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Eggshell Skull: A memoir about standing up, speaking out and fighting back

4.45  ·  Rating details ·  2,337 ratings  ·  326 reviews
'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
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)

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4.45  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,337 ratings  ·  326 reviews

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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
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
Olive (abookolive)
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.
✨    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 & crue
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.
Amanda - Mrs B's Book Reviews
Jul 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018-books, aww2018
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
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
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.
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
Jul 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read2018, non-fiction
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
Jul 16, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 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
Kaitee Yu
Kept me emotionally invested until the end. The passages about law and the legal process are very insightful, however the writer herself comes across as too dramatic. I am not belittling her events and the horrible things she's witness firsthand and experienced, but she has artificially created pause in places that needs none. She writes in a way that allows everyone to understand the problems our legal system faces, which no one else would have done. She is very brave to have tackled a giant wh ...more
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
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
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.
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
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.
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’ ...more
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
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.
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.
May 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: australian
This is a must read for anyone remotely interested in what justice for women looks like in Australia. Not only because of the content, but also because of how well it’s written. I’m very glad this book exists, and that Bri was brave enough to endure all of that and share her story with the world.
Jul 18, 2018 rated it liked it
This was both an informative and emotional read. A very detailed insight into our justice system and especially concerning the worst kind of criminal behaviour. Sexual crimes predominantly committed against women and children. Lee walks us through all that and then we join her on her own journey of seeking justice. As a memoir this was quite a compelling read and at times I forgot that this was actually a true account and these events actually occurred. Well written and not at all self absorbed ...more
Oct 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
(4.5 stars)
Jun 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book but it wasn't an easy read. It's a strong debut with powerful insights about the QLD 'justice' system. Bri moves between the systemic and personal throughout and is constantly engaging and light despite the dark content. What's more is her unfaltering capacity to question the system when those around her remain loyal to it. Reading this book has massively shaped and emboldened my attitudes as a survivor of sexual assault. Def recommend but serious content warnings for child sex ...more
Meg Vann
Jun 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A brilliant, searing, inspiring book! Lee describes abuse survival with clarity and courage and humour, linking her personal experiences to broader issues with such intelligence and compassion. It has me wondering about my own experiences of abuse and the resulting mental illness, and pondering my choices for action with a clear-gazed optimism. I’ll never feel alone in fighting The Freeze again! I couldn’t put this book down, it’s amazing!!
Jan 15, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5 stars

I think Bri Lee is pretty incredible, and having heard her speak a number of times about her own story and other topics, I think her story is also an incredible one. If there was ever a personification of ‘nevertheless, she persisted’ - Bri is it. For that I admire her immensely.

So perhaps I had set my expectations too high for this book because now that I’ve finally gotten around to reading it in full I’m surprised to find myself disappointed by it. Certainly it made me stop and think
Oct 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
I took a reaaaally long time to finish this book because I kept having to take breaks of time away from it. Be warned: this is a tough read. Important, yes, but tough. Lee is a talented writer who tackles a dark subject matter with poise. There is plenty to be learned from this memoir so I encourage others to stick it out.
Elsie Lange
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.
Sep 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Very confronting and anger-inducing, but well worth reading. I had to walk away from time to time and take a break, just because I found some of the content so overwhelming
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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.” 2 likes
“The majority of rapists aren’t actually repeat offenders; they’re not afflicted with an uncontrollable lust. Mostly they’re regular men, with otherwise regular sexual preferences, who see an opportunity and take it.” 1 likes
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