Published January 24, 2017
Katherine Tegen Books
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
ALL THE STARS!!
This is a dark, emotional, twisted, and powerful novel that blew my mind.
Mary B. Addison killed a baby when she was just nine years old…
Three month old Alyssa Richardson was taken care of by Mary’s mother, Dawn Marie Cooper. Mary would often be present in the Richardson household while her mother was working. She grew very attached to both Alyssa and Mrs. Richardson.
Six years later, Mary. B Addison is now fifteen years old. She is anxiously awaiting a visit from the most conniving woman in the world….
Every other Sunday, her mother comes to visit her at the group home where Mary now lives. She arrives at 2:35, right after church. Hair, make-up, and clothing all perfect. Always putting on a show, even if no one is watching.
“Momma is all about appearances”
Many people think she’s a wonderful mother who deserves an award for visiting Mary.
“Inside her bubble, nothing or no one could get her down. She smiled during evictions, smiled after Ray would beat the shit out of her, smiled when we were dead broke, and even smiled during my manslaughter sentencing (“See baby, it’s not so bad. At least it’s not murder!”). She’s the most optimistic person on earth. Even when she’s visiting her daughter in a group home.”
Her Momma doesn’t ask how she’s doing. She talks about Church and Mr. Worthington, Mary’s new stepfather. Talks about all the good food she eats and trips she’s taken. But never does she bring anything for Mary or ask if there’s anything she needs. And her visits are never EVER longer than fifteen minutes.
Mary says she can name several people who wish she was never born. There’s even books written about what happened….The Devil Inside: The Mary B. Addison Story and What Happened to Alyssa?
Throughout her trial she never spoke a word. When she was sentenced she never spoke. However, things are different now. Now Mary has a very important reason to speak up.
But after all of this time can she? Will people believe her? Should they believe her?
What really happened to baby Alyssa?
I flew through this book. Honestly I could have read this book in one sitting if time had allowed. I was so engrossed in the story and Mary’s past and present. The story is told from Mary’s point of view. It flows well and is easy to follow. We see how the case played out in the media. There are news articles, book excerpts, court transcripts, depositions, and interviews interspersed throughout the book. All of this added to the story.
Mary is an awesome and complex character. I think that all of the characters came across as realistic. Damaged and flawed but still real. The author writes about relationships in a way that is authentic and compelling. It was fascinating reading the dynamic relationships between characters, especially between mother and daughter.
I think that this is a fantastic novel. Very well written. It’s hard to believe that it’s the author’s debut novel. Powerful, heart-breaking, suspenseful, and gripping. Any way you cut it, in my opinion it’s an amazing read.
I am really looking forward to reading more from Tiffany D. Jackson.
Thank you, Katherine Tegen Books for providing an advanced copy of this book for me to read in exchange for my honest review.