Grown by Tiffany D. Jackson

Yo, Malcolm X said it best. ‘The most disrespected person in America is the Black woman. The most unprotected person in America is the Black woman. The most neglected person in America is the Black woman. – Tiffany D Jackson, Grown

Sometimes a book breaks your heart, but you need to share it with others. Grown by Tiffany D. Jackson was a brutal, raw, heartrending, but necessary read, telling the story of so many Black girls that are trapped in a system of violence, abuse, misogyny, manipulation, and rape culture perpetuated by men who are consistently protected by the people surrounding them. This book was hard for me to read, as most of Tiffany D. Jackson’s books are, but it’s an essential read to spread awareness and inspire change.

Enchanted Jones wakes up in a room with a painful headache. She has no idea where she is. Her vision is still blurry. There are red pools all over the floor, the walls, the furniture. Why would someone pout beet juice everywhere? Wait. That’s not beet juice. That’s blood. This isn’t her house. She slowly remembers that this place belongs to Korey. Korey. He is going to be so angry with her when he sees this mess. Wait! Who is that lying covered in beet juice? That’s Korey. And that’s not beet juice. He’s not moving. He’s not breathing. Someone’s knocking on the door. She’s going to be in so much trouble.

Flash back.

All Enchanted wants is to be a singer. She’s only 17, but she knows college isn’t for her. She wants to sing. Her parents aren’t so sure. But ever since she sang those old songs with her grandmother when she was young, Enchanted has known this is what she needs to do. She has the voice and the talent. She just needs a break.

Miracles do happen. Or that’s what Enchanted thinks when she goes to a singing competition and meets the famous R&B singer Korey Fields. Korey sees her potential and wants to help her succeed. He offers to give her free singing lessons. Korey wants her to join his world tour. He’ll help her record an album. Enchanted finally has what she wants within her reach.

Enchanted feels like she’s living a fairytale dream. Her parents and friends are more skeptical. They don’t understand why Korey Fields, a 28 year old man, would be interested in her, a 17-year old girl still in high school. Korey begins to act possessive around Enchanted and despite her friend Gabby’s warning that she should get away from him, she wants desperately to keep him in her life.

Enchanted loves Korey. He’s her whole world. Korey believes in her. She wants to sing. She wants to feel beautiful and loved. She wants Korey’s support and approval because he is already established in the music industry and has the power to give her everything she has ever wanted. He loves her. What does it matter if the Korey she thought she knew has different sides she’s not 100% comfortable with? She still loves him.

Until she doesn’t. She needs to get out. Her fairytale love has turned into a nightmare that she can’t escape from. Korey is no longer showering her with love and affection. He’s manipulative, obsessive, abusive and keeps her captive in the house. He tells her lies about her loved ones, pushes on her insecurities, and sends her to her limits. Korey mentally and physically abuses Enchanted, leaving her desperate to escape.

This book is powerful. It shook me to my core. Jackson has written a shocking, twisted, breathtaking book giving voice to people who are afraid to talk about the traumatic experiences that they had endured in the past or may still be enduring.

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