Young Adult Lit/Crit

May 6, 2008

PUSH, again

Filed under: Uncategorized — jexter1 @ 11:21 pm

The other day, my roommate walked into my room and noticed that I was reading PUSH, by Sapphire. She instantly asked what I thought about it, and told me that she read it a few years ago. My roommate is 18, black, and from Brooklyn. I was not just happy, I was thrilled, to be able to discuss this book with a young girl who is the same race and from a city just like Precious (PUSH’s main character). My roommate said that she read PUSH in 11th grade, after the recommendation of many male and female friends of hers. The novel was not available at her school, so she bought it at Barnes and Noble, and loved it. She surprised me when she said that the graphic and sexual nature of the book did not phase her. Evidently she has read several YA texts that are equally as bawdy AND sexually violent.

My roommate did say that her race and city upbringing did not aide in her pick of the novel or pleasure in reading it. She agreed that being able to relate to characters and the setting of a story are helpful, but not a pre-requisite for success. As a matter of fact, she was glad and grateful that she could not relate to or think of a friend who can relate to Precious – an illiterate, abused, HIV Positive 12-year old who is pregnant for the second time  after being raped by her father.

As depressing and frightening as the novel begins, it ends with a feeling of hope, empowerment, and pride. Precious eventually leaves the hell-hole known as her mother’s home, and embarks on a journey of literacy, companionship, trust, and self-worth.

I stand by my opinion that this novel is too risque for the classroom, but everyone should read it eventually. You would be shocked at what sort of lives some kids endure.



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