I Don't Regret Reading the Kid
I am a Caucasian woman, living in the Midwest. I grew up in a small town and currently live in a small town. While I was in college I lived in a big city -- capitol of our state, actually -- but really only ventured off campus to the mall or other suburbs. I’ve always imagined New York City to be a glamorous place, with Broadway shows and fun shopping, elegant restaurants. After reading The Kid by Sapphire, however, I realize how naïve I really am.
The Kid is Abdul. His mother dies when he is nine, leaving him in foster care. Unspeakable things happen to him in that first foster home, and he ends up in a Catholic school for boys. We learn about his great-grandmother’s Mississippi roots while Abdul tries to deal with the violence he lives with and sometimes causes. He’s a heartbroken boy, trying to find his way in a cruel adult world. This is a very hard book to read. It’s very graphic, and the violence, strong language and sexual nature of the book is very hard to take at times. I found myself having to put the book down and walk away for a while, just to decompress. But there was never a moment where I didn’t want to finish it -- in my heart of hearts I wanted the story to come out good, to know that Abdul was in a good place and he was going to be OK.
I think that’s why the author, Sapphire, (also the author of Push, which was turned into the movie Precious) wrote this book. In a way, it’s a book that shatters the small world we live in. Violence like this happens every day, whether we want to admit it or not. There are terrible people out there, people who do horrible things to children, leaving them damaged for life. We NEED to know this, to be aware. That’s the biggest lesson I took from The Kid.
I don’t regret reading The Kid. I think it’s very important to stretch our boundaries when it comes to the books we read. It’s opened my eyes to the world that is out there, and has made me very thankful for the blessed life I lead.