Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Sapphire, PRECIOUS

The heartrending story of Precious Jones, age 16, who begins her story: "I was left back when I was twelve because I had a baby for my fahver [sic]."
At first glance, I wasn't sure if she was left, back when she was twelve--left by whom?--and then I realized she means "left back a grade." But this book is about every kind of being left--left back, left behind, left for hopeless, having AIDS left in her, left for dead. It could have gone melodramatic and cliched--this story is one we've heard before--but the nuances are all fresh. Even the way that Precious confronts the other Others. She declares that she hates gays--she's repeating what she's heard Farrakhan say--until she discovers her teacher "Ms Rain a butch." Again and again, Precious bravely allows her felt experience to overturn what she thinks she knows. But this book was a hard read and created some images in my head that I wish I didn't have.

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