The book takes stylistic risks, with Precious Jones narrating her own story in a phonetically realistic voice. She is poorly dressed and obese, the sort of person many of us pass on the street and never see. Therein lies the brilliance of the novel. Push puts Claireece Precious Jones and her harrowing life squarely in front of the reader.
If this was difficult and compelling to watch unfold on the page, the trailer for the movie Precious indicated it would be stunning on the screen as well. After much consideration, I decided to take my 12-year-old daughter to see Precious.
"I was really rooting for Precious," I said as we talked about the movie on the way home.
"Me too," said Jessie.
I was bowled over by Gabourey Sidibe's portrayal of Precious. If possible, she realized Sapphire's vision with near perfection--as someone who is so easy to dismiss, until you really see her. Then she is impossible not to embrace.
To be honest, I had some literary quibbles with the novel, but my respect for the risks it took overwhelmed them. The film has received raves as well as scathing criticism for being "a strange combination of liberal guilt and condescension," which is a point well taken.
I apologize that I cannot find the link now, but one of the reviews I read took issue with Precious's weight saying something to the effect of must she be so fat that her face is distorted? Then darling Howard Stern chimed in last week with his obnoxious comments about Sidibe.
I was infuriated by this stupidity. Don't these morons realize that the driving force of Precious is a main character who is the antithesis of Gwyneth Paltrow and Reese Witherspoon? Her physical size is symbolic. It's one of the reasons she will not be denied. Whether you're on the pick or pan side of the reviews, that ambition deserves respect.
As for Sidibe, I think you're beautiful, Gabourey. Now go bury the likes of Stern with a long and illustrious career.
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