Sapphire's The Kid was the Hardest Book I've Ever Read

BlogHer Review
I have never reviewed a book before. I usually read them, keep them to myself, put them on my bookshelf and be done with it. A few weeks ago I read my very first book for a review -- The Kid, by Sapphire. This book was, by far the most difficult book I have ever had to read. I was supposed to submit this review days ago, but I couldn’t. You see, I read the book, jumped to an instant conclusion and told myself that I COULD NOT review this book.

I was given time to think about it and that was a blessing. After reflection I think my response to this book is different then my original knee jerk reaction of HORROR. The book is written well. It is hard to follow. And it is confusing. But once you look past it all, it is an interesting story.

The book follows the life of Abdul, or JJ or… well he has many names in the book. It starts when he is nine, the day his mother died. I should have known then the book was going to be too much for me but I kept reading. This child's life was horrific. Every page was something new to make me cringe, or cry, or be angry. I wanted to stop reading and I’ll be honest I only continued because I kept hoping that the end of the book would have one of those grand redeeming moments. A moment that made it all okay. Something that made me feel like the abuse, the horror, the things he went through and the things he put others through okay, acceptable, worthy. It does not.

Some people said they ended up caring for Abdul in the end. I only got more angry at him. A large part of this book is spent in dreams and I found myself wondering what was real and what was a dream. I’ve thought and thought and thought and I still have no idea how the book really ended. How did he get there? What scenario was really true? A lot of the book made me angry. How can these things happen? How can a person even write these things? Then I noticed something, in the book one of the boys gets his ears pierced, it’s a hoop earring with a sea shell on it. When I looked at the book jacket I noticed the author wearing the same earring and I began to wonder if any of this story was a reflection of her life. Did any of this happen to her or someone she knew? And if not, how did she conjure up these scenarios in her head?

This book is a continuation of the book, Push. It bothered me because it starts out telling us Precious has died, yet it takes what feels like hundreds of pages to find out how she died. Even then he tells so many lies it is hard to know what is real and what is not. This is followed by the introduction of many other characters and pages and pages about there lives building a good climax about their lives and then abruptly stopping right when you are about to learn a very important detail they would just stop, change stories, change locations, change EVERYTHING.

In the end, being brutally honest, the book is complicated. It is sad. It is confusing, conflicting and depressing. It makes you angry. It makes you sick to your stomach. To tell the truth, I can’t recommend it. I can’t see any reason why someone would read this book. Why they would want images of these things in their head. I thought maybe I would read this and reflect thinking, “Thank God my boys are with me. Thank God they aren’t in the system. Thank God these things will never happen to them.” But then I realized, these things can happen to them. They can happen to anyone.

Now, I think the book made me worry more then I already do. Me, a mom who finds anything and everything to worry about, who can’t cross a bridge without a Xanax, who has a panic attack if I can’t see my child at every single second that we are out, now added about seven new things to worry about. I’m afraid of church. Afraid of school. Afraid of friends. Afraid of adults... this book has made me afraid of the world. I’m sorry, but this is one book I can’t give two thumbs up to. I tried. I gave it my best shot. I thought about it, and did my best, but I just can’t find the beauty in this book.