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? She wouldn’t say. Mary survived six years in baby jail before being dumped in a group home. The house isn’t really “home”—no place where you fear for your life can be considered a home. Home is Ted, who she meets on assignment at a nursing home. 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 must find the voice to fight her past. And her fate lies in the hands of the one person she distrusts the most: her Momma. No one knows the real Momma. But who really knows the real Mary?
I have heard so many people sing the praises of this author that I couldn’t help but be curious about her books. They had a tendency to destroy people, and I was ready to be destroyed. Allegedly sounded like it would be a painful, powerful book, and I was ready to see what it was all about. Trigger warnings: abuse (physical, sexual, and emotional), vomiting, animal gore
Wow. If I had to describe this book in one word, that would be it. It left me feeling wow and the whole thing was just wow.
I don’t want to say that this book was dark and gritty, because I feel like that would be doing it a disservice. It has the feeling of a dark and gritty book, but it’s not quite those things. It’s a painful book, nothing about it is easy, and it does not shy away from anything that it tries to do. Really, this book is just one big chunk of emotion, ready to seep into your skin and make its home in your pores. It’s the kind of book that lingers, that makes you think about it even after you’ve finished it.
Honestly, I’m a bit surprised that I was able to get through the whole entire thing. It deals with heavy subject matter, and it doesn’t hold back from pulling any punches. It goes all in, which is one of the book’s strengths. Really, I think it has to do with the writing. Jackson knows how to write. She knows how to drop clues, how to evoke the strongest emotions, how to build characters into something unexpected, how write something that feels so powerful, and leaves you shocked even up until the last page. She writes in such a way that made me feel like I could handle anything that she threw at me. I know that’s weird, but it’s true!
Really, it’s hard to find words to describe this book because it’s just so, everything that it tries to be. It’s haunting. It’s horrifying. It’s scary. It’s painful. It’s emotional. It made me ache for Mary and her journey and made me want her to find happiness, or at least get somewhere where she could be content. It pulled me in and made me become so invested in the storyline and the mystery running through it, while also making me fall in love with the characters, which is something I have a hard time doing with thrillers. This book does it all, and it does it all while holding nothing back. And the ending left me reeling.
I’m gonna keep this review short and sweet, because I feel like that’s the best way to get across the feelings this book brought about for me. I don’t want to over explain because it left me feeling so deeply, and I don’t want to cloud that. It felt me feeling, and that’s the biggest praise I can give it. I know this entire thing sounds really weird, but if you read the book, I hope you’ll know what I’m talking about. Hopefully my weirdness could entice you to find out what I’m talking about as well, because this book is certainly worth reading.