Chapters 1 and 2 – Recap and Questions
I will say this, folks, if Angela Stanton is lying, as has been alleged, she is GOOD. Her story is as plausible as any story I’ve heard read, but let me remind you to be cautious, two words…James Frey. There are a lot of plausible stories out there that turn out not to be true.
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.
Stanton opens her story with a powerful recounting of being sexually assaulted as a five year old child, by a family member. It is a scene that can only be described as horrifying, monstrous, and her rapist as prolific, by her account. I cannot put into words how awful this event was, and if I had the words, I would not use them. Too young to know that she was not his only victim, she lived with the shame and guilt that comes along with being assaulted – most especially by someone you once loved and trusted. Her family’s inability (and/or unwillingness) to protect her set the stage for a path of destruction that made her later life seem like a logical, albeit tragic, conclusion.
Her relationship with her mother is one I struggle to understand. Her account of her mother is one of a loving mother who was sometimes misguided, afraid, and often alone – except when she wasn’t, but more on that. I grew up in a family where the phrase, “I would kill a rock for you” was routinely used – and I knew was never thrown about lightly. To have a mother who was all too human but at times gripped by fear and insecurity is something I can’t relate to. Yet, it paints a picture that helps me understand what created the young girl who was, as self-described, hard on the outside – soft and vulnerable on the inside.
Her earlier tragedy is followed up by watching her mother destroyed by a violent relationship with a “stepfather.” If only half of his actions are true as remembered, he is the poster boy for stiff laws regarding stalking and domestic violence. If they are all true? It’s time to revisit stiffer prison sentences. It is because of him, according to Stanton, that the family loses everything, leaving it all behind and moving away from Buffalo, NY. It’s his resurgence in the lives of the mother and daughter, who were in the process of rebuilding, that leads to the loss of another home, a child, and any opportunity Stanton may have had to move forward. All of this occurs by the time she is 18 years old. It is “stepdad” Curtis, who is the impetus for the move south, first to Greensboro, North Carolina, and then to the ATL.
Enter attorney Phaedra Parks
It is still within the year she has given up custody of her child. They meet because of Stanton’s relationship with artist Terrence Cook (also known as “Drama”)
Phaedra was his attorney – suing another rapper for money owed to him. Stanton identifies herself as one of his jump offs. They form an unlikely friendship – a practicing attorney and the deeply impoverished then 19 year old who spent more time than any child should – living on the streets.
It’s clear to me (via Stanton’s words at least) that she is enamored with Phaedra. She describes Parks as a high powered attorney wearing designer heels – a woman who drove her black Benz on days she wasn’t driving her white Jag. When Drama ends up in prison for armed robbery, the friendship continues. While Stanton is grateful for the friendship, it is puzzling to her (and me too, folks). She describes the group she’s fallen into (or more like sought out) by saying, “All of us were illegal, drug dealers, drug users, prostitutes, and hustlers.”… and there is Phaedra in the middle of that crowd, by Stanton’s account. Stanton claims she is showered by Parks with extravagant gifts and a lavish lifestyle, all thanks to her close friend.
Despite the Jag and Benz, Phaedra’s home is described as average. We learn that Phaedra, according to Stanton, loves to put her sex life on display (via toys around the bedroom) and that Stanton remembers that almost all talks with Parks become talks about sex – who, when, where, how, etc. There are references to the men Parks was allegedly involved with, including an unnamed NFL player who treated her poorly (please say it was NOT Chuck Smith!), a DJ — Stanton alleges she helped Parks stalk — one Parks didn’t like but as an entertainment attorney, dated to help her clients. Stanton even suspects that Parks is intimate with Drama at about the same time she is involved with him. WHOA! That is some allegation. Stanton even shares some of the attorney-client information about other clients she claims Parks shared with her. Humdinger!
We conclude with the mention of Apollo, that he will become Parks’ future husband and Stanton’s partner in crime. If you think you know this story from reading this recap? I can assure you, you don’t. I’d have to reprint the book in its entirety to lay the juicy details on you. It’s still for sale at Amazon. I would recommend that you read it and join us, here, for the book discussion.
Before I go rest, to recover from this story, here are some comments and questions explaining what I’ve taken from Stanton’s story, so far:
- Unless she has more dirt than a quarry and she’s hiding it from us, Stanton is laying it all bare. She has not painted herself as a sweet naïve girl who spent Sunday through Friday in church praying while leaving room for the devil to get ahold of her on Saturday when her guard was down.
I get the impression that she had a hard life, has given a lot of people a lot of hell, sought out all the wrong people to bring into her life, and didn’t know how to deal with her pain. As a result, she thought she knew it all, until she ran into a crowd who recognized that she was playing amateur hour and they were the real players.
- She thought she was holding her own. She was nowhere close to that. On the heels of giving up her first born, coming into contact with her vile rapist again and his other victims (her family members), and meeting a crowd who was a lot faster moving than she could have imagined, she finally found a place where she thought she belonged.
- She befriended someone who was the epitome of everything she thought she might have been, under other circumstances. What would she have become if not for the tragic rape and the equally tragic life with a stepfather who could have spit her rapist out as his own, in some ways.
- I’m curious about the “friendship” between the two women. By the time I finished working toward my degrees and entered the professional work world, I didn’t know any 19 year olds. What would lead a practicing attorney to befriend a 19 year old – most especially if she was only a “jump off” by her own description? Was it big sister – little sister or was there a surrogate mother-daughter relationship taking place. From Stanton’s description, I get the feeling that Stanton sees it as a grooming relationship – with Parks giving her a taste of the good life to help her become hungry for more. Time will tell.
Read more about the Stanton – Parks saga here at AllAboutTheTea. Check out the next installment on Tuesday, July 1st