Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Review - The Kid by Sapphire

Book Summary

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.

My Review - 2 Not my Cup of Tea

I read Push last year and was looking forward to a sequel, well this definitely wasn't the story I was waiting on.  Reading this book can scar you for life.  This is a tragic slap ass story that will scald you and enter your mind with details you do not want to have to think about.

I often love the gritty story lines that share some of the real genuine abuse issues, they open my eyes to something I cannot dream about and most times make me feel like doing something to help.  I loved Precious in Push because she was optimistic, she pushed her way through so why would I think she ended up with a psychopath son, he totally was out of control in every way imaginable.  She must have been looking down from heaven and had non stop tears.  He had some crazy psychotic thoughts, really mad man, as he said 'wack shit' thoughts.  I wanted to feel sorry for him and see him along his journey but it was so hard to read, I felt like I was watching a man get electrocuted and could feel some of the pain but was still disgusted with him.

Precious named her son Abdul, but he went by JJ, Jamal, Crazy Horse, it just went on and on, he had no identity, he was not Precious child in my eyes, she would not produce such, ugggh, I won't judge.  I hate to say it but I wish this was a memoir, this way it would be real to me.  I didn't even feel like the same author wrote these books.  I think Sapphire may have used many peoples experiences and wrapped it in one, Abdul, which ended up being a nightmare walking the streets.

I loved Precious and wanted to know more about her life with her children but the story started out with her funeral, ok, this is real life, I didn't like but fine.  Abdul learns about his sister and just that she is dead, I wish there had been more.  After his abusive live in school, giving and taking abuse, he was taken to his great grandma who he knows nothing about.  His grandma is discussing her history with him, way to much detail again and the craziest, most disgusting, shocking, complete utter bull happens. (Be warned, TMI, but I have to say it.  Abdul masturbates and comes on the kitchen table :-0 yes, notice your reaction, sigh)

I have been reading this one for over a week, it truly is the hardest book I have ever read.  I finally decided to give up at page 246 and skim the rest.  Push had illiterate writing and it improved throughout the story, it was executed amazingly and added to the genuineness of the story.  I felt like The Kid was all over the place.  His dreams, what is reality, what isn't, he seems educated but then has this comprehension that is just so wrong.  I found all of this very distracting and I hated the style, but feel like I should give Sapphire her props for being able to do it.

Push gave you hope and I was waiting to experience this in The Kid and it never came, very depressing read.  I don't know what I got out of it so I don't know how to recommend to anyone.  I will recommend Push to others though, it was graphic but not in a shocking inappropriate way.

I did enjoy that Abdul lost himself in African dance and then other dance forms.  All the nightmares, panic attacks, tragedy in his life, kind of disappeared.  Even though those around him could tell he was releasing pain.  This was a great part of his story.

I don't usually write this much but his story honestly impacted me in a way I could have done without and I want to make sure I have shared enough information for you to make a decision, be warned. 

View tlc tour ...png in slide show

I have to thank Trish from TLC BookTours.  I wanted to read this after Push so I am disappointed I didn't like it but am grateful for the opportunity.

Sapphire’s Tour Stops

Tuesday, July 5th: “That’s Swell!”
Monday, July 11th: Sarah Reads Too Much
Tuesday, July 12th: Books From Bleh to Basically Amazing
Thursday, July 14th: Dreaming in Books
Monday, July 18th: Wordsmithonia
Tuesday, July 19th: All About {n}
Wednesday, July 20th: Melody & Words
Thursday, July 21st: Reviews By Lola
Thursday, July 28th: Regular Rumination
Tuesday, August 2nd: BermudaOnion’s Weblog
Wednesday, August 3rd: Tea Time with Marce


  1. On the kitchen table? Ew! Why was that necessary to include in the book? I think both books would be a bit much for me.

  2. It was hard to believe his grandmother shared as much as she did, but I think that was meant to illustrate the dysfunction of the family. Abdul's dark, violent thoughts made it hard for me to empathize with him.

  3. I'm sorry this didn't turn out to be the sequel you hoped it would be, but thanks for sharing your thoughts as part of the tour.

  4. I will probably pass on this one! Sounds crazy!

  5. I barely made it through the movie, so I know that this book would not work for me.

  6. I'm sorry to hear that this didn't work out for you.I read push when it came out about 10 or 11 years ago and thought it was amazing; Sapphire was all over the poetry world at that time and her book was like one long poem in a way. I'm curious about the followup but I'll probably think on it for a while before buying/reading. thanks for your great review!

  7. Hmm.... I originally thought it was pretty bad and then mid-way through it improved for me. Having just finished it, I think it's an award-worthy piece of fiction and one of the most well-written pieces I've read in a LONG time. We may not like the direction of the STORY, but I think the book has to be evaluated as a collective effort and has to be dissociated from "Push" in order to be truly appreciated. To be able to sustain stream of consciousness writing for over 300 pages and still produce a credible storyline is admirable (to say the least). And honestly, what makes the book difficult to read, is the same thing that makes it GENIUS. Sapphire was able to take us into the interiority of a mentally ill survivor of sexual abuse and abandonment—that's no easy feat, and it's certainly not pleasurable to read about. She accurately pens the confusion, the violence, the disgusting unmentionables, and the insanity of a "man" who has been through unimaginable atrocities. Why would anyone approach this book expecting it to be a walk in the park? It is exactly what it should be—difficult, menacing, haunting, vile, disgusting, and scattered. Her writing here is far superior to "Push" (which pales in comparison) and places her in the ranks with authors like Toni Morrison—another difficult, misunderstood and dismissed female African American author. It is also reminiscent of the writing of Virginia Woolf's style of writing, which often contained stream of consciousness interiority and issues of dementia. The layers of the book are interesting to say the least: the trope of the Vietnam war being used to mimic Abdul's own internal war, the use of dance as a metaphor for his daily performance, the similarities between this text and "The Black Swan" (which is somewhat alluded to), the parallelism between Precious' group of misfit friends and the complexity of Abdul's own band of virtuoso outcasts ... genius. And she manages to tie all of the pieces together in a respectable and believable cliffhanger at novel's denouement skipping any obligation to "redemption." This is reality—Abdul's anyway—and this is mental illness. Brava!

    1. I completely agree with you E.A Moore. I am listening to the book (being read by Sapphire) and it is hard to digest but everything funnels down to a singular purpose. It is horrifying, but not far from the true hell that many children endure. It is heart wrenching to see Abdul struggle through life after being abandoned in the world alone at age nine and consequently battling what is apparently hereditary mental illness. Brava indeed.

    2. Love the breakdown many people don’t like the book because it depicts real life that many don’t want to know about . Working with the disabled they have horrifying stories of people sexual abusing them because they are disabled and I tell them express whatever it be rambles but as long as they know I was there to listen. I was told by my friend a can even the elders get abused sexually in the homes . The book let us into the mind of someone who looked at their trauma differently .

      Not everyone walks of life is the same.

      Good comment I loved reading it hope you have started a blog to express yourself and break things down.

  8. Wow sounds crazy! I thought Push was sort of difficult reading because of the topic but I could see where this would sort of be more scary in a bad way. Although now I sort of want to read it just to see what you're talking about LOL!

  9. I agree with you on this one. And I'm glad you mention the anxiety-releasing power of dance for Abdul - that was one of the few parts of the book I enjoyed.

  10. I'm still on the fence about this one. I liked Push and was looking forward to this one. But I've read mostly mixed responses about this book. I think I will still give it a try some time. I loved your review - you caught the essence of the book well.

  11. the book was all over the place for me.....very disturbing and vivid. I was completely lost at the end of the book and just counted this as a loss. It started off well, but as i approached the end of the novel, i felt like she just wanted to hurry up and finish.

  12. I think this would be a very hard read for me and reading your review sums up how I would tread with trepidation, especially after PUSH. I think I'll put off reading The Kid since it seems bleak but maybe that was the hard reality the author was aiming for. I just got Room after many months of hemhawing - wish me luck with this one. I really enjoyed your review - honest and very matter of fact to the plot's development.

  13. DO NOT READ THIS BOOK IF RAPING BOYS OR GRAPHIC MASTURBATION SOUNDS DISTURBING TO YOU. I forced myself through half of the book before having to call it quits due to the disturbing and vile nature of Abdul (the main character). I respect the writing style but I had no compassion or sympathy for Abdul and therefore could no longer subject myself to the atrocious actions detailed in the novel.


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