Tiffany Jackson’s ALLEGEDLY and the art of (metaphorically) flipping a dinner table

It’s Launch Day for Tiffany! 


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?

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’s fate now lies in the hands of the one person she distrusts the most: her Momma. No one knows the real Momma. But does anyone know the real Mary?

Booklist (Starred Review): “Suspenseful without being emotionally manipulative, compelling without resorting to shock value, this is a tightly spun debut that wrestles with many intense ideas and ends with a knife twist that will send readers racing back to the beginning again.”

There’s a moment in Tiffany Jackson’s novel ALLEGEDLY when the main character, a young teenager named Mary, is meeting with Ms. Carmen, a woman who is supposed to advise on Mary on the options for her future. As someone who worked with high school students, as a mother of teenagers, I understood Ms. Carmen’s task immediately and read on to see how she would encourage Mary to set goals and make a plan. Given that Mary is already portrayed to us as ambitious, determined, and hard-working, I was eager to see what kind of advice Ms. Carmen would give her. Here’s what happens next:

“So, Mary,” Ms. Carmen asked in a dead voice during my first week at the group home, fiddling with her rosary like a candy necklace. “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

At first, this gave me hope. No one had asked me what I really wanted to do in years, but I knew the answer: I wanted to be a teacher. When I was little, I used to line my toys up in front of an imaginary chalkboard and give reading lessons. I’d even sit Alyssa on my lap and teach her the ABCs. Momma would say, “She’s too little, baby. She can’t even talk yet.” But I didn’t care. Alyssa was going to be smart. I was going to see to that.
When I wrote Teacher on a piece of paper and showed it to Ms. Carmen, she’d chuckled but wasn’t actually amused.
“Well . . . I don’t think that’s a good idea.”
Ms. Carmen is one of the names on a long list of people who don’t really like me. Which seems ass-backward, since she’s responsible for my well-being. I think it’s because she is super Catholic and I killed a baby or something.
She made it very clear I would never work with children, that no baby killer would ever be able to work with children. Ever. 

I got serious goose-bumps when I read this passage. It’s beautiful and creepy and messed up on so many levels, fascinating and original on so many others. It turns everything you think you know about humanity on its head. THAT, that feeling of being in over your head, that feeling of never being quite caught-up on the action, is the experience of reading ALLEGEDLY. It’s a book that takes your assumptions and flips them like a real housewife might flip a dinner table – fiercely and without warning. Tiffany Jackson’s book presents readers with one surprise after another, making us rethink our understanding of how our society works, how children and adults behave, and especially what people are capable of.

Intrigued? You should be!! You will love this captivating page-turner! It will keep you guessing right up to the end, and Mary will stay in your mind long after you’re finished reading her story.

Run to your local bookstore! And while you’re there, please keep in mind all of Tiffany’s fabulous advice from her earlier post on the eight ways you can help out debut writers!

HAPPY LAUNCH DAY!! Congratulations, Tiffany!! You did it!!!!

Author: Amy Poeppel

Amy Poeppel grew up in Dallas, Texas and left the south to attend Wellesley College. Since then, she has worked as an actor, a high school English teacher, and most recently as the Assistant Director of Admissions at a school in New York City. Her three fabulous boys are all off in Boston attending school, and she and her husband now split their time between New York and Frankfurt, Germany. A theatrical version of SMALL ADMISSIONS was workshopped at the Actors Studio Playwrights/Directors Unit. She later expanded it into her first novel.

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