Precious by Sapphire

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Precious by Sapphire

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Category: General Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: A film tie-in but a powerful book which stays with you long after you turn the last page. Definitely recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 192 Date: January 2010
Publisher: Vintage
ISBN: 978-0099548720

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Normally I don't go for film tie-in books, but just occasionally you find something which pulls you up short and makes you think. Precious did that and if the book is anything to go by then all the hype about the film might just be right.

Precious Jones is a sixteen year old black girl from Harlem – well she's never actually been out of Harlem – and when we meet her she's pregnant by her own father for the second time. Her first child was a girl and she was born with Down's Syndrome. With unconscious irony Precious calls her Little Mongo and leaves her to live with her grandmother. When her second pregnancy becomes obvious she's expelled from school and joins an alternative education programme. Precious really wants to learn and the book is the story of her journey from illiteracy to maturity.

The book is Precious' diary and she tells her story in her own words (Little Mongo has Down Sinder) and she is completely frank about what has happened to her and even about her guilt over certain aspects of her relationship with her father. Despite everything – and there really isn't a lot going for Precious – she really does want to learn to read and write and to get an education. She wants to make a better life for her son and escape the abusive family life.

I read this book in one sitting, desperate to find out what happened to Precious. She's overweight and under-privileged but there's no doubting that Precious is, quite simply, awesome. There's power in the story – sometimes I cried and sometimes I laughed out loud, but I never stopped rooting for this woman and for the friends whom she made in the alternative education programme.

I doubt that I'll see the film – I'm not a great film watcher – but this is a story which I would not like to have missed. It's a book I'll reread and probably get more from it the next time round too. Definitely recommended.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

For a real life story of girls abused by men with the connivance of their mother we can recommend How Could She? by Dana Fowley.

Buy Precious by Sapphire at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Precious by Sapphire at

Buy Precious by Sapphire at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Precious by Sapphire at


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