I can’t think of the right words to describe the book Push by Sapphire. But the word “brutal” keeps popping in my mind, and I keep shoving it aside thinking it might be extreme. Maybe “brutal” is the right word, though. Push, on the other hand, doesn’t mince any words to describe the life of a sixteen year old Precious Jones – we know of every dirty detail. She is sixteen and pregnant the second time with her father’s child. Precious is molested and raped by her father from a very young age, and she first gets pregnant when she is twelve. Not only does she face abuse from her father, she is also constantly abused by her mother, who hits her, verbally demeans her, and basically treats her like a servant. Precious doesn’t think of herself as attractive, she has learning disabilities, and she’s poor. In a country where there’s so much emphasis on beauty, wealth, and intelligence, Precious has nothing going for her. But she isn’t one who will let her circumstances come in the way of her dreams. Precious has a unique way of looking at life, and her zest to survive and push through are enviable. She is blessed with a poetic streak, and even though she is an illiterate teenager at the beginning of the novel, she soon learns to write her own story.
I wanted to read Push ever since one of my best friends said that she spent a whole day in bed, reading the book, and crying. I love a good, cathartic cry. I must admit, I was driven to tears several times in the book, but I also laughed, and I was amazed. You can’t help but admire Precious for her bravado, her no-nonsense attitude. If we had any of the one problems she has, we’d crumble under the pressure. She has them all, and yet manages to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
For any book that’s been adapted into a movie, there is bound to be comparison. I had a tough time watching the movie because it was too depressing. The stellar performance by Mo’nique aside, I think the book is a must-read, and cannot be compared to the movie. Precious’ dream sequences in the movie were too jarring, and the book is much more of a seamless read. And at just under 200 pages, a really quick one as well!