The Kid - Difficult to Read and Hard to Finish

BlogHer Review

Unless you are living under a rock you are familiar with Sapphire's first book, Push that became the movie Precious a couple years ago. Sapphire’s newest book The Kid is a sequel that provides us with an inside look into the mind of the Precious’ child after she dies. I read Push when it was first published about fifteen years ago. It was a difficult read but in a good way. I put the book down and felt like a changed person with sympathy for Precious who experienced so many traumas in her life but was still able to overcome.

The Kid chronicle’s her son Abdul’s life starting from the time he is 9 years old. One of the most challenging aspects of the book was reading about the cycle of abuse that Abdul experiences and sadly as a result his abuse of others. In addition the cycle of childhood abuse goes back 3 generations and while reading the book I kept asking myself “can anyone in this family catch a break?” I was especially interested in Abdul overcoming all of the trauma he experienced after his mother’s death but each situation went from bad to worse.

He was abused in the foster home he was placed in by another child both sexually and physically and as a result had a lifelong injury. Priests in his Catholic school for orphans abused him and subsequently he became an abuser. He was also prostitute of sorts in a local park and finally was kicked out of his school for abusing other children. He ended up living with a great-grandmother he never knew he had.

Not only was reading about the abuse difficult but also reading the thoughts of a clearly delusional mind made it a difficult book to read. I frequently questioned if the events being portrayed in his “dream sequences” actually occurred or were figments of his imagination. I was often frustrated by the lack of direct storytelling.

As an avid reader I was surprised by how long it took me to read the book. I think the combination of the subject matter -- which not only pushed the envelope but in my opinion went completely overboard -- and the writing style just kept me from really getting deeply involved in the book. The abuse was so overwhelming and bordered on the ridiculous so it was extraordinarily difficult to sympathize with Abdul because it was simply unbelievable. The only saving grace was his love and pursuit of dance but honestly I don’t feel like that was enough to save this book.

Perhaps I am too sensitive for a book like this but I don’t think so, I read Push and it was a difficult read but in a good way and shed light on abuse and was the story of overcoming. The Kid is simply gratuitously difficult for shock value in my opinion. Sadly I can’t recommend it but is you are curious, give it a try. If you’ve read it I’d love to hear your opinion.