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Push: A Novel Paperback – April 29, 1997
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Claireece Precious Jones endures unimaginable hardships in her young life. Abused by her mother, raped by her father, she grows up poor, angry, illiterate, fat, unloved and generally unnoticed. So what better way to learn about her than through her own, halting dialect. That is the device deployed in the first novel by poet and singer Sapphire. "Sometimes I wish I was not alive," Precious says. "But I don't know how to die. Ain' no plug to pull out. 'N no matter how bad I feel my heart don't stop beating and my eyes open in the morning." An intense story of adversity and the mechanisms to cope with it.
Precious is now a major motion picture based on the novel Push by Sapphire, starring Gabourey 'Gabby' Sidibe, Mo'Nique, Paula Patton, Mariah Carey, and Lenny Kravitz. Enjoy these images from the film, and click the thumbnails to see larger images.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
With this much anticipated first novel, told from the point of view of an illiterate, brutalized Harlem teenager, Sapphire (American Dreams), a writer affiliated with the Nuyorican poets, charts the psychic damage of the most ghettoized of inner-city inhabitants. Obese, dark-skinned, HIV-positive, bullied by her sexually abusive mother, Clareece, Precious Jones is, at the novel's outset, pregnant for the second time with her father's child. (Precious had her first daughter at 12, named Little Mongo, "short for Mongoloid Down Sinder, which is what she is; sometimes what I feel I is. I feel so stupid sometimes. So ugly, worth nuffin.") Referred to a pilot program by an unusually solicitous principal, Precious comes under the experimental pedagogy of a lesbian miracle worker named, implausibly enough, Blue Rain. Under her angelic mentorship, Precious, who has never before experienced real nurturing, learns to voice her long suppressed feelings in a journal. As her language skills improve, she finds sustenance in writing poetry, in friendships and in support groups-one for "insect" survivors and one for HIV-positive teens. It is here that Sapphire falters, as her slim and harrowing novel, with its references to Harriet Tubman, Langston Hughes and The Color Purple (a parallel the author hints at again and again), becomes a conventional, albeit dark and unresolved, allegory about redemption. The ending, composed of excerpts from the journals of Precious's classmates, lends heightened realism and a wider scope to the narrative, but also gives it a quality of incompleteness. Sapphire has created a remarkable heroine in Precious, whose first-person street talk is by turns blisteringly savvy, rawly lyrical, hilariously pig-headed and wrenchingly vulnerable. Yet that voice begs to be heard in a larger novel of more depth and complexity. 150,000 first printing; first serial to the New Yorker; audio rights to Random; foreign rights sold to England, France, Germany, Holland, Portugal and Brazil.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
"Push" changed my whole concept. I saw the movie "Precious" first. I HATED Precious from the first time I saw her. I had the pre-conceived notion that on top of being morbidly obese, she was lazy and stupid. Doomed to carry on the same mistakes of her mother and grandmother. How wrong I was!
Precious Jones was a human being with a lot of untapped depth. The book is written as a diary, spoken in what I guess is "Ebonics." We find she is a "maff-matical" prodigy (her term, not mine) able to do complicated "maff" problems in her head. Everyone in her sordid world writes her off as a stupid creature who no one will ever want. She has been raped since age 3 by her father, had 2 children by him. Her mother thinks Precious "stole" her husband and she also regularly sexually molests Precious. As a younger girl, Precious would sit in her school chair and urinate there because if she got up, the boys in the class would make farting and pig noises. She learned to be as invisible as she could.
She also craves the love she will never have, wishes she had light skin and straight hair, then handsome boys would want her. When life gets to be too much, she escapes into fantasies. Then her father dies of AIDS and Precious finds she is infected too. At school when she has just found out, she is quiet and stubborn. Ms.Rain, the wonderful teacher who can see her virtues, makes her confess the fact to the class. Then Precious cries, "I cried for every day of my life" she writes. I cried too. Not too many books hit me like this.
It has some graphic language, but that is the language of the under-class our country has funded. Welfare started out to be a hand-up, became a hand-out, not a safety net, but a hammock. Excised all dignity from those drowning in its clutches. I haven't finished the book, but I am amazed at the power of the writing. Sapphire has done a terrific job. I suggest the movie too.