REVIEW: ‘Grown’ is compelling, heartbreaking story of manipulation

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“Grown” is a young adult novel and New York Times Bestseller written by Tiffany D. Jackson.

Samuel Colmar

“Grown,” the newest book by award winning author Tiffany D. Jackson’s, is a compelling dive into the adversity black girls face in current day America. 

The novel follows 17-year-old Enchanted Jones, a black girl who attends a predominately white school and has dreams of stardom, the latter being much to the dismay of her parents. 

Jones struggles to fit into her school largely because of the cultural differences between herself and the students–an experience that may be all too familiar for many minority students in the American school system. 

The book does a good job at conveying the impact “microaggressions” have on the black community.

Microaggressions are seemingly minor remarks or instances of oftentimes unintentional discrimination against a marginalized group of people.

An example of this occurs when one of Enchanted’s swim teammates compares her to Beyonce just because, in Enchanted’s eyes, they’re both black singers. 

“My heart deflates a bit. I love Beyonce, but they use that comparison because that’s the only black singer they know.” 

Early on in the novel, Enchanted finds herself at a singing competition where she is introduced to R&B superstar Korey Fields and begins a relationship with him where she is subsequently manipulated, taken advantage of, and abused.

Because of Enchanted’s low-self esteem, a product of her home and school situation, the attention she received from Korey made her susceptible to his malicious behaviour towards her–she, and so many girls before, were blinded by a false love given to them by someone they idolized.

The book displays some tremendous storytelling that gives the reader a constant state of anxiety—a testament to Jackson, who does a fantastic job at making the reader feel just how Enchanted feels.

Even though the novel is fiction, the content is loosely based on real events. The novel’s abuser, Korey Fields, has similar traits to real life R&B superstar and alleged sexual predator R. Kelly. 

Kelly, known for his hit tracks like “I believe I can fly” and “Ignition,” was arrested and charged with a plethora of charges alleging sex crimes against women and girls in 2019.

Grown deals with themes of sexual assuault, rape, drugs, violence, pedophillia, and mental illness; thus,some readers may want to proceed with caution. 

Grown is a must read for readers who love page-turning books and would like an introspective dive into the culture and hardships of being a black girl in America.