This book. You guys, THIS BOOK was so well written.
While I gather my thoughts, here’s the basic idea…
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
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?
Life according to Mary B. Addison
Let me just explain something really fast. Mary Addison got out of baby jail and is living in a group home in this novel. I have no experience with group homes or even girls who have lived in group homes. The author clearly has done her research to make the young women in this novel come across as real and believable.
I think that’s probably what I liked most. I mean the writing is phenomenal (I can’t believe this is a debut). But honestly, the realness of Jackson’s characters is what kept me coming back for more. This book is heavy. It was HARD to get through, but guess what? I’m glad I read it. Books have the power to change me and this one broke my heart.
Education as a theme
One of the more interesting themes within this book was Mary’s education. Having allegedly killed a baby, Mary’s options are really limited. She goes to a vocational school to learn cosmetology. But she’s driven to far more than this. She wants to go to college. She wants to take the SATs and build a better life for herself and her family. It was wonderful to see education play such an important role in this book.
Speaking on education is important, but equally important are the women who care about Mary.
Ms. Claire and Ms. Cora are really important to the story. You can’t convince me otherwise. My thought process is that without these two incredibly influential women, Mary would not have been convinced to better herself. I mean, we’re talking about a girl who didn’t speak to anyone for 8 months! These women really played an important role in this young woman’s life. Her Momma wasn’t there for her, but these women were. This is something I found so important within the pages of this book.
Again, I can’t believe this is a debut novel. Jackson writes like a seasoned author. This was damn near perfect, in my opinion.
I can’t give it a 5. It’s hard, but the reason is just because I didn’t like how the book ended. I expected growth and progression and for the truth to come out, but I don’t feel like the ending did Mary’s story justice. In short, it wasn’t the ending I hoped for. Granted, I’m not the author and she’s entitled to do whatever she likes with her story – that’s just my opinion on the ending. 😛 Overall though, this was a GREAT (hard) read.
One of my YouTube subscribers left me a comment I’d like to pass along to you all here! When you’re reading contemporary YA do you look for lighthearted fluffy reads or do you prefer more darker content? Let me know in the comments!
lover of literature. librarian in training.