So I’ve decided to come up with this concept called “First Thoughts Fiction” where I discuss a particular book I’ve recently finished. These particular blog post will consist of any pros/cons I felt the book had and simply what I thought about the book as a whole. Today’s post will be about Push by Sapphire.
For those who don’t know, Push by Sapphire was written in 1996. This story is about a girl named Precious from Harlem, who’s illiterate and has to fend for herself in a time where she feels like no one is on her side. Being raped by her father and abused by her mother she finds solace in the comfort of her teacher who helps Precious see things in a different light. Most of you at this point maybe remembering the movie Precious, which debuted in 2009, this movie was based off of that book.
I loved the book and the movie, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t trying to incorporate movie scenes into the book while reading. To be honest, the grammatical errors in the book (placed purposely to show Precious’ illiteracy) made my brain hurt. I understood the reasoning behind it, but if I remember correctly Precious, played by Gabourey Sidibe, did way better in the movie with her literacy verses in the book. I would have to stop reading every once in a while to let my brain cool off, it was hard trying to properly form the words she was writing into proper English. It was a constant battle every time I turned the page, and hoping with each chapter I read her grammar would improve, but it didn’t.
The hard images Sapphire wrote about of Precious being raped, and the abuse she endured from her mother were raw and real. While reading I felt the pain Precious felt, I felt sorrow and sadness too. Being able to create those images in someones brain is a skill, and seeing it on film was just as important.
All the actors and actresses of Precious I think were phenomenal. I had to look up what actress played Precious’ teacher, because I couldn’t place the face; it was Paula Patton. I don’t remember her at all in the film, (maybe I should re-watch it) and it’s sad because her character in the book played a vital role in Precious’ growth. It’s funny, I remember only Gabourey Sidibe, Mariah Carey & Mo’Nique. It could just be because the three most important actresses ended up being the three most important people in the book. I can’t even remember who the actresses were that played Precious friends in the film. From the book I think the social worker (Mrs. Weiss played by Mariah Carey) and Precious’ mom (played by Mo’Nique) were so uncut in the book that it made sense for these actresses to portray uncut emotions. Who remembers the scene where Mo’Nique was yelling and screaming at Precious from the top of the steps and threw the tv? Or how Mariah Carey didn’t even look recognizable? These are the things I remembered in the film, and in the book they were just that raw and intense. There were definitely things I remembered in the movie about these characters and the roles they had in Precious’ life, but in the book they were portrayed differently.
All in all, the book is a great read, and if you haven’t already pick up a copy. When a book has a movie attached to it, I try to read the book first so I can look for things I’ve already read about in the film. Push is a book I’ll never forget and always recommend because of the realness and raw talent that it took Sapphire to create. Someone somewhere felt like Precious at one point or another, and hopefully reading this book will only teach them to never give up and follow their dreams, no matter what. Spoiler Alert, that’s something Precious grew to love about herself. She may not have had the best home life, but she had a support system from women and friends she formed relationships with; what she learned from them she never forgot. She always pushed through.