Push is the fictional story of Precious Jones. She’s 16 years old, illiterate, poverty-stricken, physically, emotionally and sexually abused, and pregnant with her second child. Yet with all of that, Precious is hungry. Not hungry for food, although that’s part of it, but hungry to learn. Hungry to be respected. Hungry to live a useful life and to raise her children. But most importantly, Precious is hungry to be loved.
Physically and emotionally abused by her mother and sexually abused by her father, Precious is further victimized by her high school when she is thrown out because of her pregnant condition. Refusing to allow her to finish classes in a traditional school setting, her high school counselor offers her the option to attend an alternative school where – finally – Precious begins to learn.
Push was, without any doubt, the most emotionally difficult book I’ve ever read and produced the most amazing range of emotions from me. I found it disturbing, courageous, sad, painful, heartbreaking, and surprisingly hopeful. I had a great deal of difficulty with the coarse language and graphic descriptions of a child molested practically from birth; and I had to keep reminding myself that it was a work of fiction. My heart ached for Precious, and I was downright furious at her parents. I was sickened and nauseated by the abuse she endured from the two people in the world who should’ve loved and protected her, but instead violated her in every way imaginable…physically, mentally, sexually, and emotionally.
The descriptions of abuse and betrayal are intense and graphic, so this is not a book I’d recommend to every reader. However, it’s a story that needed to be told and one that I was completely unable to stop reading. More than once I put this book down, and each time I felt compelled to pick it back up and continue reading. I had to know more about the main character.
Push is truly an unforgettable book. It’s a book that calls to me and makes me want to change the world and make it a better and safer place for people like Precious. It’s a story that inspires me to want to seek punishment for those who use and abuse the very people they are entrusted to protect. And yet, it’s not a book I would recommend for the sensitive or the faint of heart. It is, however, a book I will will never forget.
This book is available through the library’s e-book catalogue under the alternate title, Precious.
~ Catherine H. Armstrong
~ Catherine H. Armstrong