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Review: The Kid

August 2, 2011

Even though she suffered abuse as a child, Abdul’s mother is doing the best she can to improve herself and provide a good home for him.  (You might remember her – she’s Precious from the book Push.)  Life may not be perfect, but Abdul is loved and taken care of.  All that changes, though, because Precious dies when Abdul is nine years old and he is placed in foster care.

Overnight, Abdul goes from a safe environment to a living nightmare.  His situation seems to go from bad to worse, but he does have two things going for him – his intelligence and his love of dance.   For a child in his situation, that might not be enough.

I found The Kid, by Sapphire, to be so disturbing that I laid in bed at night thinking about it, but I suppose that was the whole point.  Sapphire pushes the envelope in the way she tells the story and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.  Much of the story, especially the beginning and the end, is told through Abdul’s thoughts and they are often dark and violent, so it’s difficult for readers to feel sympathy or empathy towards him at times.  It’s also difficult to tell what’s real and what’s his imagination.  That’s unfortunate because I think Abdul’s story is an important one.  He’s put in a system designed to protect him and ends up being used and abused. At one point, Abdul says,

I made up somebody to survive.  I don’t know who I am, but I damn sure know what I ain’t.

I had high hopes for The Kid because I thought Push was such a fantastic book, but it didn’t live up to my expectations.   It’s not a book I’ll forget, though, so I’m still glad I read it.  This book is not for the faint of heart, though – it’s very graphic, gritty, and dark and contains a lot of language and sexual references.

Review copy provided by Penguin for this TLC Book Tour.   I am an Indiebound Affiliate.
39 Comments leave one →
  1. August 2, 2011 6:34 am

    I thought this one might be too disturbing for me as well. (You confirmed it). Too much sad stuff in the world as it is.

  2. August 2, 2011 6:39 am

    I have Push on my shelves, but have yet to take a deep breath and slog through it. I am not against dark stories really, but I know that it takes things to a different level. It is really too bad that this sequel didn’t rise above. There is nothing tougher than a dark book about an unsympathetic character.

  3. August 2, 2011 7:07 am

    I’ve read a lot about this one, but not sure that I’m brave enough for it. Thank you for your thoughts.

  4. Veens permalink
    August 2, 2011 7:24 am

    I think I would rather read Push. This one doesn’t look like a book I want to read.

  5. August 2, 2011 8:10 am

    I haven’t felt compelled to read either book. I think they sound too intense for me.

  6. August 2, 2011 8:33 am

    Definitely not for me, but I appreciate the review.

  7. August 2, 2011 8:39 am

    I read Push and didn’t finish it, it’s just not what I want to spend my time reading about. I know that sounds selfish but I can’t imagine that The Kid is any easier to read. I do believe these are stories worth telling, but it’s just not for me.

  8. August 2, 2011 9:03 am

    Well, I’m afraid that “very graphic, gritty, and dark and contains a lot of language and sexual references” is enough to send me running the other way! (but glad you let us know!) :–)

  9. August 2, 2011 9:04 am

    While I’m sure this is a very worthwhile read, I can’t say I’ll be picking this one up any time soon. Mainly because I don’t think that I’d be able to get through the entire book. Thanks for the honest review!

  10. August 2, 2011 11:07 am

    I had heard a lot about Push when it came out, and sort of stayed away because of how upsetting it sounded. I pretty much know the back story, but have refrained from reading the book or seeing the movie. This one also sounds as if it would be really difficult for me, and I am not sure I could handle it. I think the most disturbing thing about these books are that their stories are so realistic.

  11. August 2, 2011 11:15 am

    Thanks! for sharing this review.

  12. August 2, 2011 11:20 am

    Kathy, my review will be up tomorrow. I was looking forward to this one after Push but I didn’t enjoy it and would rather not have many of those details in my mind.

    Quite a shame really, I don’t think many will get through this one.

  13. August 2, 2011 12:21 pm

    I’m so sad that this didn’t end up living up to Pushed. I’ve heard such good things about teh first book, though I haen’t read it myself.

  14. August 2, 2011 1:47 pm

    The Kid sounds like a very disturbing read. What makes it worse is that it’s entirely plausible.

  15. August 2, 2011 1:51 pm

    Thanks for your great review, Kathy. It sounds way too disturbing for me, but I know that others would really get a lot out of it.

  16. August 2, 2011 3:01 pm

    I appreciate your review, Kathy. I have been wondering if I should read both books. I think I am going to skip both of them. I think they might be a bit too disturbing for me.

  17. August 2, 2011 3:11 pm

    I wonder if my friend knows about this one cos I know she went to see the movie and then read the book

  18. August 2, 2011 3:15 pm

    I just posted my review of Push. I really want to read this one.

  19. August 2, 2011 3:27 pm

    I haven’t read push, but both books sound powerful.

  20. August 2, 2011 4:06 pm

    I figured this one would be very intense in many areas. I will have to wait until just the right time.

  21. August 2, 2011 4:22 pm

    perhaps just being something that is disturbing and that you will not forget is not enough.

  22. August 2, 2011 4:43 pm

    I still haven’t read the first one yet. They just sound so disturbing.

  23. August 2, 2011 5:12 pm

    Thank you for sharing…this would be a tough one…I could not even see the first movie…

  24. August 2, 2011 5:48 pm

    Whoa…. I never read Push, but seen the movie Precious and it was pretty intense. Too bad this one did not reach its potential.

  25. August 2, 2011 6:03 pm

    This was such a hard one to digest, but that’s what made it so powerful to me. You and I are exact opposites–I preferred this one to Push.

  26. August 2, 2011 7:20 pm

    I’m sorry that this one didn’t turn out to be as good as you’d hoped but I’m glad you found it worth reading all the same. Thanks for being a part of the tour.

  27. August 2, 2011 8:47 pm

    I had a lot of expectations too for this one, but lately I haven’t heard anything great about it. I’m going to give it a pass for now.

  28. August 2, 2011 9:00 pm

    I still haven’t read Precious. I’ve heard this one is really really disturbing and your review bears that out. Not sure I need that right now.

  29. stacybuckeye permalink
    August 2, 2011 10:52 pm

    I could not even enjoy the movie Precious so I know I couldn’t handle this one.

  30. August 3, 2011 12:32 am

    I still find myself thinking about this one every once in a while. What Abdul went through in this book horrified me and, in a way, made me feel a bit guilty. I know that there are kids who live through tthis all too often, and that fact that I feel powerless to help any of them makes me feel like I’m some how letting them down. It doesn’t make sense and it’s totally not rational, but reading about Abdul just brought that all home to me.

  31. August 3, 2011 7:18 am

    Oh no! Precious dies when he’s 9, and he goes into foster care!?!?! There’s a part of me that wants to know how and why and follow up on the child, but if sadness and despair reigns (which I’m assuming it does) I may just let this one pass. I’m not sure though – my curiosity may get the best of me.

  32. August 3, 2011 8:09 am

    I found Push very hard to read and this one sounds even harder. I haven’t been able to watch the movie Precious. It’s hard to read about such sadness, darkness and violence, even though it is out there in the world.

  33. August 3, 2011 1:52 pm

    I know of several kids(boys) that were taken away from their parents “to protect them” but ended up being raped by older boys and abused by them physically too. There’s no perfect system that’s for sure….this book sounds dark.

  34. August 3, 2011 2:28 pm

    I am not one to shy away from tough subjects but I definitely feel as if I need to work myself up to reading a book like this. It requires a certain mindset.

    Foster care is an imperfect system. It needs reform in a big way. Even now, as I type this, kids are placed into homes that should in all theory be better than what they were taken from, but it’s just not the case. Sadly.

  35. August 3, 2011 4:20 pm

    sorry to hear that it didn’t live up to your expectations. i haven’t read push yet, but it sounds like i need to!

  36. August 3, 2011 6:48 pm

    I did not know that this book existed. I had heard many accolades for Push – so if I do decide to read this one – I’ll start with Precious story first.

    I heard the style of the first one is quite stark so it seems to be with her follow up book.

  37. August 3, 2011 9:23 pm

    Oh, I don’t know if this is going to be one for me. I’m not necessarily opposed to gritty or graphic but this sounds a bit too graphic.

  38. August 4, 2011 8:44 am

    Thank you for reading and reviewing this book – I couldn’t do it. There are certain books that are dark and gritty, and it’s worth the read just because of how emotionally powerful it is…but I had to pass on this one. Too rough. I’m wimpy.

  39. August 4, 2011 3:24 pm

    I don’t think this one is for me at all. I don’t mind books that are dark or to hard to read but this one sounds like it might be too much.

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