 31, 2013 at 12:35am
I remember my brother telling me what the movie was all about, and feeling horrified at what I heard. Unfortunately, situations like this do happen in real life, and it is nice to see books like these shed light on these topics and help us be aware of what goes on around us.
Comment by Cindy Son on May 31, 2013 at 1:23am

I clicked on this because I was so intrigued by the title. Now I am compelled to read the book. Nice blog post, Sophia!

Comment by Derek C. on June 2, 2013 at 8:19pm

Great blog! I'll be sure to check out Push.  This reminds me of Flowers for Algernon because the grammar and spelling in it starts off poor then gets better as the protagonist gets more educated.


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