I'm glad the movie was far better than the book, although it followed the storyline almost to the letter. I had accidently grabbed the book on sale several years ago, to carry in my purse for bus trips, and I didn't enjoy it at all. The writing was almost unbearably poor and the only reason I stuck with it to the end was because it's not that thick of a book and I have this tenacious principle of not tossing out a book before finishing it. At the time, it was one of the few books that I could fit comfortably in my purse, so I decided to grit my teeth and get through it.
I do not recommend you even consider getting the book. Just watch the movie instead, if you're intrigued.
The actors were the reason the movie was so incredibly good. I can't believe Mariah Carey played Ms. Weiss, she was practically unrecognizable, in a very good way. The last time I saw pictures of her were on tabloids and a couple of scenes from Glitter (unfortunately I have seen that film too and I wanna know how to get those 2 hours back!) and Mo'Nique. There's no words to describe my amazement when I found out afterwards that Precious' mother was played by Mo'Nique. One of those times when you see a performance this good and go "Whoa..." and then when you actually find out who the performer is and you go "Who? Wait... WHAT?"
Mo'Nique's portrayal of Precious' mother was chilling, there wasn't even a second I felt like she was acting, I thoroughly got immersed into the whole situation of her enabling the abuse of her child and felt extremely uncomfortable physically and emotionally every time there was a fight scene or a flashback. That's how real it felt. I even bought the theatrical ending scene, hook, line and sinker, and I'm not that sentimental when it comes to the movies, that's how good and realistic it was.
I know a lot of people won't feel as strongly as I did about the theme or the acting, but I felt it, the whole hopelessness of living in the ghetto, the struggles, money problems, having kids when you're underage, not being able to read or write, etc, and I'm a white chick from upper middle class home in Scandinavia.