I bought this after the film adaptation Precious won a couple of Oscars. Going on the theory the book is usually better than the movie, I added it to a Book Depository order.
I can't say I enjoyed this book - it's not that kind of book. Precious is 16 and pregnant for the second time. Both children are fathered by Precious' father. Her mother is aware of this. She is illiterate, overweight and wants more from her life.
It took me awhile to get into the flow of the book. It is written the way Precious speaks. This is the opening paragraph.
I was left back when I was twelve because I had a baby for my fahver. That was in 1983. I was out of school for a year. This gonna be my second baby. My daughter got Down Sinder. She's retarded. I had got left back in the second grade too, when I was seven, 'cause I couldn't read (and I still peed on myself). I should be in the eleventh grade, getting ready to go into the twelf' grade so I can gone 'n graduate. But I'm not. I'm in the ninfe grade.And it continues like that. While it makes in jarring to read, it gives a real voice to Precious and her situation. Some of what is described in this book may be cry out loud. The abuse she suffers is horrendous, her determination to be a better parent and provide more than her parents is heroic.
I would love to say that I feel Sapphire has greatly exaggerated Precious' plight and no one would really suffer this level of abuse. My wider reading tells me that that isn't true and Precious' plight is that of many children. While it was not a long read, it wasn't an easy one. Avoid it unless you want to be confronted.