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The Kid

The Kid

2.4 95
by Sapphire

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Fifteen years after the publication of Push, one year after the Academy Award-winning film adaptation, Sapphire gives voice to Precious's son, Abdul.

In The Kid bestselling author Sapphire tells the electrifying story of Abdul Jones, the son of Push's unforgettable heroine, Precious.

A story of body and spirit, rooted in the hungers of flesh


Fifteen years after the publication of Push, one year after the Academy Award-winning film adaptation, Sapphire gives voice to Precious's son, Abdul.

In The Kid bestselling author Sapphire tells the electrifying story of Abdul Jones, the son of Push's unforgettable heroine, Precious.

A story of body and spirit, rooted in the hungers of flesh and of the soul, The Kid brings us deep into the interior life of Abdul Jones. We meet him at age nine, on the day of his mother's funeral. Left alone to navigate a world in which love and hate sometimes hideously masquerade, forced to confront unspeakable violence, his history, and the dark corners of his own heart, Abdul claws his way toward adulthood and toward an identity he can stand behind.

In a generational story that moves with the speed of thought from a Mississippi dirt farm to Harlem in its heyday; from a troubled Catholic orphanage to downtown artist's lofts, The Kid tells of a twenty- first-century young man's fight to find a way toward the future. A testament to the ferocity of the human spirit and the deep nourishing power of love and of art, The Kid chronicles a young man about to take flight. In the intimate, terrifying, and deeply alive story of Abdul's journey, we are witness to an artist's birth by fire.

Editorial Reviews

It was a full decade and a half ago that Sapphire's disarming novel Precious first struck emotional chords in readers and two years ago when its film adaptation first hit Sundance screens. (The movie earned six Oscar nominations, including one for Best Picture.) This long-requested sequel tracks Jamal Abdul Jones, the troubled son who survived Precious, following him as he bounces painfully from situation to situation. Like Precious, The Kid displays the hard-won authenticity of down-at-the-heels urban experience.

Publishers Weekly
Fifteen years and an Oscar-nominated movie adaptation have passed by since Push, and, with Precious long dead, Sapphire unfurls the story of her son, Jamal Abdul Louis Jones. Orphan Jamal winds up at a foster home where he's mocked and beaten to the point of having to be hospitalized. Fast forward, and Abdul, going by the name J.J., is at the St. Ailanthus School for boys, where he's sexually abused by priests and in turn sexually abuses a couple of boys at the school. When J.J. is thrown out of the school, he struggles to handle his own conflicting desires and the rigors of getting by in a tough world by himself, often with very little comprehension of consequences. J.J. is a great creation, if a sometimes frustrating one: Sapphire excels at getting readers into the head of a frightened, enraged, and frustrated wild child, but that isn't always the best vantage point from which to watch this heartbreaking story unfold. This is a sobering and unflinching study of the legacy of abuse, and while the narration can leave readers more puzzled than piqued, it's a harrowing story. (July)
Library Journal
Difficult to read because of the subject matter and the experimental stream-of-consciousness narrative in which conversations, dreams, memories, and imagined scenes flow chaotically together, this sequel to Push comes 15 years after the best-selling novel that was the basis for the movie Precious. Now Precious's son is the one suffering a life of abuse. Forced into foster care at age nine when his mother dies, he can't even keep his name as he moves from one nightmarish situation to the next. The only constants throughout are (graphically described) acts of sexual and physical abuse by adults, leading him to abuse smaller boys. Stumbling into an African dance class one day, he discovers a talent for dancing, but it is unclear whether he's too psychologically damaged to be rescued by art. VERDICT Readers will need to have read the first book or seen the movie to understand many of the references here. While not as cohesive or as well written as Push, this title will still attract sizable demand from the author's fans and readers looking for gritty, urban fiction that tackles such issues as race, class, and sexual abuse.—Laurie A. Cavanaugh, Wareham Free Lib., MA
Kirkus Reviews

The larger audience attracted by the award-winning adaptation of the author's debut novel (Push, 1996, adapted into the filmPrecious) will recognize this sequel as "Son of Precious."

A poet and teacher, Sapphire created a literary sensation with the publication ofPush.Yet that novel had even greater impact more than a decade later as the source material for Precious,the success of which might well have spawned this longer, more ambitious follow-up. Readers might remember the birth of a son in that novel, the second baby for the precocious teenager who was repeatedly raped by her father. The boy mainly existed in the margins ofPush,andthis is his story, one of adolescent turbulence and shifting identities, from a narrator who has difficulty distinguishing his dream life from the shifting realities of his existence. And so will readers. Those hoping for more of Precious will be disappointed to learn that the novel opens with mention of her funeral, as the narrator quickly finds himself shunted from one of his mother's friends to a foster home to a Catholic orphanage, from which he is delivered to his great-grandmother (who delivers an impassioned soliloquy on her migration from Mississippi to New York) after the discovery of a bureaucratic foul-up. Various names accompany his abrupt changes of address, with "Abdul," "Crazy Horse" and "J.J." among the labels attached to a boy who at 13 could pass for an adult.His sexuality is equally ambiguous; though he doesn't think of himself as gay, he finds himself prey for older men and develops an appetite for smaller boys. He's also smart, articulate and a gifted dancer, as he moves from the patronage of a dance teacher (who takes sexual or at least emotional advantage) to an experimental company where both his sexuality and hold on reality are challenged. The author plainly embraces an aesthetic she ascribes to a dance piece—"It's controlled where it needs to be and wild and free where it can be"—though the novel might benefit from a little more of the former at the expense of the latter.

Powerfuland disturbing, though not always coherent.

DeNeen Brown
Sapphire, a fearless writer with complete command of her story, spares the reader nothing—no comfort, no room to turn away. The only possible respite can be found in the poetry of her prose…What The Kid reveals about victims and perpetrators is not for the faint of heart.
—The Washington Post
Danielle Evans
At its best, The Kid captures the grueling heartbreak of trying to love anything when the world doesn't love you enough, of trying to summon desire or affection in the absence of any healthy context for either one.
—The New York Times
From the Publisher
“A devastating voice, demanding and raw . . . an accomplished work of art.” — THE LOS ANGELES TIMES

“The breathtaking velocity and visceral power of her prose soars off the page…The Kid gives us a story and a narrative voice which, like his mother’s before him, should definitely be heard.” — THE GUARDIAN (UK)

“[P]owerful… affecting and harrowing.” — Michiko Kakutani, THE NEW YORK TIMES

“[Sapphire] remains fearlessly committed to telling uncomfortable truths… Like Push, The Kid is deeply moving and unflinching.” — ESSENCE

The Kid’s unflinching authenticity makes it tough yet ultimately rewarding to read.” — PEOPLE

"Steely-eyed, full-frontal daring."PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER

Product Details

Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.50(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are Saying About This

People Magazine
In this sequel to Sapphire's '96 book Push, which became the film Precious, the Kid is 9-year-old Abdul Jones, whose mother, Precious, dies from AIDS in the opening pages. Despite a childhood of harrowing abuse, Abdul manages to nurture a talent for dance. But while he yearns for connection, his universe also brims with fantasy and fury. The Kid's unflinching authenticity makes it tough yet ultimately rewarding to read.

Meet the Author

Sapphire is the author of two collections of poetry and the bestselling novel Push. The film adaption of her novel, Precious (2009), received the Academy Award for Best Screenplay and Best Supporting Actress, in addition to the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Awards in the U.S. Dramatic Competition at Sundance. In 2009 she was a recipient of a United States Artist Fellowship. She lives in New York City.

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The Kid 2.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 95 reviews.
Wyatts_Gma More than 1 year ago
This was a very hard read in the way it was written, and the subject matter. It needs to come with an advisory warning on the cover. I understand the need for getting a story like this out there because of it's content, but it's way too graphic for the average reader. It was not written in a way that was easy to follow either. This was recommended on Good Morning America, so I had no idea it would be this bad. It started out easier to follow and then jumped around quite a bit. It leaves unanswered questions after you have finished the book. If I could give no stars, I would.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm not surprised how many readers said they didn't enjoy reading this book. The Kid is not the kind of book you enjoy reading, the same way I didn't enjoy reading Dave Pelzer's A Child Called "It" (a MUST read). It reads almost like a memoir, so in a sense you are reading about someone's life, their journey; someone's story isn't always pretty, most of the time it's downright horrific and disturbing, hence the life of Abdul Jamal Louis Jones. This book is truly disturbing to read but to read it is to be informed and provoke thought, to teach you about the value of life, love and a connection to what makes us human; especially when it involves the life of a child. It begs the eternal question of nature vs. nurture. I think Sapphire wrote Abdul's story in complete opposition to his mother Precious. Mother and son had horrific, traumatic childhoods yet Precious was able to rise above her situation, try to educate and work herself out of poverty, raise two children as a teenage mother, a network of friends for support and with AIDS no less. She persevered, let education save her, pursued it, devoured it and passed what she could to Abdul. In turn he couldn't do the same; once equipped with a love of knowledge he abandons it, unable to save himself even with the gift of dance, a great-grandmother, a social worker and a girlfriend he allows himself to trust no one and continues to let people abuse him and in turn abuses others. Abdul is an angry soul and he had reason to be. With the death of his mother he lost his identity and was angry about it. He was angry his life wasn't better, why he had to suffer. Abdul victimized others the way he felt he was a vicitm and he let his few opportunities slip by without recognizing he could have saved his own life. It is hard to feel anything for this man-child character. He has few, and I do mean few, redeeming qualities. What can one expect from Abdul when he learns early that survival, comfort, kindness and love is violent and predatory? On the other hand his mother was taught the same lesson and was the complete opposite, full of love, a yearning for a richer, fuller life and the ability to become better. Fascinating.
Cherise926 More than 1 year ago
Is he dreaming, is he asleep, is he awake? These are the questions that I have to ask myself after every paragraph. There was no beginning, middle or end. It all muddled together to create a complete mess titled "The Kid". Which by the way "A Kid" could have written a better story. I can deal with graphic if there's point to be made. Unfortunately, the point is there isn't one and this book is pointless.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I did not read Push so was not familiar with the author's writing style and structure, but I saw the movie Prescious and was eager to read the continuing story. I think the book was confusing, especially toward the end when I couldn't tell what was real or what was dreamed. I was disappointed that so much detail was written about the dance project but we never found out how it was received by the audience. Similarly, so much detail was written about The Kid's life but the ending was not descriptive at all, leaving the reader to determine what happened. It seemed like the last chapter was missing. I also wonder how a book like this with extensive raw and graphic sex involving children is not considered pornography. I'm not sure if I'm glad I read this book or not, but I'm certain I won't recommend it to others.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I haven't yet read the book. Believe or not, the amount of negative reviews make me want to read it more. Push wasn't loved when it first hit, infact I only read the book because I had to for class in 2002. The content is hard to intake, I am not expect this book to be any lighter. Also, most have seem to forgotten this kid has DS cause he is the product of insest. He is a son of father and daughter. I don't remember if he is HIV positive. As for the daydreams, Presious did it too. It could be something herditary or possibly a mild form of Autisim. I mean, Sapphire isn't about white picket house families or lucky, rich, spoiled and wealty gang banging families that dealt and hustled their way to sliver spoons...without damages until suddenly. I digress. This is real life for some, and people know kinds like this or saw this at sometime. I get the flipping of the editing too. The general understand about DS, is the kids have damage to the side of the brain that deals with motor skills, social and emotional development more than congnivite thought. Meaning they can have integellent capiblities but are unable to make an outlet (especially a healthy one) to be understood. So in his head it can be a Shakespear but outward he is Jeffery Darmer, sadly cause that is all he can get out of himself. This is just a carather and I'm looking foward to him being intresting.
Alexandria Morgan More than 1 year ago
I had high hopes for this book after reading Push. I didnt understand why it was written in such a confusing manner. The only good part is when the grandmother had the floor and told her story, but i was thrown off by Abdul ejaculating in the middle of her dialogue. I wasnt even disgusted by his sexual acts, unfortunately i was disgusted more by her writting style.
Kimmie_H More than 1 year ago
I could not finish this book at all. I really wanted to enjoy it but I couldn't. It was very disturbing and just disgusting. I have a hard time w/ thinking a kid can do the things Abdul was doing but I know stuff like this happens everyday in the world but reading it is totally differet. After I stopped reading it, I looked at other reviews of this book and some people either loved it or totally hated it. If you have a strong stomach maybe you'll like this book. I was hoping on this book being....I don't know...more about how Precious turn out and how her life w/ her son would be but my goodness....it was just too much for me.
eveready04 More than 1 year ago
I read Push and despite it also being a difficult read, it made sense throughout the story. In this book, the different sections were poorly transitioned and the end did not clarify more about how he got where he was. It seems to just go on and on with no real plot. Extremely disappointed. Maybe next book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Amazing. From the way we get into Abdul's mind to the way the story unfolds, this is definitely a great follow-up to Sapphire's novel, Push.
Anonymous 10 months ago
What kind of gigantic ego do you have to have to use a single name to author a book as bad as this one?
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i thought this would be better then the frist but it BIT DRAWN OUT. I lost interest and find myself having to leave it and come back when i cannot find something better to read. a real let down
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very dark and too much child sex abuse for one book. It was written well, but the content was too much.
honeybeeBY More than 1 year ago
Very confusing as writer was all over the place. I did not enjoy reading this book. Don't waste your money, borrow or get it from a library. Would not recommend...
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peacelikethat More than 1 year ago
After all the things people say about this that and the other being to graphic, I thought this book was mindblowing. It was so raw. I actually began to root for Abdul by the end, I wanted him to win. Nobody said this was just a pleasure read, it does make you think and wonder a little but anyway i thought this book despite everything was VERY good!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Its to confusing it skips years one minute hes dreaming the next minute hes talking to his mom
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Though it would have been better.....it was all over the place....kind of mad I waisted my money on this book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago