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Book review: Eggshell Skull by Bri Lee

Eggshell Skull is Bri Lee’s thoughtful and thought-provoking memoir of her time as a judge’s associate, and later, pursuing justice for her own childhood abuse.

Both sections expose the weaknesses of the court system in the way it deals with victims of sexual abuse, but I found most striking its reflections on the behavior of so many men we live alongside.

We read about abusive step fathers, boyfriends and fathers who eventually seem normal in their evil. It is chilling that these offenders look so normal – neighbors who are indistinguishable from any other men in the street.

It is particularly disturbing when Lee watches a man transform into a snarling beast after he is found guilty – she wonders how he hid his anger so well during the trial.

Lee has a front row seat as abusers pass through the courts, and often out the front door as free men.

Later, she receives abuse as she crosses the street and can see the link between what she witnesses in court and the behavior she sees outside.

In contrast, she writes about the supportive, gentle and kind men in her own life, acknowledging NOT ALL MEN … It is clear that not all women who pass through the complex and sometimes absurdly slow justice system have the same level of support, which is both depressing and terrifying.

Lee’s writing is clear and honest as she tackles personal and legal issues, making the accessible and fascinating. She also adeptly explains the trauma of abuse, and it’s long term effects even on the victim who lives in comparative privilege.

I loved this book and definitely recommend it. Now, I’m looking forward to reading Lee’s Beauty, about the insidious role that the quest for beauty plays in the lives of women. 

Readability score: 9/10

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