My Precious: Sapphire Reads Tonight at Parnassus Books



In 2011, 15 years after the publication of her novel Push (on which the Oscar-winning film Precious was based), Sapphire returned to her protagonist for a new book, The Kid. Though it is not, according to the author, a sequel, it follows the lives of several characters prominently featured in Push.

The first book centered on Precious, an illiterate, overweight African-American teenager abused and molested by both of her parents. Push tracks her second pregnancy with her father's child. The Kid is, in fact, that kid: her second child. The novel opens with Precious' funeral, following her battle with AIDS, and from there the book belongs solely to Abdul, the kid himself.

It's a tough read, rife with brutality and almost every abuse imaginable. In her fiction and her poetry, Sapphire never shies from illuminating the darkest aspects of humanity, with careful attention to language and voice. The results are staggeringly compelling. To follow Abdul through the traumatic 10 years of his life that Sapphire covers here, from ages 9 to 19, readers must get comfortable being uncomfortable. The reward is a story written with energy, ferocity and fearlessness.

In advance of her appearance at Parnassus Books in Nashville on Tuesday, Sapphire answered questions via email. Read the interview here.

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