Grown by Tiffany D Jackson

“What a woman wears or doesn’t wear doesn’t give anyone the right to touch them…We’ve all BEEN through a lot but that don’t give you no excuse to abuse girls.”  – Tiffany D Jackson

Rating: ★★★.75

This was such a powerful story. I’m going to be honest…it did make me sick to my stomach while reading it though. I’m going to put the triggers warnings right here because I think they are very important to understand before you start this book! Tiffany D Jackson does not shy away from discussing these topics in detail. Although there are no R rated scenes, most of these things are very heavily implied. 

TW: Sexual assault, emotional manipulation, physical abuse, murder, rape, mentions of suicide, grooming, drugging, kidnapping, pedophilia.

Okay! With that all out of the way let’s start with what this book is about in more detail. As I mentioned, this is such an impactful story about a 17 year-old Black girl named Enchanted who is an aspiring singer. She ends up meeting this famous man named Korey Fields at an audition, who is loosely based off of R Kelly. The story takes off from this point as Enchanted begins to fall in love with Korey despite him being a 28 year-old man. 

This story is told in a then vs now format, where we alternate between Enchanted meeting and falling in love with Korey in the “then” and when Enchanted wakes up covered in blood with a dead Korey near her in the “now”. In this way, the story is part thriller, part murder mystery, part twisted love story and I really enjoyed it, despite how sickening it was at times.

I really enjoyed the discussions about the mistreatment of Black women by the police and the media. Especially in cases of rape and sexual assault, Black women unfortunately are not believed very often. I was rooting for Enchanted the entire book and really wanted her to get the justice that she deserved. 

It was also, as I mentioned, a very difficult book for me to read at times. I think Tiffany D Jackson did a good thing by not pulling any punches because I truly felt gutted while reading about all that Enchanted had to endure. Even though I would not describe my reading experience as particularly “fun”, I think it made for an impactful story that will stay with me for a long time.

In terms of what I did not like there are a couple of things. First off, the story as a whole felt like it was trying to do too many things, especially towards the end. Things started not to make any sense and there were a lot of weird plot things going on. I felt like it was trying to be a thriller, murder mystery, and have lots of social commentary all in the last 50 or so pages and my mind was barely following. 

Secondly, Enchanted as a character made some odd choices that did not seem realistic at all. Don’t get me wrong, I was rooting for her the entire time and understand that she was extremely brainwashed from the very beginning. There were just a few instances that I thought did not make sense. Also, Enchanted’s mom kept saying how mature she thought Enchanted was, but Enchanted’s actions did not reflect that at all. However, perhaps this was just because Enchanted was enthralled with Korey and loosing herself in being brainwashed.

Overall, I am very glad that I read this book despite its heavy content. I think it will stay with me for a long time. Even though there were a few things I did not enjoy, I think if you can handle the subject matter, I would highly recommend this one!