Thursday, January 5, 2017
Review: Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson
I don't even know why I wanted to read this one. But I did. When I first saw the cover, I knew I wanted to read this. So pretty. And summary was interesting. I thought this book would be exciting and pretty awful and good. I ended up beyond disappointed. This isn't usually my type of book, but I really thought I would love it.
I have never been so wrong before. Let me say that the only reason I finished this book was because I had a print ARC of it. Because the publisher was amazing to send it to me. Otherwise, I would have quit it very early on. I knew right away that I hated the writing. It was so awful. I can't even describe it right. It was bad from the beginning and all the way until the end. First the way things are written. So bad. Then the way they are all talking. It was the worst kind of writing I have read. Shudders. No one talks like that. But in this one every person talked like that. Ugh. And then there was the main girl. And the way she was thinking. It was so horrible. Every single person she met she thought shit about. Every one. Such an awful person. I couldn't stand it.
I don't even know what to say about this main girl. I wish I could say she was a character easy to love. But she was so not. She was also the stupidest person I have ever read about. For real. She annoyed me from beginning to end. I can't believe she was such a bad person. This story is about her, almost sixteen, being in a group home with other girls that have done bad things. Mary has been locked up since she was nine, charged with the murder of a three weeks old baby. She was charged with no evidence for this.
In this book Mary is trying to get her life around. Trying to prove that she did not kill the baby. And oh. This could have been an interesting story. But it failed at every moment. See. This girl is pregnant from the beginning of the book. With a boy that is in a group home for doing something truly awful. Shudders. It is a lot about her inside this home. With the other girls. With all of them picking on her. And hurting her. Stealing her things. And it never ever got better. It was drama all the time. It was just silly and bad. Ugh.
The boy. Oh god this boy was the worst person ever. I can't even write about him without getting angry. At first I thought he was sort of sweet. A bit stupid, but kind of alright. He couldn't talk at all, but that was just the crappy writing. I suppose. But then. Hah. Then the girl finds out that he is cheating on her, sleeping with lots of other girls, getting money from them. While he claims to love her. Hahaha. I cannot deal with it. Fuck them both. She even forgives him for it later on, she still loves him. I just. No. Big no. Truly awful.
I'm trying to decide what I wish to share about this book. But I'm coming up empty. This book was the biggest trash I have ever read. I don't understand how it could have been so bad. But it was. I guess it could have been good, had it been written differently. But it was not. Every character in this book is also described by skin color. It was highly annoying. And unreal. I'm just so angry about this book. I don't have any more words to share. Horrible book full of awful characters. I seriously could not stand any of them.
Oh. Wait. I just realized what else I wish to say about this book. I can't help but mention that this book was disgusting. The words the characters were saying were disgusting. Always mentions of piss and vomit and sex and bitches and "n****s" and oh my god. This book was full of awful words. And none of them were okay. I don't think anyone should read this book. It tries to make it okay to speak like this. Tries to make it okay to lie about hurting people. I cannot. I need to forget about this shitty book. Shudders.
Then that ending came, and ruined the whole goddamn story, and I was the most pissed off. I still am. That ending was the very worst. I can't believe how truly bad it was. Seriously. God, I can't wait to forget all about this book. Do not read it. I do apologize for this harsh review, but it couldn't be helped. I hated this book. I needed to get my thoughts about it out of my body. Now I'm ready to forget about it. Thank you so much HarperCollins International for sending me a print ARC of it. <3 I will give it away, though.
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Oh, man. You had such a horrible time with this one, huh? I can tell. I'll have to check it out for myself. Because anytime a book got you cursing, is a book worth reading. Lol!ReplyDelete
Oh boy! It really sucks to read a book where you hate both the writing and characters! I can feel your frustration through your words. Bummer! Hope your next book is all kinds of awesome, Carina! :)ReplyDelete
Your racism is showing. I've heard great things about this book and now based on your review I will pre-order it. It may turn out to be horrible, but I'll read it anyway. When your complaints about a book consist of "I can't understand their language" and "they talk about skin color" it demonstrates your complete lack of empathy for cultures beyond your own & your refusal to see anything if it isn't through a white gaze. I'm not mad. I feel sorry for you. I get to enjoy many works of literature that you are too small-minded to appreciate and you'll just have to stick to main stream white gaze. You should try expanding your mind, opening your heart, and understand that the world is made up of so many different kinds of people and there is beauty in all if you can find it in your heart to look beyond the centering of your own world.ReplyDelete
Have you been following her blog? Have you read her reviews on what she considers as "bad books"? Let me tell you that she doesn't discriminate. Please don't throw the word "racist" around if you don't know the person. She may need a bit of diversity on her bookshelves but that doesn't make her a racist.Delete
Carina is one of the sweetest, nicest person I know. If reading this book made her feel extreme emotions, it could be because the character's attitude didn't sit well with her. Heck, there could be a multitude of reasons why she hated this book. And if your interpretation of her reasons made her a "racist" in your eyes, then perhaps, it is you that needs to open your mind.
This comment has been removed by the author.Delete
You don't need to know someone in order to be able to call their behavior racist. This review is extremely racist. She doesn't understand AAVE and thus this makes the book bad. You seem to think that just because someone is nice, that means they can't do or say something racist, ever, which only makes it easier for racism to continue to permeate the industry. "People don't talk like that." Yes. We do. Black people talk like that. It's clear this reviewer doesn't consume enough media outside of her own primary viewpoint in order to empathize with PoVs not her own. And she need to take the word Nigga out of her review. ANOTHER racist move, btw.Delete
If her review is racist, does that make her ultimately racist? And if she is, she's bad at it. She wouldn't be interacting with someone like me (a Flipina) if she was. She's not expose to the language because she lives in the remote part of Norway.Delete
Just trying to defend a friend because I know she's not what you are all accusing her of.
I just came across this. I'm going to request that you remove the word "nigga" from your review.ReplyDelete
Why should she remove it? She was commenting on it's use and how she felt about it. She was respectful about it. If her comment offended you, this is a choice you are making (and I say this as a POC).Delete
All of us are attempting to engage in a discourse with you but you'd rather block via Twitter & go on the defensive instead of actually listening. We have problem with your review because of its tone. The way its written.ReplyDelete
Even other white women are trying to reason with you and thoroughly educate you as to WHY your review was problematic but instead - again - you're upset with our approaching you & you refuse to listen to why we feel the way we do (especially those of us who are people of color & since the main character is of color.)
You criticized an author's work. We're criticizing your review of it. We're not 'mean' for doing so! We're calling you on the carpet.
You posted in a public forum - Blogspot - but expected no one to comment on it? At all?! Your opinions don't exist in a vaccum. People are going to see this blog as your body of work if you've been doing it long enough.
What if a potential employer sees some of your reviews and decides not to hire you? What if a potential employer passes you up because of it? Did you ever consider that?
Reviewers like you are the worst. You pick apart the work of others but can't handle when the spotlight is on you. Carina ... its bigger than just one review.
LISTEN to those of us who are trying to teach you about where you missed the mark!
The fact that you've lumped AAVE in with a list of "awful words" is pretty telling.ReplyDelete
Reviews like yours actively harm people. Instead of getting defensive when people tell you why you're wrong, you'd be better served by taking a step back and listening to what people are telling you.
If POC tell you something is racist, it's not your place to debate that. You can't really say "well, no, this isn't racist" because as a white person you - like me, a fellow white person - lack the lived experience necessary to have an informed view of what does and does not constitute racism.
Look, like I said, I'm a white person. I'm working on a book of my own, and will probably write more than one over the course of my lifetime. If one of my books is racist (or harmful in any other respect, for that matter) I want to be told it's harmful LONG before it's ever published. I want my writing to help people, not harm them. Book reviewers should be held just as accountable as the people writing the books in the first place.
Do better next time. Learn from this.
It sucks this one didn't work for you. It also sucks you're getting so much flack for this review. I think I may give this one a go. I would like to see what my feelings are on this one.ReplyDelete
This was an intriguing novel. Culturally relevant and based on several years of research and interviews of incarcerated, at-risk teens. Your review reflects a lack of cultural diversity in your reading. There are many reviews that praise this book. Not your cup of tea? Fine, but your review is offensive.ReplyDelete
You're not criticizing her writing in this review, you're criticizing African American English. The way the book was written was stylistically and linguistically accurate to the character's culture--so you're really just angry that she doesn't speak the way you think people are supposed to speak. You going into this book with racist ideas about language is not the book or the writer's fault. It's yours. And this review is deeply offensive and betrays serious ignorance. Your bio says your from Norway, so I respect that you may not know about the culture represented in the book, but in that case you have no place writing as if you have any authority on this topic. You should do a bit of research before you spread such harmful and blatantly inaccurate ideas about race and language.ReplyDelete
Your complaining about characters being described by their skin color also betrays some racist issues of yours that you need to deal with instead of projecting them onto others. This book was literally about how the American justice system consistently fails people of color--their race matters. And again, the fact that this bothers you says more about you than it does the book.
Again. I respect that you've likely never been exposed to the issues and cultures in this book. But that means you need to educate yourself instead of writing about it as if you have any authority or understanding of the issues you're talking about. It is harmful and just blatantly irresponsible.
Getting really tired of getting all of these nasty comments from so many people. All I did was read a really, really goddamn awful book. And I wrote an honest review about why I hated the book. That does not make me racist. This book was all kinds of horrible, and I shared parts of what made it so awful. I'm more than allowed to hate a book, so stop acting like that is such an awful thing to do.ReplyDelete
Honey, I think your review on this book didn't show it was awful but just showed you don't get out a lot. She made this book based on how those in group homes talk. She talked about race because, newsflash, the book has a lot to do about race. You sound like someone that had been so sheltered that you have never been to the ghetto or met people in the ghetto. THEY TALK LIKE SHE DESCRIBED. and please, don't use the n word in you review, you have no right.Delete
First off, the n word has been sensored, and I did not call anyone by that name, I mentioned that the author uses the name a lot. Second, this book was the biggest piece of trash. Ever. Does NOT matter that the author was black. That the characters were black. I did not explain every single reason for why I hated the book, because I did not feel like talking about it forever.Delete
But yeah, reasons for why I hated the book: The boy was the biggest cheating asshole, and the girl was the stupidest for still staying with him. The girl thinks shitty things about every single person she sees. Not okay. The twist at the end was the most fucked up and made the whole point of the book be ruined. There is animal torture in the book. The book is racist, against fat people, mental health, sick people. This book was fully trash.
AND I AM ALLOWED TO THINK SO! Goddamn it. Not a single person would have commented on my review had the author and characters been white. I would STILL have written the same negative review! Because this book was goddamn trash. I hated every word of it. And giving me hate for reading a book? That is low. People should not get hate for reading and writing honest reviews.
I am not racist. And everyone who knows me knows that. If someone else thinks otherwise, I don't give a fuck. I'm tired of this goddamn bullshit. I HATED A BOOK. Big deal. I would have written the same review no matter who the book had been about.
The girl in the book had a terrible mom, and was raised by the criminal justice system. She was not taught real values. How smart do you expect her to be if she had no positive influences in her life? Plus, women on the "inside," need intimacy too. They don't have the options to pick and choose great guys like free people, so dudes in the system is kind of all they have, unless they pick girls instead. It makes sense that she forgave her BF.Delete
The other comments were right. Girls in group homes talk EXACTLY the way they are depicted in the text. The author wasn't being offensive, she was being authentic. She visited the group homes and heard the stories, and connected with the girls before writing the book. She did her research and drew from real inspiration from real situations. Yes...troubled teens curse and fight. If they had the self-control to sensor their language, they wouldn't be in a group home. You have to understand that what you're judging is not actually the writing. It's the characters. The problem with that is, this text is realistic. So, you're judging real people who have similar experiences to what's in the book.
When I read this book, I did not know much about this type of life at all. I still do not. And I get that it is probably way more realistic than what I thought. But back when I read this book, I simply really hated it. The writing was not the biggest issue to me. There were so many troubles with this book, and I am certain I would still hate it today. I know others love it. I know others hate it. Which is how it should be with books.Delete
I hated the boyfriend in this book. From what I remember, it is mentioned that he was part of a rape of a girl. And to me, that is completely not acceptable. And so in my eyes it does not make sense that she forgave her boyfriend. But I completely understand that others view it differently.
But the point of my review was my thoughts about this book. How I read it and what I did not like about it. I get now that I was harsh about certain things. But I really, really did not like this book. And I still think about all the hate people gave me on twitter because of this, how people said they would beat me up. And that is also not acceptable, because of a book review.
Anyway. This book was still fiction. Even if parts of it were based on real life, it was still not about real people. I did not review real people or their lives. I shared my review of a book that I read.
Exactly. I hated how she said she didn't understand their language. The book was written in the point of view of a girl who most likely didn't get lots of education. People spoke a certain way because that was how they were raised to talk. She made it out to be as realistic as she can and the fact she didn't like it because of this proves she should go out more.ReplyDelete
I actually enjoy reading critical reviews of books I liked because they often have good points and make me consider stories in a different way. In this case, however, there was nothing to take away from your review other than your racism and cultural ignorance. This book explores the justice system and racial prejudice. So why does it bother you that people's colors are often described? It's important to the theme. Why do you feel that people 'don't talk like that' or are talking 'wrong'? Some people do actually speak like that. The author's dialogue was very accurate. If you had a problem with that, that's on you. It's not a flaw of the book.ReplyDelete
I find it interesting you called the book racist, while not giving any reasoning for that claim. I'm curious as to why you think the racism is in the book, and not from you.
Again, nothing wrong with disliking the book in the first place. Some valid points are the twist kind of ruining everything the book built up, and some of the characters being unsympathetic. But I encourage to re-read some of the comments on this review because they bring up some excellent points on its racist nature. It doesn't make you a bad person, but someone who needs more education on cultural matters.