A sixteen-year old girl struggles with being childhood sexual abuse from both parents that has spanned her entire life. Precious is a sixteen-year old teen who is abused psychologically and sexually by her parents. Her mother has allowed Precious' father to molest her from the time she was a baby. Her mother starts abusing her when she is a young girl as well. Her mother is mentally ill and very angry and takes it out on Precious. At 12, Precious has a baby as a result of being repeatedly raped by her father. The baby girl is sent to live with Precious' grandmother who is scared of her daughter. It isn't explained what the grandmother's issues are but it is clear, she and Preicious' mother have a very dysfunctional relationship.
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Precious' mother is angry that Precious had a baby by her man and comes down on Precious even harder. When Precious gets pregnant by her father a second time at 16, she is illiterate and suffering with so much inner pain that a teacher takes notice. Ms. Rain, isn't an extraordinary woman and will become the link to help that Precious needs to gain the self-confidence needed to change her life situation. Ms. Rain, offers up the opportunity to learn to read and understand. Poetry becomes the vehicle through which Precious will begin to find and use her voice.
Social Worker (Ms.Weiss) tries to help Precious, but needs her to admit that the child she has and her current pregnancy resulted from sexual abuse by her parents.
Precious is scared to admit any such thing to authorities, knowing that her deranged and violent mother will kill her for telling her truth. Precious is physically beaten by her mother, forced to prepare endless meals, and is emotionally and verbally abused on a daily basis.
At school, she is bullied for being overweight (a result of poor diet) and an attempt to hide whatever her father finds physically/sexually attractive about her that leads to lack of parental boundaries and endless sexual abuse.
When Precious' mom throws a television down the steps aimed at her head and hits her mark, Precious runs away. Only then is Ms. Rain is able to get Precious to speak up about her abuse with Ms. Weiss. Her mother is called in to Social Services and only goes because if she doesn't she will lose the benefits that keep her fed and the money that is supposed to go to Precious will be gone.
Precious gets the help she needs to express her self and she becomes determined to pass the general equivalency examination, which she has to qualify for by obtaining a reading level several grades above the 2.0 where she reads in Ms.Rain's class. Somewhere this woman/child pulls the energy needed to press forward. Her reading and writing improve and she is able to see a light and a future that shows her with her G.E.D. certificate and maybe getting into junior college. She learns that she is HIV positive and the news sends her spiraling down. Before she hits bottom her classmates and Ms. Rain encourage her to keeps pushing forward.
Precious wants her own apartment, a safe place to raise the boy child she is carrying. The system finally steps in and confronts her mother who admits to the abuse. She didn't see anything wrong with allowing her boyfriend to touch her infant baby when having sexual relations with Precious father.
Precious finds shelter and services at the Advancement House and her baby Abdul is not HIV positive. This gives Precious the hope she needs to keep faith that things will work out. She wants to reclaim her daughter who was stolen from her and placed with her grandmother.
Best part of story, including ending:
This was a hard book to take in emotionally. I didn't like it per se, but I am glad that Precious found the help she needed. No one should have to suffer that kind of life.
Best scene in story:
My favorite scene was Precious finding her way away from her abusive mother once a television set was thrown at her head. It was her wake up call that said, "If you stay here with Mama, you will die!"
Opinion about the main character:
I liked that Precious was able to hang on, even if it was by a thread and find a way out of every kind of abuse imaginable.Doing so saved her life.