[Image description: A book cover with a red background. Vertically and across it is entitled “Push” in bold, black type.]
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Relentless, remorseless, and inspirational, this “horrific, hope-filled story” (Newsday) is certain to haunt a generation of readers. Precious Jones, 16 years old and pregnant by her father with her second child, meets a determined and highly radical teacher who takes her on a journey of transformation and redemption.
[TW: Rape, incest, physical and verbal abuse]
What I’ve seen in most one-star reviews of Push is a visceral anger that the protagonist is raped. That she is beaten. That she acquires the AIDS virus. That her mother and father were the source of her abuse. That she becomes pregnant from incest, not once, but twice.
They become incensed that we are asked to be “raped” with Precious Jones. That we are forced to read her flash-backs. Experience her confused and damaged sexuality. That it is an enraging experience and how dare the author subject us to this.
And I think this reaction is based in the fact we are rarely asked to actually empathize with rape and abuse victims.