Picture of author.

Sapphire (1) (1950–)

Author of Push

For other authors named Sapphire, see the disambiguation page.

6+ Works 4,074 Members 172 Reviews 6 Favorited

About the Author

Sapphire was born Ramona Lofton in Fort Ord, California on August 4, 1950. She attended City College of New York and received her master's degree at Brooklyn College. Before starting her writing career, she worked as a performance artist and a teacher of reading and writing. Her works include the show more poetry collection American Dreams and the novel Push, which won the Book-of-the-Month Club Stephen Crane award for First Fiction, the Black Caucus of the American Library Association's First Novelist Award, and the Mind Book of the Year Award in Great Britain. Precious, the film adaption of her novel Push, won the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Awards in the U.S. dramatic competition at Sundance (2009). Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, The New York Times Book Review, The Black Scholar, Spin, and Bomb. In 2009, she was the recipient of a Fellow Award in Literature from United States Artists. (Bowker Author Biography) show less
Image credit: By Ryan from Canada - Saphire, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7805009


Works by Sapphire

Push (1997) 3,586 copies
The Kid (2011) 266 copies
American Dreams (1994) 132 copies

Associated Works

The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry (1999) — Contributor — 584 copies
Angry Women (1991) — Contributor — 357 copies
Afrekete: An Anthology of Black Lesbian Writing (1995) — Contributor — 140 copies
Life Notes: Personal Writings by Contemporary Black Women (1994) — Contributor — 78 copies
Rotten English: A Literary Anthology (2007) — Contributor — 72 copies
Sisterfire: Black Womanist Fiction and Poetry (1994) — Contributor — 45 copies
Skin Deep: Women Writing on Color, Culture, and Identity (1994) — Contributor — 37 copies


2010 (28) abuse (123) African American (157) African Americans (26) AIDS (28) American (22) American literature (27) anthology (130) art (22) child abuse (63) coming of age (48) education (44) essays (23) feminism (77) fiction (444) gender (22) Harlem (52) illiteracy (36) incest (104) lesbian (49) literacy (31) literature (36) New York (36) non-fiction (43) novel (58) own (24) poetry (257) poverty (69) queer (24) race (33) rape (67) read (52) realistic fiction (21) sapphire (25) sexual abuse (37) short stories (36) teen pregnancy (47) to-read (226) USA (24) women (54)

Common Knowledge



Digital audiobook narrated by the author

I’ve wanted to read this ever since the Oscars ceremony that highlighted the film (which I have yet to see).

Precious Jones is a young pregnant black teenager, who is functionally illiterate and the product of an abusive home. But Precious has a fierce determination to care for the baby growing inside her and to better her life. She WILL learn to read. She WILL keep her baby. She WILL succeed.

The issues raised are horrific and difficult to read about and process. Brava to Sapphire for highlighting the plight of young people such as her protagonist. The writing is raw and brutal; the story is gripping and inspiring. My heart broke for Precious, even as I cheered her on.

I did have a copy of the text handy, as I typically do for audiobooks. But I didn’t look at it until I had finished listening. On opening that first page I am struck by the author’s use of vernacular dialect, and the kind of misspellings a person like Precious would resort to in writing her own story. I’m reminded of Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, and how listening to the audio of that work made it easier to absorb the story.

The author narrates the audiobook herself, and I cannot imagine that anyone else would have done a better job.
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BookConcierge | 154 other reviews | Oct 26, 2023 |
I didn't really want to read this book; however our f2f book-club wanted to. I could tell from the previews of the movie that this wasn't going to be an easy read as far as the topics. It was an easy ready as far as it was quick not very long. The subject is intense... but the character is interesting Precious becomes more herself as she learns to read and write. She has a voice and she eventually learns to use it.
lkubed | 154 other reviews | Oct 8, 2022 |
Despite all the horrific things that happen to the main character in this story, I always felt a thread of hope because Precious was so determined and resilient, so open to learning, and always fighting against her situation. I really came to like Precious and wanted to read more of her story. Unfortunately, the book goes far too fast, skipping over months, and giving us little more than the circumstances Precious was living in. I would have liked the author to expand on Precious's experiences at the alternative school, her interactions with Ms Rain and her classmates, how did she cope with her troubling home life, and what happened afterwards.… (more)
serru | 154 other reviews | Oct 6, 2022 |

Just like his father/grandfather and his great grandfather, Abdul becomes a rapist but constantly denies he is anything but a great kid. I like that Sapphire shed a light on his great grandmother because we can see that the system failed that entire family. Here is a mini flow chart:


Tootsie Johnston - Originally from the south and was abandoned by her mother. Was raped at the age of 9/10 and gave birth to Mary. Not loving towards Mary in anyway and even tried to kill her once. Named her Mary after her aunt or mother I forgot but didn't want to name her Mary. Was a prostitute for some time.

Mary L. Johnston - Not much is known about her past. Died weighing close to 500 lbs, a product of rape, raped her own daughter, and allowed her boyfriend to rape her child.

Claireece Precious Jones - Has two children with her father, who began to rape her at a young age. Her mother ignores the abuse and eventually begins to abuse her as well. Despite all of her hurdles she was able to get her GED and get herself into college.

Abdul Jamal Louis Jones - Pathological liar, the product of rape, a smart man, prone to being nasty, closed off, can dance well, becomes a predator.


This novel was trash, just torture porn honestly. I couldn't identify with Abdul. If you're going to abuse people don't deny it once its one. The writing was well because Sapphire is an excellent writer but Abdul was such a weak man (IRONIC BECAUSE HIS MOTHER WANTED TO NAME HIM AFTER STRONG MEN). What a sick book, Push didn't have a happy ending but at least Precious is trying to overcome and better herself. What is Abdul doing? Raping children and saying hes a great person. I honestly wish I never spent money on this book.
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Koralis | 11 other reviews | Jul 12, 2022 |



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