BOOK REVIEW: Eggshell Skull by Bri Lee

The Blurb (from Goodreads):

'Scorching, self-scouring: a young woman finds her steel and learns to wield it' - Helen Garner

EGGSHELL SKULL: A well-established legal doctrine that a defendant must 'take their victim as they find them'. If a single punch kills someone because of their thin skull, that victim's weakness cannot mitigate the seriousness of the crime.

But what if it also works the other way? What if a defendant on trial for sexual crimes has to accept his 'victim' as she comes: a strong, determined accuser who knows the legal system, who will not back down until justice is done?

Bri Lee began her first day of work at the Queensland District Court as a bright-eyed judge's associate. Two years later she was back as the complainant in her own case.

This is the story of Bri's journey through the Australian legal system; first as the daughter of a policeman, then as a law student, and finally as a judge's associate in both metropolitan and regional Queensland-where justice can look very different, especially for women. The injustice Bri witnessed, mourned and raged over every day finally forced her to confront her own personal history, one she'd vowed never to tell. And this is how, after years of struggle, she found herself on the other side of the courtroom, telling her story.

My Thoughts:

A poised and well-calibrated memoir of a young woman who decides to face her childhood abuser and the courts, despite her inside knowledge of the ordeal that awaits her. The title comes from a legal term that means that, if someone lashes out against someone else and they die because their skull is eggshell-thin, then the attacker is still the cause of their death and so therefore guilty.

Bri Lee is a lawyer. When she was a little girl, one of her brother’s friends assaulted her on a trampoline in their suburban back garden. She never told anyone. The memory haunted her, however. Shame and self-loathing caused a long struggle with eating disorders and self-harm. When she began to work as a judge’s associate in the Queensland District Court, the number of sexual assault cases that came before the bench triggered her memories. Shame turned to anger and to resolve. Even though she knew the difficulty of getting a conviction so long after the event, she at last decided to pursue justice. Eggshell Skull is the story of her journey, and it’s fierce and powerful and very moving.


You may also like my review of Butterfly On A Pin by Alannah Hill:

VINTAGE BOOK REVIEW: Butterfly On A Pin by Alannah Hill

Kate Forsyth
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