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Grown by Tiffany D. Jackson is a book that exposes the appalling secrets that hide behind the limelight but also welcomes and uplifts the power of a young woman’s voice. Grown follows a young woman named Enchanted Jones who meets superstar Kory Fields at an audition. Kory offers Enchanted a contract that takes her out of school for a year while she goes on tour with him. She even has the opportunity to possibly record her own album. As the story continues, Enchanted continues with her life on tour and as she does she grows more and more disconnected with her family. As the tour goes on and Enchanted and Kory gets closer, Kory also starts to become a person that Enchanted doesn’t like. He becomes possessive, angry, and abusive, but yet there is no way for Enchanted to escape his grip. Kory doesn’t let her get far, filling her head with false promises of recording her album, psychological manipulation, false affirmations of love. All of this turns Enchanted’s dreams into a living nightmare….until one night a few months later Kory ends up murdered and all signs point to Enchanted. 

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This book was difficult to read, but for all the correct reasons. The book contains some material that may be triggering for some who read it. One of the themes talked about in the book is grooming. Grooming is something that is often overlooked in the entertainment industry, and I haven’t read anything about it in this way before. On the very first page of the book, even before the reviews page, Tiffany includes a letter to the reader about how when she was younger it seemed okay for older men to date younger girls and for them to keep it a secret. Tiffany makes it very clear that this book is not about the infamous R. Kelly case but inspired by it. Even though I don’t know much about the case, this book made me feel like a thousand bugs were crawling all over my body and I wanted to get in the shower and scrub everywhere until my skin was raw. This book was one spark of many that burns down the system that allows people to condemn girls who have older boyfriends or girlfriends. The real question should be why are older men, talking four years and older, allowed to flirt with younger girls. Why is it okay to be in relationships with them? This book was hard to read and get through, as is any hard truth literature, but this book needs to be read. 

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Something relevant to right now with this book is how it brings to light how unfairly women are treated by not only men but society as well. When women bring forward accusations of domestic violence, sexual abuse, etc. they aren’t often believed and could even be seen as exaggerating what happened or “fast”. Even worse, black women are less likely to be believed then, white women. A report issued by Georgetown Law Center found that “adults view that Black girls are less innocent and more adult-like than their white peers.” Society perceives black girls as more independent, more knowledge about sex, and less in need of protection. Grown has Enchanted assaulted with messages after she tells the truth about what happened to her with Kory. Not only are the messages from strangers but people she went to school with who wonder whether or not she asked for “special treatment because of the way she dressed around him or if she “threw herself” onto Kory. Instead of her schoolmates supporting her and working to prosecute Kory they blame her. They blame a young, susceptible black woman who was kidnaped, disconnected from her family, roofied, and forced to do things that she didn’t even remember the next day, and all while still having to make money for Kory. Tiffany showcases how people in society hide behind the internet because they feel it's easier to point the finger at someone else than listening to a voice that's telling them the truth. 

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Grown captures the full mistreatment of a black woman, in an enchanting, no holding back narrative. This book appeals to younger readers but truthfully a person of any age can get something out of this book, and allow them to reflect on their entanglements with a sharper eye. Grown releases on September 15, 2020, to online services and bookstores. 

 

Chyna Wallace

Winthrop '23

My name is Chyna Wallace and I am a senior at Winthrop University. I am a Mass Communications major with a broadcast concentration, with a plan to graduate in May 2023. I also have a passion for photography, film, and education which fits into my passion for journalism. I use my creative skills to thrive in my major, but also teach elementary school children in my free time.
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