The Kid Is a Bleak Portrayal of a Modern Youth

BlogHer Review

The Kid is not an easy novel by any stretch of the imagination, certainly not a light summer read, nor was it intended to be. Written by Saphhire, (author of Push, on which the movie Precious was based), the title character is the son of Precious, but as I did not read the novel or see the movie, I'm not sure how related the two stories are. The Kid stands on its own.

The novel is a dark portrayal of a child, Abdul, lost in the system, left to fend for himself and grow up much too quickly. It is a very graphic, explicit portrayal. The sexual content is quite distressing and I am normally not that affected by it in literature. As a parent of a boy, the story is heart-wrenching and nearly impossible to read.

The narrative structure evoked the life-dream-confusion felt by Abdul and required a lot of concentration to read. I frequently found myself flipping back a few pages to figure out what I missed. I think a second read would bring more clarity for the book. I believe it was a stylistic choice to blend fantasy and reality in a nearly indistinguishable manner, but that does not make it easy on the reader.

For the first time in a long time, The Kid made me wish I was back in school. As an English minor in college, I read my fair share of difficult literature and I found that I always benefited from the added insight of a professor. I may have to look into more detailed analysis of this novel. I feel like I missed something and I want someone to tell me what to think about it.

It is a testament to the skills of the author that I am this affected by The Kid. This may be the most striking book I have read in a long time. However, I think that is also my problem with the book. But it is exactly that: my problem. I don't want to read difficult works right now, my free time is tight and I crave entertainment. I completely understand what my mom used to tell me during my more radical college years when I would try and push her reading choices in to something more challenging and thought-provoking. She always said, "Just you wait, Amy. One day you'll just want to curl up with a cat mystery, too." Mom, you were right.

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