August 5, 2010

Push by Sapphire

What can I say about this book? Besides that it totally lives up to the hype.

In case you live under a rock and don't know the story already (grin), Push is the story of Precious Jones, an illiterate sixteen-year-old from Harlem, who has been beaten by her mother and raped by her father. Pregnant with her second child by her father, Precious is kicked out of school. With some help, she gets into an Alternative School and into a "pre-GRE program" to help her learn to read and write. The teacher she meets there, Ms. Rain, changes Precious' life. Precious begins a journey of determination, spirit, and hope as she learns how to write about her life and how to make it her own.

I love the title of the novel, Push. It is a metaphor for how Precious not only had to push and struggle through having her children, but also how she has to push forward through the crap that has been her life so far and towards a brighter future; how she has to push herself beyond what she thinks she can do in order to break the cycle of abuse and poverty she is in right now; how we as readers need to push our expectations of what we think a novel should read like (it reads like Precious' journal, so bad grammar/spelling, etc.) and what we think a typical teenager's life should be like.

I was very moved by Precious' story and also her spirit and determination to make a better life for herself. I really want to see the movie now more than ever. I am very happy that there are teachers out there like Ms. Rain (as few and far apart as they definitely and unfortunately are) that help children like Precious and the others in the class get out of the cycle and make a better life for themselves, to see themselves as more than a sum of the experiences in their life.

That is what I strived to do as a teacher working with disadvantaged children. Now that my fibromyalgia won't allow me to teach, I am going back to school to study sociology and cultural/global issues and work to find solutions to problems like these that children should never have to deal with. I can't just leave them to defend for themselves when they don't know how and don't have the resources. I hope only that I can make some kind of difference.

I really recommend reading this book. It definitely made a huge impact on me.

BOOK #: 47
RATING: 4.5 Stars
FOR CHALLENGES: YA Challenge, Support Your Local Library, New Authors, 100+ in 2010
GENRE: YA Fiction
PUBLISHER: Vintage Books of Random House, Inc.
FORMAT/PAGES: Hardcover/177
HEY, FCC!: I borrowed it from the library.


  1. I wasn't planning on reading this book, but your post has inspired me to add it to my list.

  2. I recently got this book through SwapTree on a whim, and I'm glad to see it wasn't a foolish idea!

  3. I haven't heard of this book yet, but it does sound really interesting!

  4. The movie made me cry. I thought I wouldn't be able to handle reading the book, but you make such good points about it.

  5. I definitely want to read this and see the movie adaptation. Thanks for the inspiring review!

  6. I really liked this book, too, but it did make me sad to think of people living that way. You have to see the movie - it is fantastic, too, but have a box of tissues handy!

  7. You are right - we can't just leave them to fend for themselves blindly. Kudos to your goals and the determination to see them through.

  8. Sounds like a very troubling but important book.

  9. Thanks for the tip. I will definitely read this book for our site!


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