The Kid Lacks Empathy

BlogHer Review

“Why does looking at the blue of the sky seem like it is murdering your heart?”

-- Saphhire, The Kid

This book introduces us to a nine-year-old boy longing to talk to his mother who is lying in her a casket; she has succumbed to AIDS, and he is in denial that she is gone. This sums up the first chapter of The Kid, where we meet the Kid, aka Abdul Jamal Jones, the son of Precious, the heroine of Sapphire’s 1996 debut novel, Push. This is also the only time in the book we feel empathy for Abdul.

The language of the book was hard to follow. It is written as Abdul’s stream of consciousness, but the thoughts inside his head don’t progress as he ages. His language is rough and violent. He has thoughts of killing people with no remorse. He is said to be a brilliant student at St. Ailanthus, but the thoughts in his head sound like a boy that barely passed the fifth grade.

Following his mothers death he went to a foster home where he was abused, an orphanage where he was not only abused but the abuser, to his great-grandmother's which he refers to as the slavery roach motel, and finally heads out on his own. His childhood was horrible, but I never felt pity for him because he in turn was a horrible person.

Abdul discovers dance and finds purpose and passion. He finally has something that he loves, but he continually glorifies his cruel actions toward others as though he is Crazy Horse. He sees himself as a god or a king when he abused young boys and he never looks back with sorrow, even with dance, he never looks back and regrets what he has done.

This book was more like being in the mind of a psychopath than a character I would want to meet. It was a hard read because every time you thought he had changed, that the hatred was gone, it came back to the point where the reader feared for anyone in the same room with him.

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