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Tyler Perry’s latest e-mail message to fans explains his attraction to the film “Precious,” which he is executive producing along with Oprah Winfrey.

The film, which arrives in theaters Nov. 6, tells the story of a 16-year-old Precious Jones (Gabourey Sidibe), a high-school student with nothing working in her favor. She is pregnant with her father’s child—for the second time. She can’t read or write, and her schoolmates tease her for being overweight.

Her home life is ruled by a mother (Mo’Nique) who keeps her imprisoned both emotionally and physically. Precious’s instincts tell her one thing: if she’s ever going to break from the chains of ignorance, she will have to dig deeply into her own resources.

The film’s message struck a chord with Perry, who also had to overcome horrific obstacles in his childhood. Below is an excerpt from his latest e-mail message.

Read the entire email here