The Kid May Shock You More Than Push and Precious

BlogHer Review

Sapphire's new book, The Kid, is possibly more disturbing than her bestselling novel Push and the subsequent movie that was made from that novel, Precious. This story focuses on Abdul Jones, the child of Precious, as he attempts to navigate the world without his mother.

The book begins with Abdul preparing to attend his mother's funeral, as she has passed on from AIDS complications. From the start, the prose is written to capture both dreams and Abdul's current reality. In the beginning as he readies himself at the apartment of one of his mother's friends for the funeral, he is carrying on a conversation with his mother in his head, where the reader gets a glimpse of the kind of dialogue they had, which seems to be more healthy or more normal than what he will experience throughout the rest of the book.

Abdul then goes to foster care, where he is beaten. He is then placed in a Catholic boy's home to become both a victim and victimizer of sexual abuse. The rape scenes are disturbing, and readers who have a hard time with graphic descriptions may have difficulty getting through those parts of the book. In making Abdul both a victim of the priests and a sexual predator of children who are more vulnerable than he, Sapphire illustrates a chain of abuse that has now been carried over to the third generation.

In what may seem like a more healthy outlet for Abdul, he discovers African Dance. In a scene that describes how he feels when he sees the rhythmic moves of this art, Sapphire writes, "...here I am music, I never been to no police station for lies about little kids, here I got a mother and she ain't no ho die of AIDS. Here in the beat is my life. The flute shrieks and I come again and again and can't nobody stop me."

Just when you think that dance may be a more healthy outlet for Abdul, he trades sex for more training with a dance instructor.

My takeaway from The Kid is that Abdul never gets a break. His life is gritty, brutal, tragic, and yet he has talents and skills to achieve more than what is ever described in the novel. He never gets a break or experiences something truly nurturing that will help him grow and adjust into a healthy adult. The book is well written, and the dream and reality scenes may confuse some readers; and unfortunately because the book is so raw and graphic, some readers are going to be turned off from the beginning and opt not to finish the story. Whereas in Push, there are some signs of progress and hope, this book is grim until the bitter end.

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