I read to put myself to sleep at night but Push (Knopf) by Sapphire had no soporific effect. Long after I turned out the light and rolled over on my side to sleep, I thought about Claireece Precious Jones, the hero of this bright red book. Everybody calls her Precious—“only motherfuckers I hate call me Claireece”—and she is a powerful young woman. At sixteen she is pregnant, by her father, for the second time. She is illiterate, abused and confused. But from somewhere she finds the strength to drag herself slowly out of the mire. In the first chapter a narrator fills us in on how Precious got this far, but from there on we are left in the hands of Precious alone. She carries us with her as she finds her way to an alternative school and finally begins to read—and write. Now she is able to tell her own story in diary, excerpts and poems that show us the process of her emerging literacy. But it is the strength and honesty with which Precious reveals herself and her life that kept her running back and forth through my head when I should have been sleeping.