Gina Miller was the lead claimant in the 2016 constitutional legal case against the UK Government over triggering Article 50. This book is her personal account of why she followed through and what she believes in. It is both a call-to-action and encouragement for others to take strength from her story.
Part autobiography, Rise: Life Lessons in Speaking Out, Standing Tall, and Leading the Way also falls into the self-help and professional development genres, with some marketing and self-promotion thrown in. She writes about her early upbringing in Guyana (her father was the Attorney General of the island after the fall of Burnham) and her time at school in England. She started studying aged 11 while living alone with her equally underaged brother from 12, and had to work before lessons and at weekends. She did not see her parents for up to a year at a time.
Miller covers topics as diverse as domestic and sexual abuse, bullying, racism, misogyny, marketing methods, imposter-syndrome, and storytelling to engage clients. She also writes extensively about being a working mother and an activist. She comes across as strong and clear thinking, but also vulnerable. She is ultimately a determined fighter, and throughout the book we get insight into the origins of this trait. She has been the butt of vast amounts of private and public abuse (principally sexual and racist) and she followed up Viscount Philipps’ incitement to violence towards her on Facebook, winning the case.
The more she exposes these personal injustices in the second half of the book, the greater the tension is between the fact that she has not bought cases against most of the men who perpetrated them and that she continues to stand up for others.
At times the writing speeds easily along, and there are several touching images like her father brushing her hair every night and telling her about his work. But there are some are mixed metaphors and a great deal of repetition – some of which do bolster important beliefs like tolerance or reflect the difficult issues she is struggling with (why didn’t anyone else join her in the struggle for what was right, she often asks herself).
In the end, despite the muddled style and occasional posturing, the spirit of this remarkable woman comes through together with her sheer determination that has won her, and us, important democratic victories and safeguarded our human rights.