I haven’t heard of Yvvette Edwards before. But I couldn’t help but request this book the moment I read it’s synopsis. We follow a mother,Marcia Williams, as she prepares for the first day of the trial of her son’s murderer. Her son, Ryan, was murdered senselessly by Tyson Manley (what an appropriate name!) and she cannot understand why and worse than that, she cannot understand how, another 16 year old boy, the same age her son was, can be coldhearted and calculating, the complete opposite of him! As she goes through each day of the trial, with grief counselling and with the help of some amazing people around her, the one person she needs to connect with the most, her husband, is pulling away. It’s obvious that he is hurting and doesn’t know how to deal with it but she is starting to suspect that he has completely given up on like and she cant bear that thought.
The story from beginning to end is hard to put down. Not it isn’t fast paced, on the contrary it’s agonisingly slow but not because the pacing was bad or the writing was off, it was sow because you simply wanted to know what happened faster. And each one is filled with a mother’s struggle to understand and deal with what is happening in her life. No, this isn’t a sad book, it is a meaningful one and an important one. One that shows that no, it isn’t just police brutality we must pay attention to, there is violence everywhere and we just don’t notice till it’s too late.
Marcia as a character is very recognisable to all of us. If we aren’t like her we certainly know someone who is and this makes the book all the more terrifying. To think that there is this woman we recognise, we are familiar with, whose son died just because someone decided to put a knife in him. The author does a brilliant job of driving this point across, that it was absolutely unnecessary but it happens. What I liked the most if the way she plays the character’s prejudices. For instance, Marcia’s sister is one of those people who is constantly on the lookout for racism, so much so that spotting it has become reflex action. Except that she doesn’t spot it in herself and there are times that Marcia has to call her out on it.
And this racism, that she spots so easily, is also there in the courthouse. The jurors have coloured people in the minority and this leaves them at a loss. Because both Ryan and his killer are black, they don’t know if this is a good thing or a bad thing! While this racism and prejudice that is shown towards coloured people makes you grind your teeth the prejudice that Marcia shows towards the people connecting Ryan to his killer also frustrates you. It’s the struggle of a coloured mother to make sure her son doesn’t mix with the cliché groups that others believe coloured people are usually like and it’s such a tough thing to deal with!
The one thing I had a problem with was the ending. I saw it coming a mile away (the twisty ending I mean) but I don’t have a problem with it. I was expecting it, hoping for it, and it happened. But the actual ending left me feeling lost, without closure. Which I suppose makes sense, the author shows you where she’s headed but I do wish she had said it in black and white so I could shut the book and feel some sense of emotion apart from blankness. But I still recommend it to everyone, especially for fans of Jodi Picoult.
RATING : 3.5/5 Stars
The unimaginable has happened to Marcia Williams. Her bright and beautiful sixteen-year-old son Ryan has been brutally murdered. Consumed by grief and rage, she must bridle her dark feelings and endure something no mother should ever have to experience: she must go to court for the trial of the killer—another teenage boy—accused of taking her son’s life.
How could her son be dead? Ryan should have been safe—he wasn’t the kind of boy to find himself on the wrong end of a knife carried by a dangerous young man like Tyson Manley. But as the trial proceeds, Marcia finds her beliefs and assumptions challenged as she learns more about Ryan’s death and Tyson’s life, including his dysfunctional family. She also discovers troubling truths about her own. As the strain of Ryan’s death tests their marriage, Lloydie, her husband, pulls further away, hiding behind a wall of secrets that masks his grief, while Marcia draws closer to her sister, who is becoming her prime confidant.
One person seems to hold the answers—and the hope—Marcia needs: Tyson’s scared young girlfriend, Sweetie. But as this anguished mother has learned, nothing in life is certain. Not any more.
*I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Opinions expressed are my own.