If you have ever read a book by Tiffany D. Jackson, then you are well aware of the amazing ability she possesses that makes readers question everything they know about a character. In her novel Grown she does it again while highlighting how black girls are overly sexualized from childhood leading to their dehumanization. The main character of the novel is Enchanted Jones, an aspiring teenage singer who happens to meet a big celebrity during an audition. This celebrity promises to help her accomplish her goals as long as she does what she is told. Rapidly, her life becomes a terrible nightmare and she must prove she is innocent in his murder.
Reading this book is quite uncomfortable and nerve racking, but this seems to be the author’s intention as stories about girls being taken advantage of are never pleasant. This was a great book, the themes it set out to explore were fully thought out and left the reader thinking deeply for a while after. The only critique would be towards some of the dialogue, sometimes the slang felt unnatural. Occasionally, this messed with the flow of the story a bit, but the author’s writing style and expert use of time jumps made up for it. As someone who typically doesn’t enjoy mystery or thrillers, this book felt captivating as it made me question the character the way society would make people question the character. This revelation shocked me and broke my heart because I realized how easily I was swayed to believe something I knew wasn’t true.
In summary, this book is wonderful although it is difficult to read and reflect upon. It’s themes are extremely important and well written therefore I would recommend this to others, especially those who question the dehumanization of black women. – Lynda O