The Kid: A Graphic and Painful Look Into a Young Man's Life

BlogHer Review

I had to force myself to finish The Kid by Sapphire. It begins by introducing the title character, Abdul, and instantly I feel for the boy who has lost his mother. Sadly, as the story goes on, you are are a part of his very graphic and painful abuse. He is hurt repeatedly, at the hands of nearly every character in the book and as a result he becomes a damaged and disturbed young man. It was very difficult for me to read his running narrative of thoughts. His mind became a sick and twisted place and I didn't want to be a part of it. I felt guilty and horrible that his life became such a tragedy, but it felt as if it would never move on from there.

At each new chapter I hoped the redemption would begin, things would look up for him. I got short breaks from the pain, as he did, when he discovered a love and passion for dancing, but it wasn't enough. He always returned to the darkest places to relive past abuse and contemplate new violence. Reading was emotionally exhausting. Sometimes I wondered if the author just threw in the most disgusting things she could think of for shock value. In the end, I was incredibly disappointed. Without spoiling the plot, the story takes a dramatic turn at the end. It was completely confusing and it ended without my having any idea what was real or imagined. Was he the victim or perpetrator? Did he act or was he taken advantage of? Was this just his perception or what those around him actually did? Too many questions and not enough answers to give me closure.

Ultimately, I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone I know. It is one of the only novels I have ever read that I would un-read if I could. In the end, it was disturbing, disgusting, and confusing. I enjoy drama and pain in a story when they serve a purpose -- they give depth to a story or event. But in The Kid, violence and sexual abuse were the entire story. Without any redemptive qualities, this novel reads like a text book of pain and I don't think anyone I know would enjoy it.

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