“No one stops in Springville except ghosts…”
Tiffany D. Jackson is no stranger to this space (please read Monday’s Not Coming), and you all know I do not shy away from horror in the space either! I heard about this book on TikTok in August, and was determined to read it as soon as it was released on September 6.
Was I disappointed? NO.
Most horror fans know who Carrie is, and how that story was written by Stephen King. This retelling (reimagining is a better word) of Carrie White as Madison Abigail Washington was joy to my dark imagination. I will tell you this: I was skeptical.
Not because of the subject matter-on the contrary! I wanted Jackson to let her be mad. To let Madison (“Maddy”) be as mad as she needed to be! If you were ever a bullied girl, and identified with Carrie?! You know just what I mean.
From this retelling, Maddy is a Black girl whom is passing as White in a small, predominantly White town called Springville, Georgia. She is outed as Black with a rainstorm. And from there? We see just how isolated Maddy is, and the insidious nature of racism and how common it is in the life of Black people. Maddy was told she was never to tell anyone she was Black/biracial. Her father (whom is White) is abusive, eccentric to the point of being psychotic really, and he believes that controlling everything about Maddy will both insolate her and absolve him of what he thinks is the ‘bad thing’ he did with the Black woman whom was the nurse for his mother. After the incident in US History (her hateful gym teacher wouldn’t let her go home–yes, she was White), her powers manifest.
The school called it an earthquake.
Jackson breaks the tension of the story with intermissions of podcasts and new articles. I must say adding the element of a podcast was genius! Jackson takes you to peaks and valleys were you are screaming at the book, and then you the relief of the podcast.
My copy of THE WEIGHT OF BLOOD is marked up, with post-it’s all through it! I could teach this!
What I liked most about this book is that Jackson tells this as only a Black woman could! From Maddy’s hair getting wet, to her trauma around her hair, to Jules’s blackface stunt, Kendrick figuring out he’s a token ‘good’ Negro, and how there are no ‘good’ White people in this story–and the only that is? She gets the top of her head lopped off!
I’m not joking.
At the culmination of the story we do see Maddy get revenge at Prom Night (and I just got mad all over again thinking about it!), and it is intricate, ruthless…and my God was it necessary! Whew! I cheered!
Maddy. LETS. HAVE.
The Weight Of Blood is a double entrendre–the biggest monster is not Maddy. It’s racism! It’s classism. And racism will always other non-White people! Even as the book ends, and the podcast wraps up, the male host wants to know where Maddy is! And the White Australian woman whom is co-hosting wants to know why that would even be important.
This book here? There are so many elements! So many things that turn over on itself: there is mentioned lynchings, police brutality, sexual assault, and how the town of Springville, Georgia has always had issue with racial violence! And the source of her power? It’s not who you think!
Read this book. Read it with friends, because at Part Two? That is when you will need a support person. You’ve been warned, because Maddy Did It.
[Image from The Nerd Daily]