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“Precious Jones, a illiterate sixteen-year-old, has up until now been invisible: invisible to the father who rapes her and the mother who batters her and to the authorities who dismiss her as just one more of Harlem’s casualties. But when Precious, pregnant with a second child by her father, meets a determined and highly radical teacher, we follow her on a journey of education and enlightenment as Precious learns not only how to write about her life, but how to make it her own for the first time.”

I was looking forward to reading this book. I saw the movie come out and it made me want to read the book (I did not watch the movie; I had to read the book first). I knew the basic plot line from the movie ads: a young girl is having her second baby by her father. That was all I really knew.

The book itself followed the basic plot lined out above, but didn’t do much else. While I hear the movie was based on true events, the book does not mention that so I am not sure what the actual story is. If this is someone’s actual story, then I am deeply sorry but I found the story to be boring and drawn out. Precious had a lot going on in her life, but instead the book focused not on her actually having the child or her interactions with the child. Instead you get a “oh by the way this happened to Precious before the book started, but lets only talk about that huge event for a paragraph and move on”. The book would drop huge plot lines like HIV/AIDS into a sentence, but then drop it once it was established as a “gay” disease so clearly Precious couldn’t have it.

The book had a lot of homophobia for no reason whatsoever in it. Why was she so against gay people? It did not add to the plot, it did not make sense, and it didn’t fit her character. Why was it such a huge thing? Mentioning her hatred of gay people happened more than mentioning HIV/AIDS.

The book was supposed to be written from Precious’s point of view, but the author was not consistent with her use of words which may or may not have been intentional. There were journal entries that were spelled worse than the narrative, so was the narrative supposed to be Precious speaking? If it was, why were words spelled wrong that it would be strange that she didn’t know and ones that are strange for her to know (mongoloid being one) spelled right?

I wanted to like this book, but I couldn’t really get too invested. Her story was very tragic and I would never wish it on anyone, but it was handled badly in this text.

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2.5 out of 5 stars. I would not recommend this book, but I still hear that the movie is heartbreaking. ​

You can buy this book here.

~Isaiah

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