What I've been reading: Eggshell Skull
I've read some fantastic books over the past couple of months, mostly owing to the fact that I had the luxury of going to Thailand for a week and switching off all my devices to spend some quality time with me 'to read' pile. One that has stuck with me was one that was gifted to me by my mentor and close friend at my 21st Birthday- Eggshell Skull.
This was a tough, but incredibly compelling and rewarding read. Debut novelist Bri Lee, who also edits Hot Chicks with Big Brains, recounts the tale of her year working as a graduate lawyer, travelling around Australia with 'Judge' and hearing sexual assault and abuse cases, before deciding to take her own historical case to court.
What makes the book compelling is not only Lee's honesty (she is incredibly honest- the candour with which she recounts her own experience, and describes her struggle with mental illness is nearly unmatched), but also how she takes the time to explain the legal process to you. The jargon, the process, the outcome. You don't just hear an at times devastating and ultimately uplifting story of hope, but you also learn a hell of a lot about Australia's legal system- the good and the UGLY.
There are so many themes in this book; it feels like too much when you list them, but they ultimately weave together to create true literary genius. It feels like a coming of age novel- you are taken on the very real story of Bri's life as she finishes her studies, learns about what it is really like to work in her industry, falls in serious love, moves around and ultimately, decides to pursue her own justice for something that was done to her many years ago. However, it's probably a little heavy for younger teenagers- this is definitely one for readers over the age of sixteen.
It's been a couple of months since I read this and ultimately what has stuck with me is the incredible injustices that women and children face when attempting to navigate the legal system after experiencing sexual assault, harassment or rape. It is like a frustration that creeps over me from time to time, that will always sit at the bottom of my belly. This book is a call to action- for a better legal system.
I also enjoyed the story of Bri's relationships with her parents, Judge, and her partner. As a reader you get to watch those grow and evolve throughout the book, and being of a similar age and life stage as Bri, I could see that some of my relationships mirrored her experiences, which was incredibly comforting.
I suspect that this book has changed my life, although I don't know exactly how yet. I think it will be a reference point for me though, for lots of different reasons, throughout the rest of my life.
Eggshell Skull, Bri Lee, Allen & Unwin