Defense of an Other
Note: I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review and as part of this blog tour. All opinions are my own and honest on how I feel about the book!
5 Magic Balls!
Today’s blog post/review is part of a BLOG TOUR!
SEE MORE INFORMATION BELOW!
(Provided by Clink Street Publishing, Publisher of the book!)
Defense of an Other begins in the French Quarter with a day in the life of a young lawyer named Matt Durant gone horribly awry. After a few beers, Matt works up the courage to visit a gay bar, where he meets a stranger named Joey Buckner. When Matt and Joey duck into an alley behind the bar to take a leak, three drunks target them for a hate crime and beat up Joey, which forces Matt to attack and kill one of the men. Matt is then arrested for murder, thrown in Orleans Parish Prison and calls his boss for help, forcing him out of the closet. The novel then follows the course of his trial and explores its consequences. Defense of an Other is the debut novel from a trans, practicing lawyer born and raised in Louisiana, who graduated from Dartmouth College and then became the Editor-in-Chief of the University of Chicago Law Review. Her seventeen year career has included a one-year clerkship for the appellate court with jurisdiction over Louisiana federal trial courts and 16 years of civil litigation. Heavily influenced by political fiction like Bryce Courtenay’s The Power of One, in Defense of an Other southern storytelling meets the gritty legal realism of Law & Order.
So first and foremost, I was so onboard to read this book because it is written by a fellow transgender individual. You know I had to support my transgender sister, but that was only part of the equation. This book sounded like it would be good. I wasn’t disappointed either. Just to put it in perspective and have you, my readers, understand why I gave my first 5-magic ball review for this book since starting rating books, I read this book in the matter of 2 days. I am a slow reader usually. It isn’t because I devour every single word and let them gestate or something like that, I am just unfortunately a slow reader. The publicist reached out to remind me that I was being a part of the tour and I e-mailed back that I had not received a copy. This was literally just a few days ago! I was worried I would not be able to get it done before the time of review. I let the publicist know this and she offered to send an extract of the book, if I couldn’t do that. Well, lo and behold, I started the book and devoured it. I found myself entrenched into this world that Mead created for Durant.
This is not a one-note book. You are taken on an emotional journey with a character. You feel compassion, sadness, happiness, and every single emotion that one can feel while reading a book. This book, however, is about more than just a journey of a singular character, it is an important book. It showcases, I wish I had more eloquent words than I do, just how vital it is to have protections for sexual orientation. This book was more than a book, it was an educational experience. It is a book that is so vital to be out on the market. Not only because we see what it means to not have protections for sexual orientation in the law, but also because Mead showcases ways to protect yourself and also at the end of the Kindle (.mobi) version that I received, there was an inclusion of important questions regarding the content of the book. These questions linked back to important aspects of law and gave me pause, even as an already aware transgender individual. They made me think deeper about the book and understand why this book was so important to find an audience to read it. This book needs, no begs, to be read by the masses.
Yes, the book has some of the obvious cliches of any book within the LGBT family. Coming out drama? Yes, this is here. Shame because of who they are? Yes, that is here. These cliches though, do not feel like unnecessary aspects of the story. These feel like very important notches engraved into the very spine of the main character and the story’s heart. We, the reader, see so much more than what characters see. We know what truly happened to the main character, Matt Durant. I felt for this main character at every single vital moment of this book. I felt gut-punched when he did. He was not a perfect character either. This character was flawed. He made horribly bad decisions, but they always felt like natural decisions that anyone could have made. He had to make decisions sometimes based on his very left, especially during the latter part of the book. While I have not been in the exact situation he found himself within, I found that I could identify strongly with this character. I could see aspects of the realities of being LGBT woven in, which is probably helped by the fact that the writer is part of the community. I knew these pains. That shame you hold onto, even after you come out. It goes away with time, but it takes a while. Mead really captures all of these feelings so effortlessly, which is why I was able to read the book within such a short amount of time. I wanted, no needed, to see what would happen to Matt. I needed to know how the story ended. The ending made me cry because I had journeyed with the character to that moment. I had seen the world through his eyes and understood it. I felt his pain and knew that he would get through this, he was a survivor and resilient. To have that level of connection with a character highlights why this book is so good.
The book, however, is deeper. Highlighting the issues LGBT people face in terms of the law. Yes, some of these aspects have changed, since the book focuses on 2007. The fact, however, is LGBT people still face discrimination. We still have to fear that someone will use a loophole to make us lose our jobs, arrest us, or any number of things to make our lives more difficult. This book highlights these struggles. I commend Mead for writing a truthful work of fiction. For creating something so refreshing honest, that it hurts. Thank you for giving a voice to marginalized individuals that have suffered similar fates to your fictional character, Matt. You gave a voice to them and I appreciate that so much. This book feels so deeply personal to me. It moved me. I am truly beyond thankful that I get to be on this blog tour for this book, so that I can tell you just how truly honestly it is. I don’t know why Mead wanted to hurt me so deep by this book, but you did Grace Mead and I thank you for it. It reminded me what a book is capable of. I highly recommend reading this book and to set with the contents afterwards. Read Mead’s questions, if they are available in your edition. Understand the context of everything that happens and hopefully be changed for the better because of it.
Here is some information about the author:
Grace is a practicing lawyer born and raised in Louisiana who graduated from Dartmouth College and then became the Editor-in-Chief of The University of Chicago Law Review. Her 17-year career has included a one-year clerkship for the appellate court with jurisdiction over Louisiana federal trial courts and 16 years of civil litigation.
BLOG TOUR INFORMATION:
Here is the list of other book blogs that are part of this blog tour! Please visit them!
Here are the links to the blogs, so you can easily check out their posts throughout the blog tour!
I know I will be checking them out during it!
Monday 12th November
Tuesday 13th November
Wednesday 14th November
Thursday 15th November
Friday 16th November
Monday 19th November
Tuesday 20th November
Wednesday 21st November
Thursday 22nd November
Friday 23rd November