My rating: 4 of 5 stars
In the excerpt that opens the story, a question is posed as it relates to the then 9-year-old Mary B. Addison, the alleged baby killer, that I think readies the reader to examine for themselves what they believe to be true or probable in this case. That question being, “Was there something that made her (Mary) snap, or was the evil dormant all along?” And though she was convicted of manslaughter, served time in what she called “baby jail,” and is now living (or surviving) in a group home with others who rock clunky anklet jewelry like hers, did she actually commit the crime? If not Mary, then who? We need to hear the truth as only Mary B. Addison can tell it. Are you clever enough to figure it out before the final pages? Trust! I wasn’t even ready!
First off, Allegedly is a work of fiction but I read on The Brown Bookshelf that the idea for this book was sparked by a real case that Tiffany D. Jackson read about in 2012 involving a nine-year-old who was charged with murder. Much like my experience with watching the Special Victims Unit of Law & Order on television, I find topics like this one, involving children, to be extremely difficult to explore through any medium. That is likely why I failed my first two attempts at reading this book. I felt it might trigger deep, dark emotions, that I just wasn’t interested in experiencing voluntarily but I am so glad that I finally read it. I’ve wanted to since its 2017 release.
Tiffany’s writing is EXCELLENT! What a knock ’em out the box debut! Raw. At times gut-wrenching, breaking me all the way down, but real. Oh so REAL! That’s what breaks my heart the most though. There are kids who are dealing with some messed up situations. Many who are not privileged to get the help and care that they need, the justice they deserve, or even a shred of empathy or concern from those of us who aren’t walking in their shoes, “too broken to be fixed,” as Mary concluded. Her’s is a story that is going to stick with me for a long time. I’m not going to be able to stop thinking about my part. How can I be a better advocate for my students and for all of the children in my life? How can I be better equipped to recognize a cry for help? I’m thankful that my school district supports its educators and students and is providing resources for our families surrounding mental health awareness.
Allegedly is one of the Project Lit Community book club picks. Our chapter (Project Lit Buffalo) hasn’t read this one yet but now that I’ve read it, I feel well prepared to engage in some great discussions with students. Have you read this one yet? Have you read it with students? What was their reaction?
Allegedly – Book Trailer (Posted by Epic Reads)
Tiffany D. Jackson | http://writeinbk.com/
Harper Collins | https://www.harpercollins.com/
The Brown Bookshelf (Post about TIffany D. Jackson) | https://thebrownbookshelf.com/28days/day-14-tiffany-d-jackson/