The Dark Side of Human Nature in Sapphire's The Kid

BlogHer Review

The sequel to Push, Saphhire's The Kid returns to the story of Precious and her son Abdul, beginning on the day of Precious' funeral when Abdul is 9 years old. Now an AIDS orphan with no family, Abdul is alone in the world, left to survive in a series of horrific situations, without improvement from one to the next. He is originally sent into foster care, where he is subject to physical and sexual abuse, then to an orphanage where more sexual abuse follows. Finally, he ends up on the streets, in a place where no young child should have to survive.

The Kid is a hard novel to read. It's dark, difficult and depressing, and the character of Abdul is a cross between someone to feel sorry for and someone to despise. Choose the worst possible things you can think of that might happen to a child. They are probably in the novel, and described in graphic detail.

However, The Kid is also not a feel good, poor abused boy rises from the ashes type of story. Abdul, rather than rising, seems to fall deeper and deeper into his situation until he becomes someone that is hard to feel sympathy for (as one might have for the innocent 9 year old at the beginning of the novel. The dark side of human nature awakens in him, rather than him overcoming his past to become someone you can root for.

The Kid probably isn't meant for those who want a happy ending, much less those who want a fairly happy story. I put the novel down multiple times during my reading of it because it was that difficult to read. As a parent of young children, it is that much more difficult to read, considering the abuses Abdul suffers as a small child, then those he inflicts on others later in the novel.

Can I recommend it? Maybe. If you enjoyed Push/Precious and would like to know the rest of the story, then yes. But as a general, great book to read on the beach or the airplane, not so much.

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