Allegedly was Tiffany D. Jackson’s debut novel. I am still reeling from this book. I finished it last week and have been thinking about it ever since. It is hard for me to wrap my head around this being her first book. I have already purchased Monday’s Not Coming and am really looking forward to reading that as well.
This novel follows, Mary Addison, after being released from ‘baby jail’, she is living in a group home and trying to get her life on track. Mary was sent to ‘baby jail’ for killing a baby that she was helping her Mom take care of. Allegedly. The majority of the book is stream of consciousness narrative which can be very hit or miss for me. This is how it should be done.
It was incredibly moving to hear Mary’s remembrances of various parts of her childhood, her challenging relationship with her mentally ill mother, and of her ‘crime’. The rest of the book cleverly fills in the blanks with an excellent assortment of mixed media sources such as police interviews and court transcripts. I thought the blending of these two styles together was executed perfectly to reveal the ‘truth’ behind the story.
The thing I appreciated most about this book was the way it reflected upon the juvenile justice system and the hopelessness and desperation these kids are experiencing; the problems with that and the systematic failures put forth onto hundreds to thousands of kids. Behind every case number, inmate number, statistic, is a story. This is just one. Of Mary Addison, a smart, mixed race girl, who struggles with feeling self worth and who never really had a chance. Her codependency with her mother and her mental illness was so raw and real. I felt for this girl. I was drawn into her story. It was such a struggle to get through some sections but worth it. It was so well done that at times, I would be so wrapped up, I had to remind myself…this is FICTION. But for a lot of kids out there, too many kids, this story would be all too real.
I did listen to the audiobook for this and DAMN, Bahni Turpin can make you feel all the feels. She is so talented and truly brought the story to life for me. I was listening to Mary as far as I was concerned. I could not recommend this audiobook more highly. Loved it, loved it, loved it!
Previously: Chills. That ending was a complete surprise – not at all what I expected but in the brief time I have had to reflect on it, I think it is actually perfect. Anything else maybe would have seemed false – too good a conclusion or too bad…I do need to think more on this one before I write my final review. Tiffany D. Jackson is one hell of a writer – I will leave it at that for now.
Original: Starting this audio tomorrow for Contemporary-A-Thon! This will be counting for my dark book, as it is definitely not a light-and-fluffy contemporary, and my non-traditional format book ( = Audio )! I could also count it as a diverse book but I have another one I think I will use for that challenge.