Rummanah Aasi

Description: 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?

Review: Allegedly is an intense, raw, and gritty suspense novel that will generate a lot of emotions, questions, and dialogue among its readers. Easily accessible to both teens and adults, Allegedly takes a critical look at the criminal justice system and addresses race, age, and mental illness through its complex characters. The lines between victim and perpetrator, right and wrong are blurry at best.      
    Mary Addison is a black teen from Brooklyn, has been locked up in "baby jail" for six years, after allegedly killing a three-month-old white child. Now living in a group home, Mary is selectively mute, extremely bright, and well behaved, which makes her the target of bullying from the more aggressive girls in the home. She dreams of surviving the group home and restarting a new life which includes going to college and getting a job. Her one escape is volunteering at a nursing home and having secret assignations with Ted, a fellow convict and volunteer also living in a group home.  
  When Mary becomes pregnant and faces losing custody of the baby, she begins thinking of her baby's future and comes forward with a startling confession after 6 years: she didn't kill the baby. Interspersed with Mary's current story are media accounts of Mary's trial. Police interviews with the then nine-year-old Mary, other people do character sketches including the baby's parents, and social workers. Startling revelations of the crime are unveiled, but the reliability of the evidence is unclear and the more Mary speaks the more unreliable she seems. In the end it is up to the reader to decide Mary's verdict in this twisty, well written debut novel.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: There is very strong language throughout the book. There are also allusions to sex, physical and sexual abuse. Recommended for Grades 10 and up.

If you like this book try: The Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman, Monster by Walter Dean Myers, The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
3 Responses
  1. Oh this one looks intense, but somehow very timely.

  2. Oh this sounds very intense. I am so curious as to what really happened. Thanks for putting this on my radar. I will see if the library has it.

  3. Kindlemom Says:

    This definitely sounds like an emotional and powerful read. Thanks so much for putting it on my radar!

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