The Kid and "The System"
The Kid by Sapphire is the story of Abdul, from the day of his mother’s funeral when he was nine years old, until about the age of eighteen. His story is very disturbing, frightening at times, and difficult to read for many reasons.
Abdul’s life was changed completely by his mother’s death. Because he had no other family, he was taken into custody by the state, and then through a series of horrible places to live. He was abused and misused by many people in his life. I found it particularly distressing that he came to love the Catholic brothers at the home for boys. He was physically and sexually abused by them yet he continued to love them and want to go back to them after they cast him aside.
The manner in which The Kid is written makes it difficult to read and follow along, because you never know for sure if something is a reality for Abdul or if it is something he is dreaming, if it is something that really happened, or if it was something Abdul just thought about. His thought process is distorted by his unhealthy living situations. While I couldn’t put the book down, at the same time I wanted to not know any more about the things that happened to him.
At the end, I was disappointed because I did not know what happened. I do think that the things that happened to Abdul are things that can really happen to a child in Child Protective Services, and because of that, I feel that this book should be read so that more people can fully understand what can go wrong, be outraged, and demand more scrutiny of "the system" so that children will truly be protected. I do warn you though, that there is a lot of graphic language and scenes in this book, so it is not for the faint-hearted.