What It’s About:
Nine-year-old Mary B. Addison killed a baby. Allegedly.
She didn’t say much during the trial but the media filled in the only blanks that mattered: A three-month-old white baby had died under the care of a church-going black mother and her daughter.
After spending six years in prison for the unthinkable crime, sixteen-year-old Mary discovers she is pregnant. When the state threatens to take her baby, Mary must find the voice to fight her past while surviving life in a Brooklyn group home. But her fate lies in the hands of the one person she distrusts the most: her mother.https://www.writeinbk.com
What I liked
One of my favorite things about this book is the complexity and depth of the characters. Not to mention that the dialogue was on point! Mary, the main character, is probably one of the most interesting characters that I’ve come across in a while and I think would be classified as an unreliable narrator. I was always trying to figure out if she was telling the truth or not. There were many antagonistic characters that made Mary’s life incredibly difficult. I enjoyed the heart pounding arguments and fight scenes that occurred in the group home. They were so vivid.
The second thing that I enjoyed about this book was how the author alternated the chapters between Mary’s first person point of view and excerpts of reports and interviews from the trial, news, books, etc. The lack of information from Mary’s point of view on the alleged murder creates a sense of mystery and you can’t help but want to know more. The reports and interviews help fill in some of the gaps and also give perspectives from people involved with the case.
This book tackles alot of issues that are relevant to events occurring in real life, which include racism, the juvenile justice system, mental illness, teen pregnancy, and child abuse to name a few. Because of all these topics, it might be triggering for some readers. But books with these kinds of topics are interesting to me personally because they give me a glimpse of experiences that people in the world go through. I often tell my husband about the things that are happening in the books that I’m reading and it usually leads to some interesting conversations about or real world connections to the topics.
What I didn’t like:
There were two things that I didn’t really care for in this book, which lead me to give 3 stars instead of 4. First, the big reveal of who actually killed the baby was not as impactful as I would have hoped considering there was so much buildup on the case. I almost missed it as I was reading! The other thing that was a letdown was how the book ended overall. It felt a little rushed and ambiguous. I wanted to know more about what was going to happen to Mary after she had her baby.
The characters, the alternating chapters, and topics covered in this book are what stood out to me. I read through this one really fast because I was dying to know what really happened to the murdered baby. Mary’s life was heartbreaking at times and I felt bad for everything that she went through. I just wish there was more oomph at the end for the reveal and more had been included about Mary’s future.