Release date: January 24th 2017
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 church-going 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 went into this book knowing it was going to be a heavy read and was expecting some twists and turns. The book didn’t shy away from the horrors of what Mary went through after she was accused of killing a baby in her mother’s care, the deaths threats, the abuse and lack of care she suffered at the group home. It was the kind of book I had to read slowly, both because of the heavy content and because I was constantly questioning the narrative and didn’t want to miss anything.
Mary was a very interesting character. She was failed by so many adults in her life and was just trying to survive until she could find a way out. She was extremely smart but because of what she’d been accused of not many adults saw beyond her alleged crime to see the girl. When Mary found out she was pregnant, for the first time she had reason to speak up about what really happened that night.
There weren’t many bright spots in the supporting cast, not that they were badly written characters but they were horrible people. The other girls in the home were bullies, the women who ran the home only did enough to stay open, Mary went through many social workers who took little interest in her case. There were a couple women who gave her hope and treated her with kindness, a highlight in her story.
I loved the way the author used devices like police interviews, newspaper and book exerts, court depositions to show what had happened the night Mary allegedly killed baby Alyssa and how people believed she was guilty. I finished this book quickly, not because it was an easy read, but because I wanted to know the truth. It was definitely a book that will stay with me.
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.