Saturday, October 20, 2012

Book Review: Push: A Novel

Title Push: A Novel

Author Sapphire

Release Date April 29, 1997

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 education and enlightenment as Precious learns not only how to write about her life, but how to make it her own for the first time.

I wanted to like this book, I really did. A couple of years ago, I saw Precious (the film based on the novel). I really enjoyed the movie and I was hoping that the book was even better.

Unfortunately, I was wrong. Perhaps the book was a little too crude for me. Perhaps it was just beyond my understanding. Perhaps the movie just translated better for me. Whatever the case may be, it just didn't live up the movie for me. In my opinion, skip the book and watch the movie. This isn't advice that I give out very often, so take it for what you will.

Precious is the narrator of the story. In the beginning of the book, while Precious is still functionally illiterate, she uses minimal English. She forgoes spelling and grammar completely. As Precious learns, though, the book evolves with her. The entire tone of her voice changes, although she still keeps her dialect.

Another thing about the writing is her choice of language. She uses a lot of curse words and derogatory language. I am certainly not against cursing or anything (trust me, I've got a terrible mouth), but I feel like it took away from the story rather than added to it.

I understand that Push is written from Precious's PoV and sometimes in order to take a harsh and gritty story, you've gotta write like she Sapphire did. I get it. Sometimes, though, it was just too much to handle.

I truly enjoyed the change in Precious. It was wonderful to see her evolve from someone that thought she was worth nothing to someone that knew her life had a greater purpose and that she was more than her struggles.

Fantastic story, but execution left something to be desired. 


2.5 out of 5 stars

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