Friday, December 25, 2009

Book Review: "Push" by Sapphire

I received the book "Push" by Sapphire earlier today as a Christmas gift...and finished it in one sitting. It was excellent.

This was a pleasant surprise, after a traumatic viewing of the movie "Precious" (based on the novel) last week.

[Read my review of "Precious" here.]

Having now read the book, I understand why the story would inspire a motion picture. I understand why the filmmaker Lee Daniels was eager to allow us to visualize the character of Claireece Precious Jones and her peers through his screenplay.

I stand by my previous opinion and still am not a fan of the movie but I must say, I feel redeemed having read the original text.

The book was more about the journey of Precious striving towards literacy, and was written in her broken English and limited vocabulary that expanded and strenghtened as the book progressed. You really got a feel for her growth with language.

While the movie placed too much emphasis on her evil mother, the verbal abuse, and the other negative experiences she had to endure, the book mentioned these elements, but also followed through by showing how Precious planned to overcome these obstacles.

Despite her poor communication skills, short temper, abusive history, and lack of love and guidance, there was an overwhelming sense of hope and perseverance in the inner-monologue of Precious. While she had every reason not to succeed, it was reassuring to know that she increasingly began to value herself, and understood the weight of an education and her own self-worth.

My intepretation of this novel was tainted by the screenplay version, but I'm glad I had the mental reference of the great casting in the movie to highlight what I was reading. I'm glad I got to read about what happened to Precious "after." I appreciate the way in which the author Sapphire took an ugly situation, and made it beautiful.

I now totally understand the power of this story.

My novels the Urban Toronto Tales tell the stories of life, love and relationships in the city of Toronto. For more information, please visit

1 comment:

  1. I understand the book. I even get that its an important story to tell, because it is the reality of some people. I just don't like that we as Blacks can only be recognized for our "gutter" roles. Halle gets the Oscar for her main stream porn performance. Denzel gets one for being the bad cop. Now Monique gets one for being a molesting mother. I'm tired of us being portrayed this way to the masses. What about our children? What if you want to show your children all of the award winning performances of Black people. What can they see besides Whoopi in Ghost? From Butterfly McQueen to how far we HAVEN'T come.