Sapphire's “Push” Sequel ("The Kid") In Stores Today! Movie Adaptation Coming?

by Tambay A. Obenson
July 5, 2011 2:16 AM
18 Comments
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As reported last fall, Sapphire sold a sequel of sorts to her first novel, Push, titled The Kid, to Penguin Press, scheduled to be published this summer. Its official release date was set for July 5th 2011.

And guess what? Today is July 5th 2011. Boy how time flies... :)

In celebration of the books release, the author has begun traveling the book-signing/talk circuit, starting tonight, at the Barnes & Noble in Union Square, in New York City, where she will be interviewed by journalist Katherine Lanpher, and will read from the novel.

The question that’s probably on your mind right now, as you read this, is whether The Kid will see a film adaptation as Push did. I'd be surprised if it hasn’t already been optioned!! Though I have no info to support that.

As a refresher... this second novel, titled, The Kid, will focus on Claireece “Precious” Jones’ son, “as he approaches manhood – alone, brutalized and with the soul of an artist,” said the press release at the time.

Further, in a later interview posted on the Pittsburgh City Paper's website, the author added: "... we look at a character [Precious's son]... a more flawed human being and we are drawn into his universe. We meet him at the age of 9 and we leave him at 19. I really wanted to show some of the challenges... that African-American boys are facing in the culture today."

As you already know, in Push, the son mentioned in the above brief synopsis is Precious’ second child, the result of being raped by her father. We learn in the end that Precious is HIV positive, but, luckily, her son isn’t, though Sapphire leaves the fate of Precious and her children uncertain.

Curious as to whether she wrote The Kid in the same first-person, harrowing style as she did with Push.

You can order your hardcover now HERE if you'd like.

If anyone has already read it (maybe you received a preview copy, or you bought it today and have already gone through it, or at least gotten into the thick of it), thoughts?

Here's the full synopsis:

Fifteen years after the publication of Push, one year after the Academy Award-winning film adaptation, Sapphire gives voice to Precious's son, Abdul.

In The Kid bestselling author Sapphire tells the electrifying story of Abdul Jones, the son of Push's unforgettable heroine, Precious.

A story of body and spirit, rooted in the hungers of flesh and of the soul, The Kid brings us deep into the interior life of Abdul Jones. We meet him at age nine, on the day of his mother's funeral. Left alone to navigate a world in which love and hate sometimes hideously masquerade, forced to confront unspeakable violence, his history, and the dark corners of his own heart, Abdul claws his way toward adulthood and toward an identity he can stand behind.

In a generational story that moves with the speed of thought from a Mississippi dirt farm to Harlem in its heyday; from a troubled Catholic orphanage to downtown artist's lofts, The Kid tells of a twenty- first-century young man's fight to find a way toward the future. A testament to the ferocity of the human spirit and the deep nourishing power of love and of art, The Kid chronicles a young man about to take flight. In the intimate, terrifying, and deeply alive story of Abdul's journey, we are witness to an artist's birth by fire.

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18 Comments

  • Lynn | July 6, 2011 11:47 AMReply

    @ CareyCarey

    Why do act like you know everything? I think you could learn a thing or two from us "young folks" just because you claim you are older than us doesn't make you any wiser about certain things.

    My comment about "gangster theme" films was not incorrect by the way the majority of films from the past were Italian gangster films. Long before New Jack City and blaxploitation films a lot of the films were European-whites playing gangsters. Also, about the whole Ty;er Perry situation Tyler Perry is often talked about but nobody actually complains about his film making and categorizes it as "psychological cases" , "black pathology" etc.

    Yes. we talk about Spike Lee at times dropping his insensitive rants once in a while. But do we actually take the time and express our disinterest not often. All I am saying is this post kind of surprised me "Precious" was a very sad movie and I can see why people have a lot to say about Saphire's novel "The Kid" nobody wants to see a "psychological case" on the big screen.

    Oh, and by the way I read "The Coldest Winter" I don't know why you think you know more because you are old?

  • CareyCarey | July 6, 2011 9:01 AMReply

    @ Sonofbaldwin, yeah riiight. But let me see... A debate devolved into "“F*ck you for not seeing the world as I do!”

    Well, minus the words "fuck you" I believe that's basically what debates are all about... we don't see eye to eye. And if you believe I insulted you or anyone else, I have to say you were insulting the intelligence of many, and continue to do so. But tell me, aside from my "insults" can you see the hypocrisy in your words.

    When things are not going as you desire i.e., debates, types of movies (Precious) and themes of said movies, you cry foul. Yet when someone calls you out, it's a debate dissolving into "fuck you". Yeah riiiight.

    I pointed out the fact that you are a gay man, not to insult you (why would I do that). I mentioned it because you were implying that movies with harsh and gritty themes such as Precious, are like a plague upon the black community. Yet, some might have the same feelings toward homosexuals. Would you not want all of your stories told?

  • sonofbaldwin | July 6, 2011 6:23 AMReply

    See, this is why I have to remind myself not to get into Internet debates. What started out as a pretty civil discussion has devolved into what is basically: "F*ck you for not seeing the world as I do!"

    Aiight. You win, CareyCarey. I'd give you a prize but I don't know the appropriate gift for winning an Internet comments section debate through insults.

    : )

  • CareyCarey | July 6, 2011 3:57 AMReply

    artbizzy, me think "old school fool" will suffice. lol

    I say that from a position of someone who has fallen down (several times) and learned a few things along the way. But listen, I loved your earlier comments because I saw critical thinking. On the other hand, I wasn't trying to denigrate Lynn's comment, but me think she's very young. I came to that conclusion based on her lack of knowledge of gangster flicks, and her analysis of Tyler Perry's movies. They didn't have the flavor of someone that has been around/lived a little.

    But er'rah, since we're talking, what did you think about my comments to sonofbaldwin?

    and btw, I might just read "“The Kid.”, as I have read Push, Sistah souljah's The Coldest Winter Ever and Midnight: A gangster Love Story. Have you ever heard of Nichelle D Tramble? She wrote a book titled The Dying Ground. Anyway, you're right, an old fool is never to old to learn.

  • CareyCarey | July 6, 2011 2:55 AMReply

    "I don’t know why you think you know more because you are old?"

    See Lynn, that statement alone tells me that your young. The optimum word is "more". Also, "young" speaks volumes.

    More of what? The more experiences one has in life, the more he or she will "know". For the most part, human behavior is a learned behavior. Consequently, it's reasonable to believe that a person who is young of age has simply not lived long enough to experience all the joys, pitfalls, Pitfalls, do’s and don’t do’s of life. Knowledge is gained by “going through”/experience. If one has experienced one job, one occupation (or 2), lived in one state, has never lived in other countries, has never raised children, has not had the opportunity to interact with a diverse group of social and economic individuals ( the good, the bad, the rich the poor, and the horribly wrong, for extended periods), has experienced only one great love affair or none, has never faced death, etc, it’s reasonable to believe that a person who has experienced all of the above, might know a little “more” about those situation than one who has not.

    Young is not always related to age.

    Now I am sure you’ll come back with a big “YEAH BUT”... but the truth can not be denied. You’re young on “experience”, young of age, and have not learned the value of qualifying your words. After you’ve lived a little, you might know when to hold them and when to fold them. You might also learn the value of saying “I don’t know”... “I was wrong” ... “I am sorry” .... “I love you”.

    In short, there are many subjects/issues I know little or nothing about and I am sure you can, or should say the same.

  • artbizzy | July 6, 2011 2:01 AMReply

    wow, CareyCarey, or Pops, if you prefer, it's old hat to denigrate someone's comment by saying they are obviously very young, lol. This is why we need books like, "The Kid." to educate you grown folks.

  • CareyCarey | July 6, 2011 1:35 AMReply

    "In a generational story that moves with the speed of thought from a Mississippi dirt farm to Harlem in its heyday; from a troubled Catholic orphanage to downtown artist’s lofts, The Kid tells of a twenty- first-century young man’s fight to find a way toward the future. A testament to the ferocity of the human spirit and the deep nourishing power of love and of art, The Kid chronicles a young man about to take flight. In the intimate, terrifying, and deeply alive story of Abdul’s journey, we are witness to an artist’s birth by fire"


    @ Lynn, I am going to charge you comment to the game and the fact that you're obviously very young.

    "past and present films with gangsters and whatnot most of them are people of Italian heritage depicted in a negative light"

    That's not true.

    "But do we criticize coonery-buffoonery Tyler Perry flicks and his Madea films and categorize them?? Tyler Perry films portray Black man as dogs and good-for-nothing-lazy-ass men who abuse their wives"

    Well, do we? Hell yes we do, and again your words are woefully untrue. I mean, is that what you recieve from all Tyler Perry films?

    "we don’t allow ourselves to grow and our image becomes one-dimensional and predictable on screen.

    "That’s why I think it is so important to preserve the image and legacy of Blacks in film stop all the non-sense that is being portrayed on television/film where many of us are; hoodlums, drug dealers, crackheads, abusive, angry and just overall pathetic. We need to create better portrayals of ourselves by taking control “our” own image"


    Excuse me Lynn, but which way did you go?! Preserve the images and legacy??? take control of our own image???

    I mean, did you enjoy Precious and do you believe there's a place for movies like The Kid and Tyler Perry Films? You gotta get off the fence. and read the synopsis one more time.

  • sandra | July 6, 2011 1:10 AMReply

    I SEE THE STORY OF PRECIOUS AS A CALL TO ACTION, NOT AS ENTERTAINMENT.

    I understand both sides of the debate. I believe that black voices should reflect ALL aspects of black life and beyond. I don't believe in limits on our creativity. On a filmmaking level, it appears to be an easier sell for black stories that contain pain, suffering and ghetto life. THAT IS THE PROBLEM. WE ARE ENCOURAGED TO PORTRAY ASPECTS OF OUR LIVES THAT MATCH MAINSTREAM NEGATIVE PERSPECTIVES. Hear me out, I'm not stating this to say that I seek approval from anyone. I'm simply stating that although we've been living in America for centuries, we are still considered aliens. I have white female colleagues who still touch my hair like I'm from a different planet. My neighbor just asked me (as I was working out outside) if my skin ever burns in the sun. She was confused that I needed sunblock cream. I got a good chuckle out her question. The image of me as a superheroine fighting off uv rays and balls of fire came to mind.

    Overheard (white male colleague) in staff lounge at work while a rerun of the Cosby Show was playing and a bunch of colleagues of various ethnic backgrounds were chilling around the tv: "This show was so unrealistic. The dad's an obstetrician and the mom's a lawyer. Give me a break." I'm pretty sure this same dude didn't have a problem with practically every castmember on Friends spending most of their time sipping coffee at the corner coffe shop or hanging out at each other's apts - occupying jobs like waitress, aspiring actor and occasional caterer, corner cafe singer while living in fully furnished Manhattan apts of over 2000 sq ft with balconies, enjoying the nightlife in their fashionable clothes.

    The true fight, as I see it, is not to supress "torture porn" or gritty depictions. Freedom of speech is crucial. Full spectrum, balanced portrayal of black life is what I'm after. Back to Precious, knowing that such people are living these horrendous lives make me want to be more involved and volunteer. No one should have to go through what Precious went through, regardless of race.

  • ifonly | July 5, 2011 11:19 AMReply

    I think black people need to lighten up and stop fighting each other over silly movies. White people have made 100's of movies portraying white men as gangster's, lazy drunken abusers, pedophiles, rapist and other horrible creatures, but when it comes to blacks being portrayed in a negative light it becomes an issue..Stop giving the white people power over you by feeding into "oh that's how they all act". Tyler Perry's movies are fun and entertaining, if you don't like them, don't watch them but leave the man alone and let him make his money.

  • Lynn | July 5, 2011 11:00 AMReply

    I understand what most of you have to say and many of you make some really strong points. I must say that the themes many of you mentioned have been in cinema for centuries and it is not just a "black thing" in Hollywood. If you take a look at many past and present films with gangsters and whatnot most of them are people of Italian heritage depicted in a negative light.

    I understand that a film like Precious would be heavily criticize for it's gritty, raw sad portrayal of a obese African-American teenager who has to deal with many obstacles in her life school, her abusive mother, being infected with HIV and her children that she is struggling to raise in a world that she views as hopeless.

    But do we criticize coonery-buffoonery Tyler Perry flicks and his Madea films and categorize them?? Tyler Perry films portray Black man as dogs and good-for-nothing-lazy-ass men who abuse their wives. Ex. Why Did I Get Married, Diary of a Mad Black Woman, I Can Do Bad By Myself, Madea's Family Reunion. The List Goes On...

    I know this commenting post is NOT about Tyler Perry but I just wanted to make a point. I think as people we put ourselves in a "box" and we don't allow ourselves to grow and our image becomes one-dimensional and predictable on screen.

    That's why I think it is so important to preserve the image and legacy of Blacks in film and stop all the non-sense that is being portrayed on television/film where many of us are; hoodlums, drug dealers, crackheads, abusive, angry and just overall pathetic.

    We need to create better portrayals of ourselves by taking control "our" own image.

  • CareyCarey | July 5, 2011 8:35 AMReply

    "Barbara Bush had a party for her friends and showed them PRECIOUS to confirm her points of view regarding the black community. I don’t know, but I find that rather disturbing"

    WTF!!!?

    And please excuse me, I've said this before but did I miss the memo? When did the mystical "ambiguous" other folks (white folks) ever love us? I mean, did I miss the call that said we've been loved for the last 200 years? If there was no such doctrine, then why (NOW?) are some folks concerned with how a movie (one movie) projects a black face, or highlights real issues within our community? Who gives a fat fu*ck about what a dried up white woman thinks?

    Come on, if a person gets their core knowledge from a damn movie and uses that "limited" knowledge to draw a conclusion based solely from that source, THAT person is an idiot!

    Listen, I sure am glad Tamara voiced a nice and neat counterpoint to SonofBaldwins nonsense. But I have to put a little hot sauce on it. If not nonsense, it’s a very hypocritical view. I mean, since sonofbalwin is a gay black man, I can safely assume he would champion a movie that focused on issues - the good, the bad, and the ugly - of a black gay man living in America. However, everyone does not want to hear that story. That story, like Precious, wouldn’t be complete without showing all the elements of living within that predicament which could be classified as deployable behavion - by many.

    The movie Precious would not have been complete if we did not see who inspired/influenced the daughter’s (Precious's)walk in life. I like to view it as “what tree did that fruit fall from?”

    Wasn’t Monique the epitome of every abusive mother in the world? She captured my vision of the quintessential angry, hostile, vicious, manipulative, cunning and insecure women. She took me there. Mo `nique (Mary Jones) did what her mother told her. She pointed a finger at Precious and said, "It’s this bitches fault, she made [my man] leave. She let him have her. She made him leave, who else is gonna love me!?".

    That damn Lee Daniels and Tyler Perry, they're always throwing that mess in our face, right? Wrong, the mess was already in our face, some folks just don't want to look at it. Who's cheering for one of E Lynn Harris's books to be made into a movie? Gays, anti-gay advocates? What part of the story should be left out? What will Barbara Bush do?

    Look, movie’s inspire conversation and discussions on issues in the black community that have lived on Hush Avenue and Don’t Talk About row.

    Check this, it’s 1966. “One of the inalienable rights is the right of pursuit of happiness,” Yerby says. In this anthology the themes of many of the stories concern the search for that right and how negroes may work out the problems of their lives in order to find a modicum of happiness in America. There are drama, comedy and tragedy to be found in this fiction -- so near to fact-- as put down by the best of negro writers since 1887. <> Black faces seldom sell in Hollywood < > Hollywood has never made a major motion picture which portrayed with sympathy our foremost American dilemma - jam backed with drama - the Negros problems. So far as I know, exciting though many of these tales in this anthology are, only one has been filmed by Hollywood: Mary Elizabeth Vroman’s charming “See How They Run”. ~ Langston Hughes’s introduction in The Best Short Stories by Negro Writers.

    There are many messages, words of wisdom and real stories within the movie Precious, i.e., incest, rape, hope, inspration, triumph, who to ask for help, how to cope with pain, role models, etc, and I hope the same will be said about The Kid.

    I believe a person gets what they are looking for. If mess is on their mind, there will always be a place to drop their hate.

  • Tamara | July 5, 2011 6:48 AMReply

    And I don’t think writing a book is ever easy...

    @ artbizzy, I didn't read all of your comment until after I posted my first one below. But THIS, all day every day, 'poverty porn' or not, writing ain't easy. I agree.

  • Tamara | July 5, 2011 6:46 AMReply

    PUSH vs PRECIOUS nuance in context has everything to do with the format in which each is delivered. Reaction to a story, any story chock full of Black pathology or no will elicit different reactions depending on the medium. BELOVED the novel called forth emotion in me far more than BELOVED the movie. Black pathology? Psychological case studies? Poverty porn?

    Perhaps these type features should be exhibited in more a documentary format. Or perhaps 'they' should 'let fiction reign'.

    This is not the only theme in which our work is being presented. The spectrum is out there, from big-time blockbuster to small indie to documentary to web series to straight-to-dvd to movies, television, comedy, drama, romance, come-to-Jesus, etc. It's just currently heavy-handed, tilted to one side more than the other---not as balanced as we would like.

    I'll have to check out Percival Everett's book. Thanks for the rec.

    This 'poverty porn' term is giving me great pause...

    Is it only Blacks with the 'poverty porn'? Or is there White, Latino, etc. 'poverty porn' in both literature and film? Let me Google this...

  • eshowoman, the cranky film critic | July 5, 2011 6:40 AMReply

    Black pathology sells.

  • sonofbaldwin | July 5, 2011 3:46 AMReply

    PUSH, I must admit, had a certain nuance and context that PRECIOUS most certainly did not. I never felt like PUSH was a treatise on why the author hates black people, whereas I felt that PRECIOUS' loathing of blackness was inescapable (Do a web search for "THE NERVE OF PRECIOUS" and "Son of Baldwin" for my review).

    Still, it bothers me that as artists, we're super-concerned with black pathology; that black fictional characters simply cannot have broad lives; that fictional black life is so one dimensional; that black fictional life is so often defined by pathological concerns and viewed through a pathological lens; that when we write books like these or create films like these, white people are all too anxious to say: "See? I told you they were savages. Now do you see why they're not worthy of being equal and why their complaints against us have no merit? They are monsters by their own admission."

    Barbara Bush had a party for her friends and showed them PRECIOUS to confirm her points of view regarding the black community. I don't know, but I find that rather disturbing.

    In any event, Ava DuVernay's I WILL FOLLOW and upcoming MIDDLE OF NOWHERE films manage to present black people as human beings, rather than psychological case studies. I don't know that I can say that about Lee Daniels or a host of other black filmmakers. Toni Morrison's fictional characters are quirky, bizarre, and brilliant--even when they fall down. I don't know if I can say that about Sapphire and a host of other writers.

    Given the choice between black fictional life as complex and black fictional life as fodder for someone's mental health counseling dissertation, I'm inclined to support the former.

  • Cherish | July 5, 2011 3:21 AMReply

    I don't think it's fair to just label this story as "poverty porn." The author has worked as a teacher in Harlem, I think she as a case worker, or at least volunteer in this community, and has encountered many "Preciouses" out there. Their story deserves to be told like anyone else.

    I admit that I do have issues with making books likes these into a movie. Books and movies are very different platforms (correct word?) and I still don't think Precious should have been made into a movie, as powerful as the performance as Sidibe and Monique gave. Hmm, maybe this where the word "porn" comes into play.

    If this is made into a movie, I hope Lee Daniels isn't chosen as a director. He relies on too many old stereotypes (light skin vs. dark skin., etc.) in his characters and writing.

  • artbizzy | July 5, 2011 3:15 AMReply

    @sonofbaldwin

    Sapphire is in a completely different head space than what Everett was profiling in his book, Erasure. Have you read her book of poems, "American Dreams" ? She's got something to get off her chest, things many of us bury or deny or dare I say, embarrass us. I read "Push" years ago and it was markedly different than the poverty porn you are referring to simply because Sapphire is a poet. She is concerned with voice and creating characters with dimension. Now, I did not see the movie, "Precious" so that might be an altogether different thing. Anyway, Is it possible for a black writer to write about very real problems in our communities without it being automatically judged as poverty porn? I enjoyed Erasure but some of this Black literary fiction versus black ghetto fiction debate is an unfortunate class issue. The truth is we need these stories that show more nuance to our experiences although the experiences may be harsh or even tragic. Much more could be said about the poverty/gangster/softcore porn of music videos. But most of us just turn a blind eye and bob our heads to the beat. But let a sista write a book about a poor black kid...? And I don't think writing a book is ever easy for the most part. And the events that may have led a person to write that book, poverty porn or not, were probably much harder to deal with than the book they've chosen to write.

  • sonofbaldwin | July 5, 2011 2:43 AMReply

    Didn't Percival Everett already write the sequel to PUSH in his novel ERASURE?

    If you haven't read it, you must: The protagonist writes the sequel to PUSH (called first MA PAFOLOGY, then F*CK) as a joke to prove how horrible and easy it is to write poverty porn, and it winds up winning a Pulitzer. SCATHING criticism/satire from Everett.

    In any event, THE KID sounds PRECISELY like the satire Everett wrote years ago....

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