Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson #BookReview

“When you are mad, mad like this, you don’t know it. Reality is what you see. When what you see shifts, departing from anyone else’s reality, it’s still reality to you.” –  Marya Hornbacher

What’s a book that’s made better by a book club?

A paperback copy of "Allegedly" by Tiffany D. Jackson sitting between an aloe vera plant and a cup of tea.

Photo Taken by @Introvert Interrupted
Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson

This past week, I had the chance to participate in @thebookalert’s book club on Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson.

I was blown away by the depiction of mental illness and violence against children in the criminal justice system Jackson writes about. Sadly, Jackson’s depiction isn’t too far off the truth.

According to the Prison Policy Initiative, as of December 2019, “on any given day, over 48,000 youth in the United States are confined in facilities away from home as a result of juvenile justice or criminal justice involvement” of this population, Black and Indian youth, especially girls, are overrepresented by these numbers.

Furthermore, “while 14% of all youth under 18 in the U.S. are Black, 42% of boys and 35% of girls in juvenile facilities are Black.” Likewise, “American Indians make up 3% of girls and 1.5% of boys in juvenile facilities, despite compromising less than 1% of all youth nationally.”

As a future social worker, these numbers are horrifying.

Author, Tiffany D. Jackson

Jackson’s main character, Mary, is a child who fell through the cracks and is continuously punished for the mistakes adults around her made. And, this is something that frustrates me.

In America, individuals are given different choices when they are BIPOC that are lesser in nature than their White counterparts. From these choices, we have to make the “best” from the heap we’re given. In this book, Mary never really has a fighting chance. 

Her mother fails her. The adults around her fail her. But, most importantly, the child welfare and other protective system fails her. While this book is a work of fiction, it felt too real.

I’m so grateful to Femi and everyone else in the book club for being there to talk through this tomfoolery with. 😑

What to read next banner

Photo Credit: @IntrovertInterrupted

If you’re a lover of thrillers and smart depictions of those who are labeled as “criminals,” Jackson’s novel is one you’re going to want to add to your TBR List.

Other books you may enjoy from this genre and that share similar topics are Monster by Walter Dean Myers and Upstate by Kalisha Buckhanon.

Myers book is one I read in the 5th grade for my English class, and like Jackson’s book, it is a story that you have to be mentally prepared for before you attempt to read it even though it’s labeled as a “young adult” book. 

Monster follows Steve, a teenage amateur filmmaker, as he stands on trial for a crime he didn’t commit. Told in the form of a screenplay, Myers’ story is a realistic and raw depiction of a Black boy’s struggle to retain his innocence as he’s thrust into manhood in a literal “trial by fire.” 

If you’re an avid Netflix watcher, the film adaption is now available to watch.

Monster (2021) Netflix Trailer

Upstate, on the other hand, is a realistic look at how one’s family and partners deal with their long-term incarceration. Buckhanon tells the story of Antonio, a seventeen-year-old that is incarcerated for a shocking crime, and his high school sweetheart, Natasha, who is a sixteen-year-old with a bright future. 

Faced with getting through a ten-year prison sentence, Antonio and Natasha believe their love can stand the test of time. While Upstate isn’t as jarring to read as Jackson’s book, readers will still be able to relate to these young lovers and their families as they spend a decade growing together and separate. If you’re an audiobook lover, Chadwick Boseman voices Antonio’s parts.

My Bollywood Indulgence: Movie Review of Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi

This movie was watched on March 25, 2013.

An interesting thing happened a week ago. I was browsing through Netflix and decided to take a hiatus from my watching standard American movies and instead journeyed to the obscure “Bollywood” corner of Netflix. Clicking through the list of foreign films,  I quickly scanned the titles and synopsis looking for a light movie to watch until I could fall asleep. As luck would have it, I stumbled onto what has now become one of my favorite movies of all time, Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi 

Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi is a movie that stars famed Bollywood actor, Shah Rukh Khan. Khan plays a geeky man named, Surinder Sahni who lives a mundane life working for a power company in Mumbai. By a luck of fate, he gets invited to the wedding of one of his old professors. At the wedding the mans meets the daughter who is named Taani. 

Taani who is played by Anushka Sharma is full of life and outgoing opposed to the awkward Surinder who watches her dance from the shadows as the pre-wedding party proceeds. Suddenly, all heck breaks lose ***SPOILER*** and the audience and bride to be finds out that the groom is not coming because he has been killed along with his family in a bus accident. The professor suffers from a heart attack and on his death bed ask Surinder to marry Taani so that he will know that his daughter is ok without him and both party’s agree. From here, the movie gets realllly good.

Surinder and Tanni get married and of course Taani is heartbroken and Surinder is smitten with his new bride but, doesn’t want to force her into loving him being he is such a gentle soul. In a twist of events, Surinder conjures up “Raj,” a hip if not awkward alter-ego who he believes will impress Tanni and help her to heal her broken heart. Instantly, Raj becomes the third party in this loveless marriage and through him the action of the movie is transformed into a comedic rendition of a love affair gone wrong.

The thing I love about this movie is that it didn’t go the way I was accustomed to in other films where somebody takes on an alter-ego and tricks their husband or wife. I initially thought Taani would be upset at Surinder for tricking her. However, she saw this as the ultimate showing of love. This twist had me sitting up going whaaaat?!? really?!? Which is definitely a good thing since most movies sort of stick to a preconceived script.

In addition to this, Khan was phenomenal as both Surinder and Raj. If I compared the two characters I couldn’t even recognize that the two men were played by the same actor until I looked up the movie. However, in retrospect it was weird that the cosmetic elements (i.e., blonde highlights) that the makeup team used to turn Surinder into Raj could be so easily hidden by the character in the actual movie when he went home to his wife as Surinder. This was one point that urked me but, the acting more than made up for it.

Sharma was also amazing. I’ve seen her act in another Bollywood film entitled, Band Baaja Baarat and her role in this film differed with her being more emotional in her acting for Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi. As Taani, Sharma embodied a woman who had experience lost thoroughly. Nonetheless, the director’s choice to give her a love of dancing seemed premature in her current state of being in mourning for her ex.

Overall, I give this movie 5 stars. I’d definitely recommend this film to anybody who wants a feel good, goofy film to watch.