One of the most Gut-Wrenching Reads of 2019
I started reading Allegedly by Tiffany D Jackson on a whim. I was looking for a book to read in between books and was drawn to this by the title. When I read the premise, I knew I had to read a bit more. It became one of those books I tore through, felt it was a bit longer than needed to be, and then disliked the ending so much it almost ruined the rest of the book. This was a sad story that was so vividly written that it is heartbreaking.
Mary Addison murdered a baby when she was 9 years old, allegedly. She has moved from “baby prison” (solitary confinement) to juvie to a halfway house where she can leave under supervision. Her fellow prisoners torture her regularly, from simply throwing her stuff on the floor to much worse things later in the book. Mary has been in the prison system for so long; she is numb to most of it. I know this subject matter might be hard for many readers but if the subject matter does not scare you, I do hope you give this a chance. For those who have triggers, there is abuse, statutory rape, torturous conditions, and of course the murder of an infant which gets described in detail several times.The worst part is everyone knows her story. Her story has been written about in numerous books and it looks like it may be made into a movie. In a place where people assume, knowing your crime is a different story.Mary gets visited by her mother regularly on Sunday, where her mother stays for about 15 minutes to talk about her new life. Mary also works at an elderly home, where she has met Ted, an 18-year-old who has gotten 16-year-old Mary pregnant. Mary has also gotten a new roommate who is working through the justice system with an independent group who helps those who have received injustice get justice. The connection to that is Mary has started to remember things about that night when she allegedly murdered a baby and it doesn’t seem to add up.
Four things bothered me about this book. The first being that this book is listed in the young adult genre. I would have a hard time having anyone who is under the age of 17. The second was the length. At about 400 pages, it becomes a bit too long. The third was the Ted story, as it was a bit clichéd. As soon as Ted is introduced, you know he is going to get her pregnant and you know he is going to be something else (I will not spoil, but you learn quickly what that something else is). Finally, the ending. I have talked to a few people online who also disliked the ending. the reader journeys through 390 pages or so and the last few pages simply ruins the book. I am not going to spoil, but just be prepared.Now for the positives, as there were more than negatives. Mary’s story about that night unfolds wonderfully. You get glimpses here and there, but you do not get the whole story until you need to. Her relationship with her mother is well described and thought out. It would be a tense relationship between them. It is also an incredible look at the injustice found within the justice system. Overall, I sort of enjoyed this one. It was a good story, but it is brutal in places, so how could one enjoy brutality? I gave this one three stars because the ending ruined it for me truthfully.