I’m not quite sure where to start.
I initially picked the novel up because it was one of ‘those’ books. One of those titles that people rave about, I also made a decision to read a bit more widely this year and read more books by people of colour and this was one of the titles that featured heavily on a lot of recommendation lists when I was researching things to read.
Precious is the story of an African American girl in New York who is illiterate, abused and has two children by her own father. Yep, you read that right. It’s her struggle from being abused to reclaiming her own life and getting her life together as she can. While it’s not a true story in it’s entirety the author Sapphire has said in different articles its a culmination of a lot of the things she came across while being a remedial reading teacher in Harlem and research from real welfare cases.
When I read the first 5 pages I wasn’t sure if I wanted to vomit or cry. It was like having your guts ripped out. The situation was so far far removed from anything I’ve ever heard of or experienced my brain was sort of in shock. I think the word I mean is visceral. It made me feel deep things I can’t quite explain somewhere in my body I just can’t quite pinpoint. It highlighted two things for me. Firstly I am beyond lucky and grateful that I havent at my worst points in life have I experienced things anywhere close to this. Not even the same suburb as the things described in this book. Secondly that the people in this book want out of their situations but for them they may as well be flying to the moon. Without serious help and people in their corner they are pushing shit up hill because they do not have the means to get out. It’s heartbreaking.
Precious is WELL worth the read but prepared to have some feelings. There is a sequel called The Kid about Precious’ child Abdul but the reviews say it’s just as brutal. I don’t know if I’m quite ready for round 2z