The Kid is More Nkondi Than Story

BlogHer Review
This is not a book for the faint of heart or the easily disturbed. It's as though Sapphire opened a page, and bled out generations of oppression, abuse, and pain.

The Kid is not so much a story but an experience. One that borders on the nightmarish. The story is of Abdul, the son of Precious (from the previous story, Push). After the death of his mother, he's moved to a foster home, then a Catholic home for boys, and on and on. Everywhere he goes he's surrounded by the most degrading people and situations.

At one point in the story, Sapphire briefly mentions Nkisi. In this case, the Nkisi appears to be a Nkondi. She describes it as a wooden figure, stereotypical in it's African features, driven with nails. Each nail is a member of the community's pain, going back through history as long as it's been in existance. On this particular Nkisi, there are so many nails embedded into the figure, that there isn't room for a single new nail.

The Kid is not so much a story as it is a Nkondi. Abdul is so surrounded by (and literally pieced by, through his repeated molestations) so much pain that there seems no way past it. He is, himself, an amazing individual, tall, handsome, creative, intelligent, but although he's aware of those qualities within himself, he is unable to find or connect with similar qualities in the world.

As the story progresses, it becomes more and more difficult to know how much of what he experiences is real in a literal sense, and how much is the interpretation of his tortured mind. And it doesn't matter, because it's not the individual events that matter, it's the generation and years of pain that are driven into him... the raw emotion being the journey rather than a series of events.

This book will stay with you, even when you try to shake it off. You can't put it down, even though it's actually painful to read.