Push – Sapphire

9780679766759This is an excellent book hard to read because it’s impossibly sad, and the protagonist, Precious, begins as functionally illiterate. Precious is a black 16-year-old girl living with an abusive mother. She’s pregnant with her second child as a result of being raped by her father. Her mother wants her to drop out of school to get maximum welfare, but Precious opts to attend school.  There she meets a teacher, Blue Rain, who starts her and other girls from troubled backgrounds with basics, and ignites in them a passion for learning. Precious is making progress when she leaves to have her baby. In the hospital she admits her first child is living with her grandmother which results in welfare reduction for her mother. Enraged, her mother throws her out. Ms. Rain gets Precious into a halfway house with childcare which enables her to continue school. The more she learns, the more the grammar and spelling in the book improve. Unfortunately, Precious’s father dies of AIDS, and she tests HIV positive, too.  The book was made into a 2009 movie.

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