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Push [Hardcover]

4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)

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Amazon Price New from Used from
Library Binding £13.73  
Hardcover, Jun 1996 --  
Paperback £6.39  
Audio, CD, Abridged, Audiobook £10.13  

Book Description

Jun 1996
An electrifying first novel that shocks by its language, its circumstances, and its brutal honesty, Push recounts a young black street-girl's horrendous and redemptive journey through a Harlem inferno. For Precious Jones, 16 and pregnant with her father's child, miraculous hope appears and the world begins to open up for her when a courageous, determined teacher bullies, cajoles, and inspires her to learn to read, to define her own feelings and set them down in a diary.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 139 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf Publishing Group; First Edition edition (Jun 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679446265
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679446262
  • Product Dimensions: 13.6 x 2 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,221,453 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Sapphire was born in 1950 and spent her first twelve years on army bases in California and Texas. As a teenager she lived in South Philadelphia and Los Angeles. She graduated from City College in New York and received an MFA from Brooklyn College. From 1983 to 1993 she lived in Harlem, where she taught reading and writing to teenagers and adults. She lives in New York City.

Product Description


"An inspired and inspiring debut, a The Color Purple for the nineties" (Vogue)

"Sapphire's vibrant, unindulgent first novel has you cheering the awesome Precious on until the last page: her voice is true and the book is cool" (Mail on Sunday)

"Part wishful prayer, part manifesto, mingling poetry and humour...her novel, while heavily weighted with adversity, is buoyant, cresting wave after voluble wave of splendid, turbulent, bracing language...Its voice demands attention, perseverance and concentration, then its music takes you over, its story grips, its current and undercurrents mesmerise, depress and then uplift... A voice to remember" (Scotland on Sunday)

"Unforgettable...a mesmerising and uplifting read... Has all the power and vehemence of rap...brutal in its defence of the vulnerable" (Independent)

"Harrowing yet hilarious...packs a powerful punch... The powerful writing makes the book a cracking read...a tour de force" (Guardian) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

The harrowing but uplifting story of an abused teenager in Harlem, adapted into a critically-acclaimed film. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
70 of 72 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Shocking,yet inspirational 22 May 2002
Push documents the life of 16year old Precious,who is pregnant to her father for the second time and receives abuse not only from him, but also from her mother,her peers,figures of authority such as her teachers, but most of all from society.The book documents her struggles to survive and her story is one that has to inspire.Although the contents of the book may be shocking and horrifying, they are true to life as each and every day we hear reports about severe cases of abuse of children,adults,power etc.The book is superbly written in the language of Precious herself,meaning that it is at first difficult to understand,being somewhat illiterate.However,the reader is invited to travel with Precious through her world and through her achievements.The whole book is a story of strength,perserverance and determination.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars amazing 20 Oct 2005
By A Customer
I first read this book when i was 18. It opened my eyes. I had never heard of this level of abuse a person could go through from people she should have been able to trust. It is not an easy read. Despite the horrendous desciptions, it became one of my favourite books because of her pure grit and determination to not be a victim and overcome all obstacles that were put in front of her. A very inspirational read.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A difficult and harrowing book 25 Jan 2010
By Bobby Smith TOP 500 REVIEWER
Precious is a character that most of society would prefer not to read about - with her life story being a depressing sign of the times for how children are introduced to the mysterious world of adults - just at a time when their hormones are making life confusing enough. Be warned, for this book is hard to 'enjoy' - with the subject matter often jaw dropping with its shock value. The book is not a true story but based on people who have gone through similar experiences. I can well believe, however, that the stories in it are true, especially given the expose over here of the baby 'P' tragedy. In a sense this book is more than a tad voyeuristic - with the reader being allowed to dip into a world they (thankfully) can steer clear of. The moral, though, of the book is clear: why ignore the problems of society just because they are difficult? If one child is saved through someone reporting abuse then Push has achieved more than a host of Booker prize winning books or 'celebrity' memoirs. If you want a book to stretch you and make you look inside your own head then buy this. If you want to stick your head in the sand then buy Jordan's latest book.
If you like this then I also recommend another book about overcoming adversity: One Love Two Colours: The Unlikely Marriage of a Punk Rocker and His African Queen by Margaret Oshindele-Smith (my wife). This is the true story of a UK based Nigerian woman and her marriage to a white working-class punk (me!) - another difficult book but one with an inspiring message.
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
"Push"is an eye opener;exploring the harsh and destructive ways of life that are experienced by many unfortunate people in todays' society.It explores vividly the abuse of one girl,abuse that is both sexual,physical and mental, experienced at the hands of both her mother and her father.It is disturbing and plays on the mind afterwards,therefore the author ultimately achieves their goal,as the message that is conveyed throughout the novel stays with us and challenges our views on society,on life and on childhood and the loss of innocence.The novel mixes humour with poetry and is heavily weighted with adversity.The story is gripping and I found this novel impossible to put down,in fact I read it in about 3 hours,but it's contenet stayed with me for days afterwards.The voice demands attention and concentration and the novel made me experience a variety of emotions.The writing is extremely powerful,directly engaging the audience with the main character Precious,so much so that you cheer her on and pray that she makes a go of life and an escape from her oppressive childhood. The novel tackles issues of the day in a complately effective and engaging way voicing concerns of many in a vivid and descriptive way that sickens the reader.It is impossible to say that the book is throroughly enjoyable because the content is so disturbing and sickening,but it demands to be read and it truly is an admirable and fantastically inspiring novel.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Precious Book That Must Be Read 26 Jan 2010
By Simon Savidge Reads TOP 1000 REVIEWER
From the very first paragraph we are taken straight into the world of Precious Jones and truth be told its not a world for the faint hearted. Pregnant for the second time by her own father Precious has grown up illiterate in the back streets of Harlem where the only thing she wants is an education which will bring freedom and opportunity. She lives with her abusive mother who is living off the money she receives for having her daughter and granddaughter living in the house, though in truth Precious's daughter has been shipped off to her grandmothers while her mother claims the extra money.

As we join Precious she is reflecting on her life and how she came to be in the position she is in and as you come to know her back story it not only makes you sad it also makes you quite angry. Precious is soon kicked out of high school under the pretext of simply `being pregnant'. However a teacher takes sympathy on her and has booked her on an alternative education course Each One Teach One. This is, Precious knows, probably the last chance she has of an education along with the likes of Rhoda, Jermaine and Rita (all with dark and unfortunate pasts) but with a second baby due, a mother who doesn't want her to do anything but be a slave and a means of benefits is Precious really ever going to change her life?

I thought, though in parts it made me angry, that this is one of the most amazing books I have read in a long, long time. It brings home the lives that some people live in modern times who could really be in the same city as we are and we just don't notice as though the book is set in the 1980's this is still going on.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
came in due time does what it says
Published 3 days ago by yasmin ali
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 2 months ago by D A WAGSTAFF
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read
I have watched the movies however I feel that the book was a lot better than the movie. The movie missed out many parts to this story however the book provides what the movie... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Princess Zahra
3.0 out of 5 stars Novel
To be honest I have not had time to read this book, but new year i will do so. thanks
Published 10 months ago by Fay Thompson
4.0 out of 5 stars A must read.
heart wrenching story. Had watched the film and was touched so wanted to digest from writer's perspective. Definately a good to keep and read again
Published 10 months ago by Lynn
5.0 out of 5 stars When existence is a limitless battlefield...
Her name is Clarece 'Precious' Jones. She is a 16 year old girl, full of dreams and hope one day to escape her tragic life , which is indeed quite horrific, Precious and her mother... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Angie
5.0 out of 5 stars Book or Movie
Well I saw the movie and I thought it was horrific, but I wanted to get a little bit more from the story and I wanted to get to know the characters more intimately, and the book is... Read more
Published 15 months ago by PdrgMrdt
4.0 out of 5 stars Graphic Yet Simply Poetic
I picked this up the other day as I was waiting for a library book to come through and didn't want to start anything too big/long. Read more
Published on 7 Nov 2011 by Angela
5.0 out of 5 stars great book
this book is at times shocking, harrowing and heart rending, however the overall impression is of a girl who has had the most appalling start in life, trying her best to educate... Read more
Published on 27 Oct 2011 by pammy
5.0 out of 5 stars Raw and Real
This book really impressed me. I enjoyed the writing and the story and was quite connected with Precious by the end of the book, though I can't say that I'd grown much of a... Read more
Published on 17 Oct 2011 by Stepping Out of the Page
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Is push the same book as precious? 0 8 Mar 2010
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