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the observer Sun 17 January 2010
Recently adapted for film, Precious is the fictional diary of Claireece Precious Jones. Obese, illiterate and sexually abused by both her parents, Precious gives birth, aged 12, to a "Down sinder" daughter, and is expelled from school when her second incestuous pregnancy is discovered. Sapphire is unflinching in her exploration of ignorance and deprivation yet Precious's painful progress is leavened by moments of searing innocence and instinctual tenderness, and gradually her stunted prose begins to vibrate with energy and warmth. However, Precious's emotional integrity is threatened by an increasingly insistent ideological subtext: Alice Walker's The Color Purple is a looming presence and ultimately risks making Precious appear a heavy-handed social critique.