Push by Saphire

push

★★★★☆

This book I came across completely by chance. I went to pick up a book at the library and it was for sale with the used books…. I got it for 50 cents. It’s a really short book and I thought it could be the perfect addition for my African American History month reads.

A movie has been made based on this book, it was pretty big I believe, called Precious. The plot of this book is very devastating. It is about an illiterate 16 year old girl, who is repeatedly raped by her father and beaten by her mother. The book follows her journey of education, with one teacher who really pushed her to learn. She taught her not only how to write but also to write about her life, and a way to start to process her childhood.

This book got a ton of mixed reviews on Goodreads. It seems it is a love it or hate it type of book. I read a lot of people say that they found it way too graphic and it made them feel like they were raped too. Well if you ask me that is a little extreme. Yes, it talks about rape. Yes, it describes rape. Yes, it is hard to read. But no, it didn’t seem to be overly graphic to me. For anyone who is concerned, there are a few descriptions, and the longest one would be about a paragraph, or 1/3 to 1/2 a page. If that isn’t something you feel comfortable with by all means skip this book, there are trigger warnings for sure.

If you are like me, I enjoyed reading about the changes she went through. The positive changes. In this short novel I got to watch this broken down girl grow. She learnt how to read and write and more importantly, how to come to terms with her childhood. Precious also grew so much stronger through the book. She learnt to stand up for herself to her mother, how to value what she had and to push herself to do better than what has been expected of her. If you can get past the descriptions of rape and abuse in this book, I found it to be quite an amazing story of character development.

I would not recommend this book to everyone, I enjoyed it and could take away the positive from this otherwise horrible life the protagonist had. I would say again there are major trigger warning for rape and abuse. If you go into this book, be warned that is all I am saying. I honestly flipped through it quickly first to make sure the descriptions wouldn’t be too much for me. Ultimately I am glad I read this, though I do understand the mixed reviews, this is not a book for everyone that is for sure.

What do you guys think, is it alright to have graphic descriptions in books if you feel like it adds to the story? Or do you think it should be implied more, we don’t need the nitty gritty details?

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13 thoughts on “Push by Saphire”

  1. I think that often times tough subjects are glossed over. I haven’t read this book, but reading difficult subject matter can be cathartic and validating. Sometimes people will have minimized an experience that they have had but get upset on someone else’s behalf. Whenever I react strongly to a book or movie even if the reaction is being upset, the art has touched a nerve. Sometimes the story needs to percolate with me for a while before I figure out why I reacted and I usually figure something out about myself.

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  2. This sounds really good. I personally think books like this are important- even if they have all the tough details in them. I think it’s upto the individual to avoid books with subject matters they are uncomfortable with. I think, even then, it can be good for people to occasionally stretch themselves. I really agree with what the person above commented. I tend to be more critical of books that gloss over details or don’t make sense than things that portray horrible things realistically.

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    1. Oh yeah for sure, you need to almost be in the mood for a hard read. That’s why I didn’t read I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings for years, but now I am glad that I did. Funny I read them close to each other maybe I was just in a brave mood.

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  3. I am really glad that you were able to appreciate the novel and not be thrown off because of the sensitive matters in it. I’ve heard about the movie and I believe Oprah is one of the executive producers of it too. This was a great review that definitely makes me want to try the book out. 😀

    – Lashaan

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