Hear our radio interview with Rebecca Grant, originally aired on KNSJ: http://www.eastcountymagazine.org/hear-our-interview-sticky-web-vengeanc...
A Sticky Web Of Vengeance: Memoirs Of A Coach’s Wife – The Story Of James And Rebecca Grant, by Rebecca Grant (RG7 Book Publishing, Dallas, Texas, 2014, 319 pages).
Book Review by Dennis Moore
February 26, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) - A Sticky Web Of Vengeance, a memoir by Rebecca Grant chronicles her life and times with James Grant, a Jamaican Pan American Games representative and head coach of the women’s team at the University of Iowa. This book by Grant, a devout Christian and mother of four small children and a recovering victim of domestic abuse before she met James Grant, is full of intrigue and jealousy, as well as greed and institutional malfeasance at the highest levels.
A Sticky Web Of Vengeance: Memoirs Of A Coach’s Wife – The Story Of James and Rebecca Grant, depicts Rebecca’s life with James Grant, and his fateful battle with cancer. As a man of a dubious past, who’d fathered five children by five different women, James Grant struggles to have relationships with the grown children he hadn’t raised. While Rebecca initially encourages the relationships between “Jimmy” and his children, she discovers their hatred for her because of her light-skinned complexion, age, and American heritage.
This intriguing memoir actually starts on a cold January day, as the author meets a friend for lunch, who introduces her to James Grant, the head track coach at a major university. She rebuffs his attention, considering him too old. Undeterred, James Grant, of Jamaican roots, campaigns to win Rebecca’s heart.
James Grant would wine and dine Rebecca; take her to meet his mother in Jamaica, and gradually break down the barriers of her resistance and captured her heart. The author graphically tells of many episodes of erotic behavior between the two of them, in hotels and limousines, prior to their eventual marriage.
Clearly, the author did not realize just what she was getting into prior to her involvement with James Grant. As her relationship with Grant progressed, the more revelations about his dalliances with other women, which would carry over into legal problems with these women and the University of Iowa. Perhaps the author was blinded by love, despite the telltale signs of the fragility of the relationship. Or perhaps the author was a victim of her earlier domestic violence, as she actually alludes to it in her story. The author shared with me in many phone conversations, giving insight into how this situation evolved, which might explain the ensuing behavior.
There is plenty of deception in this book, starting with James Grant denying his own son Justin. Rebecca actually had to find it out from Justin that James Grant had five children by five different women, yet she still would decide to marry him after she got over the hurt and disillusionment. Rebecca dealt with it by rationalizing it in a Donnie Hathaway song; A Song For You, which states: “I know your image of me is what I hope to be. I’ve treated you unkindly but darlin’ can’t you see. There’s nothing more important to me. Baby can’t you see through me. Cause we’re alone and I’m singing this song to you.” Click to listen to the song here. Clearly, the author is a romantic, that possibly clouds her judgment.
Perhaps the underlying reason for this book, A Sticky Web Of Vengeance, is the ensuing lawsuit involving the University of Iowa after James Grant had died of cancer – and the attempt of the author to claim what she felt was rightly belonging to her through marriage. When money is involved, characters abound, demonstrated by James Grant’s ex-wife J’lalah Reynolds. In a trial started on September 8, 2008, with Judge Hill presiding – a trial filed by Mrs. Rebecca Grant disputing the second will that Craig Bender, John Morris and J’lalah Reynolds had drawn up and supposedly had Mr. James V. Grant sign the same day he was discharged from the hospital. See attached letter.
Rebecca nurtures and cares for James during his battle with cancer. Upon his death, his children sue for his estate, forcing a final battle between Rebecca Grant and them. It is not pretty! She outlines in this memoir the University of Iowa involvement in this sordid mess, that would make the Penn State fiasco with Joe Paterno, pale in comparison. She pulls no punches as she categorically includes University of Iowa coaches Larry Andrews and Vincent Hudson, while alluding to her stolen mail – which brought about Iowa Senator Tom Harkin attempting to intervene on her behalf.
Dr. Michelle T Weckmann of the University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics was the key witness for the defendants, as stated in the author’s book, and Weckmann stated that Mr. Grant was competent to make these decisions and that a test was performed that guaranteed he was competent to make such decisions prior to court. Yet in her deposition, she stated she never performed a test on Mr. Grant stating she didn’t know if he was competent or not to sign any documents that involved competency. The author allege in her memoir about her life with James Grant that Dr. Weckmann falsified medical records and took all control out of Mr. Grant’s primary care physician’s hands. The author further states, that Dr. Weckmann was initially called in to test Mr. Grant’s mental competency, yet this was never done and Mrs. Grant was never informed of any results, because there weren’t any.
Furthermore, the author alleges that Dr. Weckmann, without any testing, put Mr. Grant on one additional medication, added to his list of already numerous meds - which was Haloperidol (Haldol), an antipsychotic which works by changing the actions of chemicals in the brain.
In the end, and it truly is not the end, for the author continues to strive for justice in this case. Although the author has the benefit of her husband’s will leaving virtually everything to her, after a new trial was denied, the case was appealed to the Iowa Supreme Court. She lost in 2008 in regard to the will. The Court decided nothing inappropriate had occurred during the proceedings. In all, the estate valued between $600,000 - $700,000, was split among the five adult children each receiving $50,000 apiece, with some disclosed and undisclosed amounts for the lawyers. The author states, in accordance with Iowa law however, the spouse cannot be excluded completely. Therefore, she received one-third of the estate for the wife allowance.
Although her heart and soul is gone, James Grant, this tenacious fighter and courageous leader that has been in the forefrront for righteousness in the Cedar Rapids School District in the second largest city in Iowa - now devotes her time to championing causes such as bullying and racism. Just reently, in the Iowa Caucuses, the author could be found in the midst of Democratic Candidate Bernie Sanders and others. Of course, with her book in hand! All this is therapeutic, for clearly the hurt and pain is still there.
In addition to continuing her battle against the University of Iowa at getting to the truth about the tragic death of her husband, which she has alleged in numerous phone conversations to me of a conspiratorial nature, she is forever the political activist as indicated here at an event in Iowa where former President Clinton is campaigning for his wife Hillary.
In this intriguing book, which must be read, there are so many sub-plots to this story that will keep you spellbound. This book is riveting and I encourage the readers to sort through this Sticky Web of Vengeance.
There are sordid and salacious aspects of this book that are best demonstrated in the author's interview on our "East County Magazine Live!" radio show, by clicking here.
Dennis Moore has been the Associate Editor of the East County Magazine in San Diego and the book review editor for SDWriteway, an online newsletter in San Diego that has partnered with the East County Magazine, as well as a freelance contributor to EURweb based out of Los Angeles. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can follow him on Twitter at: @DennisMoore8.