Recommendation: Yes all men (particularly in the legal profession)
Where to read: Not on holiday
Read with: Tissues
In brief: I say mandatory for men because I suspect very little in this book will be strange or unfamiliar for anyone with lived experience of womanhood.
Content warning: sexual assault
Be nice to yourself while you’re getting through this.
TLDR, this is the story of Lee’s year as a tippy/associate in the Queensland District Court hearing trial after trial for awful criminal offences, largely sexual assault and sexual abuse, and how she decided to report her own.
Written in part while she was going through the process of reporting the assault and seeing the perpetrator drag the nightmare out time and time again, this is reeaaalllly freaking raw – we’re talking bulimia, self-harm, depression, PTSD, anxiety and alcoholism. It’s bloody awful, but it’s bracing to hear it.
She does adopt a self-consciously “literary” style which, unusually for me, I almost didn’t mind. It doesn’t feel like dishonest lit-wank in the way that the overuse of metaphor so often does. If anything, it adds emotional weight – you can feel her trying to come up with ways to describe or pin down impossible, slippery thoughts and reactions.
Frankly, this ought to be compulsory reading for everyone interested in practising in the criminal justice system, not because it’s an amazingly constructed, deep or profound work, but because it’s not a perspective you will or can get by reading the usual memoirs or textbooks or polemics (even the excellent ones).