Fiction - Thriller - Legal
262 Pages
Reviewed on 03/23/2015
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Author Biography

Emme Dun is a lawyer and has worked in both the private and public sectors including clerking for a judge. Emme served as the president of the LGBT student group in law school and, later, as a board member of an LGBT bar association. Emme also co owned a business catering to the LGBT community. Emme lives in Central Ohio with her spouse, her spouse’s child and their dogs and cats. Emme is also an avid Ohio State Buckeye fan.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Sandy Appleyard for Readers' Favorite

First time author Emme Dun has done a remarkable job of pulling together a thought-provoking and important story about the gay rights movement, one that will touch many readers regardless of beliefs or sexual orientation. The title is apt since at the heart of Bully are two couples; one homosexual, another heterosexual, who are being bullied into surrendering their full parental rights as retribution from the other party for breaking up the relationship.

There is an important lesson to be learned in this novel, and it isn’t simply about ‘coming out’ of the proverbial homosexual closet, or fighting for LGBT rights; it’s more about reading the signs of a failed relationship and acting on them, especially when children are involved. Bully illustrates the anguish and familial turmoil that can happen when an unstable person is pushed away much too long after they've been given a free ride. It’s about what can happen when people exploit laws, and corrupt members of the justice system work hand-in-hand for their own personal benefit, dismissive of what damages they inflict on families.

Emme Dun’s knowledge of the American justice system is clear and well-defined as she paints an unambiguous picture of court proceedings and the sabotage occurring behind each custody case. Bully is a nail-biting, heart-breaking, and educational account of what can unfold when hot worldly issues are mixed with the failure of the systems that have been put in place to protect us. This is an account of the domino effect that can happen to anyone involved in a parental relationship, whether homosexual or heterosexual; Bully is entertaining, enlightening, and has been tastefully written to maintain equal understanding and respect for all walks of life.

Mamta Madhavan

Bully by Emme Dun is a story set against the backdrop of a period when the AIDS epidemic was at its heights. Many gay and lesbian parents were treated badly by the law. Wendy White made the mistake of having a child while being involved with Windy Furber. Instead of leaving her to raise the daughter alone, the author takes us through a child custody turned murder case plot. In this story of heartache, love, redemption and murder, readers see Joanna Crawford, an elected family court judge giving shared custody rights to non parents. The story also tells the readers about Wendy White, a lesbian, single mother, and Jennifer Dolan, a widow, and what good they must do for their child, keeping their best interests in mind.

This remarkable story was inspired by true events, lending credibility to the atrocities committed against gays and lesbians during the time when the AIDS fear was at its peak. All gay and lesbian parents were looked down upon by society and given step-motherly treatment. The author is quite expressive and vocal about her feelings on this topic and this legal thriller keeps readers glued to the book. Judge Crawford, Windy Furber and Wendy White remain etched in readers' memories for a long, long time. The book covers the 1980s where even Joanna Crawford's parents were stripped of their parental rights due to the hysteria over AIDS epidemic. The legal issues, courts, lawyers, documents and trials make this story very interesting and exciting to readers.

K.C. Finn

Bully is a courtroom and family drama written by debut author Emme Dun and based on true events in her life which began in the 1980s. Spanning a brief history of LGBT since the dreaded AIDS epidemic, the plot of Bully centres around the issue of child custody and the persecution of same-sex couples as they fight for their rights in court. The books centers on the experiences of three women, the first of whom is Joanna Crawford, daughter of a gay father, who grows up to become a judge in family court with a vision of changing the way things are done. The other central characters are Wendy White and Jennifer Dolan, both single mothers who must fight for the rights of their children. All three women’s lives are chronicled in the run-up to these events, explaining how they came to be part of the situation in Judge Crawford’s courtroom.

Emme Dun tells a very important story with pertinent issues for today, and readers of Bully, especially younger ones, would certainly be fascinated and horrified to see the atrocious treatment of the LGBT community only a few generations ago. That said, the writing of Bully is heavily detailed and sometimes fraught with too much back story and detail, making it a difficult read in places. Despite this it is very much a worthwhile read and presents a harrowing look at the treatment of lesbian women in particular, with an important representation of how “the best interests of a child” aren’t necessarily so in a court of law.