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Eggshell Skull

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4.37  ·  Rating details ·  6,715 ratings  ·  758 reviews
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 str
...more
Paperback, 358 pages
Published June 1st 2018 by Allen & Unwin (first published May 23rd 2018)
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Zoe Johnson I think it's actually a cicada. My take is that it's used because cicadas live underground for years, silent and unseen, but when they emerge are loud…moreI think it's actually a cicada. My take is that it's used because cicadas live underground for years, silent and unseen, but when they emerge are loud and impactful. They also shed their exoskeletons and are a symbol of rebirth. Or maybe I'm reading too much into it and it's just that (depending on the year) there is a tonne of them in Queensland during the summer ;)(less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 4.37  · 
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Courtney
Jun 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I want to get this book and smush it into the face of every single male in australia. Just smush it deep, deep into their face until they get it. Pipe dream.

This book is harrowing. When I finished it, I just put it down and cried. I cried for the author and her vindication. I cried for all the other women mentioned who didn't get theirs. And I cried for the women I know, many whom have had experienced trauma in their own lives.

Bri Lee writes a gripping and yet deeply disturbing memoir of her ti
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Vanessa
Jun 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Informative, and compelling. A memoir that serves as a reminder that women have had the short end of the stick since forever, it’s mostly a massive eye opener to the limitations and inadequacies of the judicial court system.

Bri is fresh out of Uni becoming a Judges associate in Brisbane, working the Judges circuit and hearing endless sexual abuse and assault cases, it’s during this time Bri’s memories are triggered and she remembers an incidence that occurred when she was only primary school ag
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Olive
Aug 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites-2018
Wow. Laced with heartbreak and strength, this is one of the best nonfiction books I've read all year.
Matthew Hickey
Jun 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018
This book should be compulsory reading for all men, but especially those in the law.

Bri Lee’s ferociously frank and fearless memoir exhorts us to honestly appraise our accepted wisdom, examine our institutional discrimination against women, and correct our unconscious disrespect of their experience.

I can’t commend this highly enough. Read it immediately.
✨    jamieson   ✨
✨ buddy read with taryn ✨

Eggshell Skull is a harrowing insight into the Australian justice system, and it's many downfalls. We follow Bri Lee - first through her experiences working as a judges associate in Queensland, primarily listening to sexual assault and child sex offence cases - and then into her experience taking her own childhood abuser to court. 

There is a lot of heavy subject matter so I give a content warning for: rape and sexual assault often described explicitly, unusual & cruel se
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Yasmina
Sep 03, 2018 rated it did not like it
I absolutely hate this book. I stopped reading when I had only 3 chapters left. I totally gave up. She is overwhelmingly privileged. I couldn't go on. I don't even want this damn book sitting on my bookshelf.
Katie Y.
I went to the Holland Park arrests court further down the road from the Brisbane Supreme Court and saw so many injustices occurring left and right. An Asian man who could not understand or speak English was spoken to in loud and jarring English that he had to come back next week. He kept shaking his head saying he couldn't understand and all the Magistrate did was speak louder to him. Further, as I sat there in Court 1, I understood that people who do not have access to legal representation are ...more
Clare
Oct 27, 2018 rated it it was ok
By the time I finished this book I was angry. Not angry for the author or at the justice system, but angry at the author for her overwhelming blindness to her privilege.

The first half of the book was interesting, where she appropriated the truly shocking experiences of marginalised and disadvantaged women and children who were victims of sexual crime. These are the true victims of the memoir - where the justice system fails them over and over again, and yet their experiences are being appropria
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Amanda - Mrs B's Book Reviews
Jul 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018-books, aww2018
*https://mrsbbookreviews.wordpress.com
4.5 stars
If there is one non fiction based memoir title you should read this year, make Eggshell Skull, by the incredibly brave Australian woman Bri Lee a priority. This is a scathing insight into the Australian justice system and the process of gaining a judicial result for a sexual assault claim. It is an incredibly raw and brave account of a young woman who finds herself on the other side of the justice system.

Bri Lee is the central figure behind Eggshell
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Jaclyn Crupi
Jul 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Lee’s relentless reportage of her year as a judge’s associate made me remember jury duty – a truly harrowing experience. I cannot imagine how anyone sits in court rooms every single day and hears all the vile ways humans hurt each other. How that experience triggered and inspired her to seek justice for herself was moving. Where this book was most successful was in the moments Lee interrogated the justice system as it relates to women and crimes against women. The fact it was so difficult for Le ...more
Sarah
Wow ... this is an unflinchingly honest and enthralling account of an intelligent and courageous young woman's quest for justice.
As a young teenager, Bri was sexually assaulted by a friend of her older brother. She doesn't report the crime to family members or the authorities, but a decade later has moved to the other side of the justice system. Having excelled in her legal studies at university, she is appointed as associate to a judge on Queensland's District Court circuit. As part of this rol
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Morgan
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ruth
Apr 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is my favourite non-fiction book since the Trauma Cleaner. Bri is a compelling, articulate writer who I can imagine being friends with. The insights she provides into the Australian criminal courts is absolutely fascinating. Her personal journey is incredibly brave, and she somehow manages to tell it with balance, poise, emotion and empathy. This incredibly book can and should spark a fire in the hearts and minds of our community. All I want to do is get this book into the hands of as many ...more
Susan
Jul 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, read2018
I was lucky to win an arc copy of this book via Dymocks.

Trigger Warning: This book deals with heavy sexual assault and rape content, often with victims that are children.

Eggshell Skull: A memoir about standing up, speaking out and fighting back we follow Lee, a judge’s associate working in the Queensland District Court. Through her position we see the many harrowing cases of sexual assault that courts hear on a daily basis and she is very honest with the realities, that very often perpetuators
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Molly
Jun 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
One of my favourite parts of my law degree was Jurisprudence and one of the things that struck me the most at first was John Austin's idea of the speech-act. Austin's theory is fairly simple: he says that by saying something, we do something. It was just a footnote in a course largely concerned with broader ideas of the law and morality but I was reminded of it while reading this book. This book, which alternates between confessional and conversational, is a giant pink verb.

The criminal justice
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Caroline
Jul 16, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: feminist, arcs
THIS book is powerful and raw. However, it's important to mention right at the start that this book is not suitable for all readers. It is the story of a woman's journey first as an associate (sitting in on many trials that feature crimes against women and children) and then as a complainant in her own child sexual assault trial. There's some harrowing descriptions (including some of self harm) and it can feel a little overwhelming at times so be warned going into it.

A lot can be said for the wr
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Serena Ford
Sep 23, 2018 rated it did not like it
Disappointed with this book. It really was a lot of rambling by a woman with big mental health issues. Of course every individual responds differently to trauma but in the context of all the horrific child abuse cases she describes in the book, having a boy put his hand down her pants 10 years ago didn’t seem comparable. Also, didn’t get her constant references to the type of people who voted for Trump being compared to the type of people who molest children. And her description of her friend pe ...more
Giselle A Nguyen
Jun 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Urgent, necessary reading especially in the current climate, and beautiful prose. Big trigger warning for a lot of the content in this book, but if you can stomach that it’s absolutely worth reading – this is compelling, important and ferociously brave stuff.
Cass Moriarty
Nov 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I confess I bought Eggshell Skull ( Allen & Unwin Books 2018) way back in winter when I heard Bri Lee speak at the Maleny Celebration of Books, and then I brought it home and in the months since, it has sat on my bedside table, in my TBR pile, its very beautiful but slightly unsettling cover beckoning me, while something else – some other trepidation – held me back. I expected that the book would be confronting and raw, and it is. I knew it would be difficult to read, and in places it is. I’d he ...more
K.
Trigger warnings: rape, sexual assault, rape and sexual assault of children, child pornography, domestic violence, mental health, eating disorder, self harm, misogyny, stalking.

Please please PLEASE take these trigger warnings very seriously. This book is very confronting as it deals not only with working on criminal cases but with the author reporting the sexual assault that happened to her during childhood.

When this book came out last year and everyone started raving about it, I read the blurb
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Alina Hamilton
Jun 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I couldn’t put this down. It was so well written and compelling, I just had to know what happened next. The voice of the author is strong and relatable, and despite some difficult subject matter does not speak down to the reader or gloss over hard truths. I cannot recommend it highly enough
Mel
Jul 14, 2019 rated it liked it
Read this based on recommendation from several people. While it addresses important themes such as the legal system and problems within, I didn't take to the book as much as I had hoped. There was lots of hype surrounding this one, and for me it doesn't meet the hype. I can see it is clearly an important discussion generator and I commend the author for speaking out and encouraging others to do so. However, I felt the book itself was only averagely written, it seemed repetitive at times, and to ...more
Michael Livingston
Jun 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
A clear-eyed and brave book about the challenges of tackling gendered violence (esp sexual assault) in the court system. Lee steps you through her experiences working in the district courts to highlight the subtle biases (systemic and cultural) that make convictions so hard to obtain and then lays out her own personal experience as a complainant. It's tough reading, but important.
Astrid Edwards
** Trigger warning: This review mentions sexual abuse and rape**

Bri Lee’s Eggshell Skull is an answer to anyone who ever asks why a woman (or less often, a man) doesn’t report sexual abuse or rape, or doesn’t pursue the matter through the legal system even if they do. Lee does not sugar coat what happens. The wheels of justice turn slowly, and the wheels of justice are not always fair.

Eggshell Skull is a personal story. Lee, a judge’s associate working in the Queensland District Court, lodged an
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Amy Polyreader
I truly felt as if I experienced the full force of this emotional roller coaster with Bri. An absolutely ‘clear-eyed’, empowering feminine force of a memoir, which has been produced in the most relevant of times. I even held back public tears during the acknowledgements.
Lee  drunkonbookz
May 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
- Fewer than one in five sex offenses reported to police result in charges being laid and criminal proceedings being investigated.

- Seventy per cent of people accused of criminal offenses plead guilty, but the number drops to about thirty per cent for sex offenses.

- Statistics from Eggshell Skull, Bri Lee

If you are like myself and already have little respect for the Queensland police department and the Justice system, this book only cements my feelings.
The amount of times I had to pause, take a
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Sam
Aug 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I want to give Bri Lee a big hug. I cried a lot while reading this. I cried for the author and all the other women in this book. I cried because of the way society treats women and victims of assault. I cried for myself. I thought of my own childhood traumas and how I'm rectifying living with them.

Bri Lee's writing is beautiful and gripping. I feel haunted by what I read here, but there is still also a feeling of catharsis and strength. I want every man to read this.
Alice
A fascinating insight into the Australian justice system and how useless it can be for victims of sexual violence and assault.

I found the writing a bit weak, with lots of unnecessary tidbits included and didn't like how the book skirted around Lee's assault for so long rather than just explaining to the reader what happened. I also felt that the book couldn't decide if it wanted to be a focus on the inner workings of a criminal courtroom in Australia or if it wanted to be a sexual assault survi
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elisabeth
Oct 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
(4.5 stars)
Elsie
Feb 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The most page-turning book I have ever held. Women’s treatment by the Australian legal system and the process of sexual assault claims has always, always made me sad and angry. This book put a fire in me. Courageous. Ugly. Brilliant. Please, please read it.
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“I read once that the human body slowly pushes shrapnel back out through the skin. That a shard of metal can take years to reach the surface and finally truly be expelled. Veterans get bits coming out of them decades after wars. Could the same thing happen to memories? Perhaps that was what I was feeling: an itchy, irksome thing, a foreign object inside me, moving just millimeters every year, tearing through me until it breached.” 4 likes
“Judges tell juries: if a defendant lies, it doesn’t necessarily mean he’s guilty, but if a woman is crying as she dials triple zero after being raped, she might just be putting on a show.” 2 likes
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