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Bully by Emme Dun


Reviewed by Timea Barabas

Bully is the debut novel of Emme Dun with which she made quite an entrance. This gay/lesbian, legal thriller based on true events will reveal to you the more dismal tones of the American justice system.

Although this book is about the legal system, the LGBT community and its struggles… although this book is about many things, the central theme is the sacred bond between a child and mother. Emme Dun presents two mirrored stories of custody lawsuits born out of revenge. Wendy White and Jennifer Dolan’s children are at risk of being taken away from them by spiteful ex-partners. This is the only string that ties together these completely different people living in their separate worlds. Wendy White is a lesbian veterinarian who gave up on the idea of ever finding true love again and settled (out of comfort) for only a breeze of romance. She gave birth with the help of artificial insemination to her Abigail, whom she swore to protect as soon as she held the baby in her arms. But soon she will discover that this promise will be harder to keep than she could have ever imagined. On the other hand, Jennifer serves to present the same issue set in a heterosexual relationship. However both families can be characterized as unconventional. Also, in both cases a battle is issued among the biological and “heart” parent. If you are curious about what exactly is a “heart parent”, Patricia Brown, one of the characters, can shed some light: it is “the other parent—not the biological parent, but the one who has been there all along nurturing and supporting the child”.