The movie “Precious” is based off this novel. I will admit that I haven’t seen the movie. Most of the time, I prefer reading the novel over seeing the movie (Harry Potter as the exception, because I love the books and the movies). For this novel, I was a little less impressed. Perhaps it was because the movie received such critical acclaim, that I assumed many things about the novel.
Firstly, the narrator’s voice throughout the piece is well crafted by the author. The story is told by an illiterate 16 year old. The use of vernacular and dialect is well integrated, and changes in a satisfying manner as the narrator, Precious, learns to read and write.
“Well, I just write in my notebook till I git wif some kinda therapist I can trust. Actually that help me more than talking to her. Plus I’m going to start going to meetings wif Rita for insect survivor–”
Another aspect of this book that I enjoy is the social issues that it brings to light. Obesity, illiteracy, incest, poverty, reliance on social aid, AIDS and HIV are all addressed in this short novel. It gives the reader a glimpse into a world with which he or she may be unfamiliar.
I read a book once by a local author, Greghri Love, called There Is An Urgency which details his life as the child of a crack addict prostitute and her drug dealer boyfriend. The abuse he suffered and describes in the book is nauseating. I became physically ill while reading his book, and a later interview revealed that it was heavily edited to include only the least of his struggles.
I did not get that feeling of physical revulsion while reading Push, and I don’t know if it was a good or bad thing. On the one hand, I was not completely compelled by the author’s rendition of abuse, but on the other hand, I don’t want to read the kind of scenes that make me feel nauseated with humanity’s capability for evil.
One complaint I do have about the book is its lack of a solid ending. It seems the conclusion of this piece just floated off into the distance. It was not quite one of those leave the reader wanting more, and not quite tied up in a bow. When we leave Precious, she has decided to raise her child which is the result of incest on her own. She recently found out that her father, who is also the father of her child, died from AIDS, which means she has HIV (but her son doesn’t). The incompleteness of the story or of a definite decision on conclusion makes the reader feel as though the author just didn’t feel like writing anymore, and therefore didn’t put effort into one type of conclusion or another.
Overall, I might recommend this to friends, but only if they express interest in it. It wasn’t the best book I’ve ever read, but it’s compelling in some aspects and a good example of dialect.