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Book Review: PUSH by Sapphire

5 out of 5

Where do I begin? Whew! This book was as heartbreaking as it was inspiring. I saw the film Precious a few years ago, and I remember it being so well received at the Oscars, and Gabourey along with Monique did a wonderful job bringing these characters to life. This book evoked feelings from me that the movie didn't. One of the things I loved most, was how writing was used as a tool to get Precious out of her comfort zone. Her teacher Blue Rain had her students write in journals as a way to assist them with learning to read and write properly. But throughout the story, Precious went from not knowing how to recite the alphabet or read the time correctly, to reading every single day, and even writing poetry. I also enjoyed the other characters and their stories, like Rita and Jermaine. (There is a part at the end where the girls in class share their stories/poems from a class project. I loved it.)

While the abuse that Precious endured made this story tough to read at times, I hope those that found this book hard to get through will see past those unfortunate parts and see this book for what it is. A story of perseverance and how much one can accomplish with the right people in their circle. Precious had her teacher, she made friends at school and even at her recovery meetings. They introduced her to a life outside of her abusive home, a learning experience for Precious to show that she was not alone. Which was something she struggled with throughout the story. Feeling as though her looks made her less than others, or somehow made her deserving of the abuse she endured. It's something that we don't talk about enough, that girls of color, especially those who are poor feel that not being conventionally attractive and thin is why they are abused. But seeing women (and men) from all walks of life with the same stories make them feel like they too have a place in this world. They are loved and can be loved just like the thin, blonde, or light women on TV.

I also loved that the narration and dialogue were written authentically as someone who struggles with literacy would write it. People often complain about this, but there is something to take away from stories that are told this way. People who do not speak standard/proper English often have more to say than anyone and deserve the space to tell their stories. I look forward to reading more by Sapphire.

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