Mariah Carey ‘Turned Right Back to the First Page’ of This Book When She Finished Reading It

Mariah Carey has dazzled fans for decades with her soaring vocals and electrifying stage and screen presence. She’s also an avid reader as well as an accomplished author: her bestselling memoir The Meaning of Mariah Carey detailed some of the most personal moments in the Grammy-winning singer’s life.

Mariah Carey
Singer Mariah Carey appears on set during filming for her music video “Obsessed” at The Plaza Hotel, June 29, 2009 in New York City | Bryan Bedder/Getty Images

Mariah Carey loved the novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire

In one chapter in her memoir, Carey reflected on her relationship to a book that made a big difference in her life: the 1996 novel Push by Sapphire.

Push pulled me in immediately,” Carey said. “It’s one of the few books that, upon finishing it, I turned right back to the first page and read it again.”

“The voice created by genius author Sapphire completely took me away,” she added. “She gave such a singular and significant expression to a girl and a world that are often invisible. It was challenging and intensely beautiful material.”

Mariah Carey smiling in front of a pink background
Mariah Carey | Amy Sussman/Getty Images

Mariah Carey didn’t think she’d get to be in the movie based on ‘Push’

Over a decade later, superstar director Lee Daniels brought the story of Push to life on screen in the form of Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire. The movie starred newbie actor Gabourey Sidibe in the title role and longtime comedian and actor Mo’Nique as her abusive mother; Mo’Nique won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her work.

“I first worked with Lee Daniels on Tennessee, a film I did in 2008,” Carey recalled. “He was the producer, but he basically ended up directing me, and he totally got me. I was thrilled when I learned he had acquired the rights to Push, though not at all thinking I would be involved.”

Mariah Carey
Mariah Carey | Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

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Mariah Carey loved working on ‘Precious’

Daniels asked Carey to join the movie at the last minute to play the social worker character Ms. Weiss, who was originally supposed to be played by Helen Mirren. Carey was thrilled to be appearing in the film adaptation of the book that moved her, but she was also nervous. “I was over the moon, but a little freaked out too,” she admitted. “I had a little more than one day to prepare. I learned my lines and did some deep, quick-and-dirty improvisation and backstory building.”

The experience was nothing short of dream for Carey. “The entire process of filming was renegade and brilliant,” she concluded. “I loved working on the film. My management at the time discouraged me from doing it, because it was last minute and low budget, but I knew it was a rare and exquisitely human story.”

“The entire process of filming [Precious] was renegade and brilliant,” she continued. “Lee believed in me, and I believed in him. I believed in the remarkable cast, and of course I believed in the brilliance that was on the page.”