Disclaimer: I know neither Angela Stanton, nor Phaedra Parks. I can only tell you how I view this story, as a reader – and as a Real Housewives of Atlanta viewer. I must also tell you, now, that I will not give too many details away. From what I’ve read so far, fact or fiction (which it is has yet to be proven in court), Stanton’s book tells a powerful tale. To give you too many details would rob you of the pleasure of reading it for yourself.
Book Review: “Lies of a Real Housewife” By Angela Stanton — Chapters 6-8 Recap
Anyone who thinks giving birth in prison is just another easy free ride hasn’t read Stanton’s account. It’s not just the pain of having to put a newborn child in another person’s arms to be taken away. It’s not just the fact that in some facilities, there may be insufficient support for new mothers – given the nature of incarceration for women. You’re not expected to be, or become, pregnant behind bars. It’s that, overall, there doesn’t seem to be any real support of any kind for new mothers – social or emotional.
Stanton shares a tale of near hemorrhaging, limited compassion, and tortured memories of a child she wouldn’t get to know for years – primarily being left with the cries she heard before giving her over to her mother for care. She was fortunate to have a few visits with her children before things went terribly wrong – as if being behind bars wasn’t already bad enough. I can see why Stanton thinks of her book as a warning for young people who think they’ll beat the system. Word to the wise: You won’t beat the system no matter how many stories you’ve heard of people who claim they have. Stay the hell out of prison – for lots of reasons but most especially because most people don’t have the ability to think about how awful the experience will be. If you’ve romanticized that it’s no big deal, you’re wrong. Very, very wrong.
There are points at which she undermines her own message, however, including discussing the bravado she puts on as she torments angry guards by not letting them get the best of her. She says that she lets the guards’ taunts of her being a two time loser roll off her back, and recounts her ability to work the system while inside. Message heard, message lost? There are times when the book reads like a script from “Orange is the New Black.” She can’t wait to get her hustle on, behind bars? There are trades of prison foods for commissary products. There is rebuilding old and symbiotic relationships. We learn about physical and mental assessments and the gynecological exams that, by her account, seemed to be used to provide some semblance of pleasure for the inmates and some of the male physicians.
By the time her youngest child is two months old, things take a decidedly unexpected turn. Neither her calls, nor her mother’s calls are accepted by Parks, she alleges. Her mother is running low on funds to care for four children on her own and had hoped that Parks would provide some support to the family. Instead they find that she is putting distance between herself and them. Yet, there are still things Parks does that links the two of them together, including letters, news clippings, and photos Stanton claims were sent from Parks, regularly (described in limited detail by Stanton). Since, even at that time, this would be yet another link between the two women that seems to transcend a client-attorney relationship. How is the reader to interpret this part? Was Stanton perceived as such a non-threat that she could be placated with a few photos and wouldn’t mind being blown off? How did Stanton get Parks’ home phone number and why didn’t Parks report being harassed by an inmate if Stanton called as often as she said? How common is it for attorneys to ask clients to call them at home? If she was a stalker client, why would anyone send Stanton anything other than a cease and desist order?
Stanton has long been questioned about what her motive is for coming after Parks? Money? Jealous? Revenge? Reading this section of the book, I would have to say that anger and hurt probably motivated Stanton as much as anything else if this story is true. While behind bars she sees others either meeting her same fate (Shaheed, father of her youngest child) or moving ahead in life (Phaedra, “Jay” aka Young Jeezy, with whom she claims to have had a brief fling). In interviews, Stanton is critical of Parks for not only failing to help her family when she went to prison, but for being in attendance at her mother’s funeral and then basically disappearing from her family’s lives. In six months, Stanton gives birth behind bars and loses her mother (and not too long after, her grandmother). Her losses were primarily, it seems, for the love of someone, she claims, helped send her there and who then walked away as if she was a stranger.
After reading this, I’m dying to know what documentation she has to support the story she’s told, because it’s a doozy. Did she save all of her mail? Does she have phone logs? Voice recordings? This deposition could be an even bigger eye opener than any of us imagined.
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Click here for Book Review Part 2
Hope everyone had a great 4th of July! Join us tomorrow for the final installment.
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