Mary B. Addison killed a baby.
Allegedly. She didn’t say much in that first interview with detectives, and the media filled in the only blanks that mattered: a white baby had died while under the care of a churchgoing black woman and her nine-year-old daughter. The public convicted Mary and the jury made it official. But did she do it?
There wasn’t a point to setting the record straight before, but now she’s got Ted—and their unborn child—to think about. When the state threatens to take her baby, Mary’s fate now lies in the hands of the one person she distrusts the most: her Momma. No one knows the real Momma. But does anyone know the real Mary?
I stared at this page for a full two minutes before I began writing this review. I’m not even sure how I feel and it’s been almost a week since I finished this novel.
What I will say is that my review won’t be as long – simply because I’m terrified that something I’ll say will ruin the plot of this book. And this plot twist has me gasping and immediately going back to reread certain parts of the story – just so I could understand what exactly I missed.
I finished this book and my first thought was what the hell did I just read?
So if you don’t take that as your sign to pick it up…especially if you love Thrillers/Mysteries…maybe the rest of this review will be the final push.
Throughout Allegedly, Tiffany D Jackson explores how the system fails children, especially those that are deemed as trouble or criminals. There’s a realisation that once you have been perceived a certain way by society, it’s impossible to shun that image of you. It’s something that lives with you as it did for Mary and the rest of the young girls she lived with. I think it was even more troubling once you see how race plays an enormous factor. Jackson explicitly and expertly details through interviews and reports just how Mary, as a young Black girl in the US, was treated and considerably dehumanised at times.
It’s simply terrifying and horrific to read about.
But yet, this novel continues to draw you in. Jackson doesn’t hold back on the details. You’re left ploughing through pages to get answers. You’re drawn in by Mary’s careful and almost doelike nature. You want to understand more about her and how she ended up in a ‘prison’ for killing a young baby at the age of eight.
“Hard to celebrate the day you were born when everybody seems to wish you were never born at all.”
Jackson also makes you question whether a child is born bad or whether they’re simply a product of the environment they’re in. Honestly, I still don’t know the answer. But is it right for children to be imprisoned? Should their parents also be trialed for their hand in raising the child? Parents are the first point for teaching children their right and wrong but what if the child simply lacks a moral compass.
This book will leave you with so many questions
But also you will absolutely have chills with that last chapter.
At this point, I’m convinced Tiffany D Jackson deserves an award for that part alone. She was truly the puppeteer leading her readers on this journey. She was firmly in control. Every emotion you experience just feels like she planned for it to happen.
My only criticism looking back was that the last few chapters felt rushed and wrapped up very quickly. I would have liked to have seen more about Ted and Mary.
If you’ve been craving a good thriller – this is the one. This is it.
There’s not much else I can say without spoiling it.
So please do go read it.
“You ever smell a newborn? It’s so different…just new. They’re like these tiny, brand-new humans that don’t know who you are, or what you’ve done, or anything. But they love you anyways.”