So. We all know that I have some serious procrastination issues. I had three book reviews to do this week (MY FAULT) and because my life is insane (also… my fault) and I think that procrastination is a skill, not a problem, I’m still reading The Kid by Sapphire for the TLC Book Tour. I’ve decided that my procrastination shall be your reward… or this will be really stupid and I’ll never do it again.
Basically, I’m going to live update this post with my thoughts and feelings on The Kid, sans spoilers. I’m sure I will have lots of opinions.
10:49 AM – Let’s begin! I’m already about 120 pages into the book and so far, wow. This is so difficult to read. You never really know what’s real and what’s happening, at least you’re never sure. Abdul or J.J., Precious’s son, is on his own after Precious dies of AIDS. He has been staying at a home for boys, but got kicked out because he abused a little boy. Abused children often become the abusers, I know that, but reading this was so incredibly infuriating and I can’t even describe it. This book is very graphic, be warned.
11:21 AM – One of the things I do like about The Kid is the way Sapphire is consistently and constantly reminding us that Abdul is an unreliable narrator. Is all of this really happening, or is he imagining it? It’s hard to tell what is real and what isn’t, what people actually say. It’s an interesting technique, but one that makes a slightly frustrating read. Now I’m going to take a break for lunch.
1:43 PM – I’m back from lunch! (It was far away.) Let the reading continue!
1:49 PM – I’m currently on pg 143. My favorite parts of this novel, so far, are when Abdul goes to dance class. When he is living at the school for young boys, they have free time on Saturdays. He chooses to take an African dance class. The narration really suits itself to describing dance, since it is so reliant on sounds, much like poetry. This is something I remember loving in Push.
3:35 PM – You really can’t read this book straight through. I’m on page 203 now, because I took a break to do something else. It’s hard to see the word through Abdul’s eyes for very long. The perspective shift that happens here, when Abdul’s great-grandmother is telling her story, is difficult to read.
4:20 PM – Pg. 250 – UGH. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.
5:00 PM – Pg. 295 – We just heard another characters horrible story. This is so painful to read. It just keeps getting worse and worse. I hope there’s something redeeming about this novel, something hopeful, because if not, I’m not sure what the point is.
5:49 PM – Finished the book. Wow. That was one of the most intense, disturbing and, quite honestly, awful reading experiences of my life. Sapphire is a brilliant writer, but I question the merits of this story. There is no hope, nothing beautiful about this story, except perhaps dance. And not even Abdul’s love of dance can save him. I’m going to take a few minutes to gather up my thoughts and put together a short review for the end of this post.
Final thoughts: Any novel by Sapphire is art, but there’s a certain fact that the entire plot of The Kid revolves around. I was having a conversation with Doret and she pointed out, and I have to agree, that she just doesn’t believe that Precious didn’t come up with any plans for Abdul for after he died. It just doesn’t make any sense, after everything Precious did to change her life. It was exhausting experiencing Abdul’s mind for over 350 pages and I think one of Push‘s strengths was its length. It was very short, but it packed an overwhelming emotional punch. The Kid was more like running a marathon, but I’m just not sure it worked. So many horrible things happened and Abdul was such a horrible narrator, it was hard to like this book. Does that mean I think it’s a bad book? No, it’s amazingly well-written. But I did not enjoy reading it and I can’t say I could ever recommend it.