A Novel

Book - 1997
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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.
Publisher: New York : Vintage Contemporaries/Vintage Books, 1997
Edition: 1st Vintage Contemporaries ed
ISBN: 9780679766759
Branch Call Number: F SAP
Characteristics: 139, [38] p. ; 21 cm


From the critics

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Jun 15, 2019

I couldn't put this book down. I experienced a range of emotions. I was sad, tearful and happy at various times while reading. My heart bled for the woman-child that she had to experience so much in her young life. This was a great read for a mature audience.

OPL_DavidD Nov 14, 2018

A bleak story that tackles some heavy subject matter. The voice of the first person narration gives you a feel for the character and builds a lot of empathy for a narrator in a tragic situation.

Mar 03, 2015

Feb 2015......I sped through this book in a day and a bit, not something that I'm known for, so that says a lot. Looking forward to the movie. I'd like to know what the inspiration for this book was....I certainly hope it wasn't personal experience by Sapphire......brutal!.........Update Mar 1 2015....I watched the interviews on the special features of the movie, and Sapphire was a teacher, and the book is a .......concoction?..... of true life events of some of her students. Wow.....and so sad. As for those of you who were 'shocked' by this book.....just be thankful for that!

Nov 10, 2014

@Esui Annie on my mind had no profanity or explicit scenes AT ALL

K_ROK Jun 26, 2014

Great story and I loved how the language changes throughout the book to coincide with Precious getting an education. This story is real, raw and captivating. If you have a weak stomach and cannot deal with real trivial matters concerning rape, abuse, incest or profanity then this book is not for you. People who think this book is 'not appropriate' should know that there is no way to sugar coat the events that happen in the book. What happens in the book needs to be told truthfully and without censorship. If you cannot handle it then move on.

Apr 18, 2014

Did not like the writing style. Could have been written better.


I am reading some of the comments and can't believe that they're written by adults who are supposed to be mature. Of course it is graphic. It talk about a teenager who been raped by her father. How can you sugar coat that. But you are missing the big picture. Yes, she was raped and had a "crazy" mother who mistreated her. She wanted an EDUCATION. She "PUSHED" herself. She wanted what was best for herself and children. This book was probably listed for teens because maybe there's some teen going through the same dilema and if you haven't noticed that the main character happens to be um ..... gee.... i don't know A Teenager!!!!

Nov 02, 2013

This is surely one of the most touching, raw, poetic, hopeful and the list could go on... novels that I have had the pleasure to read. It has its graphic moments, I can't argue there, but that was this young women's reality put artistically into perspective. This book also allowed myself to think about my own priveledges. The only warning that I have for this book is that the reader is in for their own reality check. This is an amazing book.

jerrycherry7 Oct 15, 2013

such a sad book

Jul 29, 2013

This book was so depressing and disturbing, yet I could not put it down. I certainly would not advise this book for young, or even late, teens. It is extremely graphic to the point of churning the stomach. I was in tears at parts just imagining the life the poor child was living.
This book was also very touching in the hope and inspiration of Precious despite what she had been through. It is a great message to send for anyone that has been a victim of abuse at a young age.

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Mee2 Sep 02, 2012

My clit swell up I think daddy. ...pump my pussy in out in out in out awww I come. ...[my daddy] start sucking my tittie.

Mee2 Sep 02, 2012

...am choking between [mom’s] legs A HUH HUH. She is smelling big woman smell. She say suck it, lick me... her hand like a mountain pushing my head down.

Mee2 Sep 02, 2012

Crackers is the cause of everything bad. It why my father act like he do... So [my father] fuck me, fuck me, beat me...

Mee2 Sep 02, 2012

Nigger, how you gonna marry me when you is my daddy... fucking me is illegal. But she kept her mouth shut so’s the fuckin’ don’t turn into a beating. It start to feel good... [she] start coming...

Mee2 Sep 02, 2012

...felt her mother’s hand between her thighs... felt her mother’s... fingers... knew by the smell in the room her mother’s hand was between her own legs...

Mee2 Sep 02, 2012

...knowing a man can put his dick in you , gush white stuff in your booty you could get pregnant. I’m 12 now, I been knowing about that since I was 5 or 6... always known about pussy and dick.”

tt14 Jul 26, 2012

I...... the pages look alike to me.” Ms. Rain says, “I think I understand you, Precious. But for now, I want you to try, push yourself Precious, go for it” (Sapphire 54).

tt14 Jun 18, 2012

I was raped by father, And beat...Mama push me down in her...”

SAPPHIREBEAR15 Jun 12, 2012

Clareece 'Precious' Jones: Please don't lie to me, Ms. Rain! Love ain't done nothing for me... but beat me... rape me... call me an animal! Make me feel worthless! Make me sick!

SAPPHIREBEAR15 Jun 12, 2012

Ms. Rain: People do love you, Precious.

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Add Age Suitability
K_ROK Jun 26, 2014

K_ROK thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

Jul 29, 2013

AChamp thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over

Mar 28, 2013

danni7514 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 17 and 60

DebAK Oct 01, 2012

DebAK thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over

susienor Sep 14, 2012

susienor thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over

Jul 09, 2012

CheCheLovee thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

Mee2 Jul 05, 2012

Mee2 thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over

EuSei Apr 18, 2012

EuSei thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over

GamerChick2yrold Aug 20, 2011

GamerChick2yrold thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 14 and 35

Jun 23, 2011

feia thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

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Add Notices
Mee2 Sep 02, 2012

Sexual Content: Incest

EuSei Jan 30, 2012

Sexual Content: An adult man has sexual relations with a child; a mother forces her daughter to give her oral sex.

EuSei Jan 30, 2012

Coarse Language: Lots and lots of it.

GamerChick2yrold Aug 20, 2011

Coarse Language: The language to the main character is severely abusive.

GamerChick2yrold Aug 20, 2011

Sexual Content: Graphic detail of the sexual abuse of the main character

GamerChick2yrold Aug 20, 2011

Violence: Graphic detail of the sexual abuse of the main character


Add a Summary
SAPPHIREBEAR15 Jun 12, 2012

The school has decided to send her to an alternative school because she is pregnant. Precious is furious, but the counselor later visits Precious's home and convinces her to enter an alternative school called Each One Teach One. Despite her mother's insistence that she apply for welfare, Precious enrolls in the school. She meets her teacher, Ms. Blue Rain, and fellow students Rhonda, Jermaine, Rita, Jo Ann, and Consuelo. All of the girls come from troubled backgrounds. Ms. Rain's class is a pre-GED class for young women who are below an eighth-grade level in reading and writing and therefore are unprepared for high school-level courses. They start off by learning the basics of phonics and vocabulary building. Despite their academic and personal deficits, Ms. Rain strives to ignite a passion in her students for literature and writing. She believes that the only way to learn to write is to write every day. Each girl is required to keep a journal. Ms. Rain reads their entries and provides feedback and advice. By the time the novel ends, the women have created an anthology of autobiographical short stories called "LIFE STORIES – Our Class Book" appended to the book. The works of classic African-American writers like Audre Lorde, Alice Walker and Langston Hughes are inspirational for the students. Precious is particularly moved by The Color Purple.

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