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About the Book


The questions, discussion topics, and author biography that follow are intended to enhance your group's reading of Sapphire's Push. We hope they will aid your understanding of this vibrant and powerful first novel by one of America's most controversial poets.

"Don't nobody want me. Don't nobody need me. I know who I am...ugly black grease to be wipe away, punish, kilt, changed, finded a job for"[p. 33]. This is the voice of Precious Jones, a viciously abused Harlem girl. At 16, Precious is pregnant-for the second time-with her own father's child, and regularly beaten and ordered around by her jealous, reclusive mother. Though she sits dutifully in class every day-"I always did like school, jus' seem school never did like me"[p. 38]-she has remained completely illiterate. Her life seems set to repeat the self-destructive pattern of her mother's, until her principal sends her to an alternative reading class where, with the help of a dedicated teacher and fellow students who have undergone experiences as harrowing as her own, she begins an intoxicating discovery of words, friendship, and, in the process, herself.

Precious's voice-stark and crude yet filled with raw intelligence and even humor-demands to be heard and, once heard, will prove unforgettable.

by Sapphire

  • Publication Date: April 29, 1997
  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage
  • ISBN-10: 0679766758
  • ISBN-13: 9780679766759