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Attorney-at-Large is a book of the heart and mind--passionate, courageous, tender and stirring. Gaynell Gavin's protagonist, Anarchy Barbie, explores the strengths and the demerits of child custody law, cross-racial adoptions and foster home placements, the Indian Child Welfare Act, and juvenile law. Want to see how the law really works for children and families? Follow the observant, opinionated Anarchy Barbie as she defends victims of domestic violence, child abuse, and negligent parenting. Attorney-at-Large is provocative and infuriating, while also funny, gratifying, inspiring, and consistently engrossing in its narrative fusion of the personal and the political.
--Lisa Knopp, author of What the River Carries: Encounters with the Mississippi, Missouri, and Platte.
In this debut novella, a true tour de force, Gavin's protagonist rails against a legal system that gives short shrift to women, children, and minorities. She does this with spot-on dark humor, not suffering fools gladly. With fluent and urgent prose, the author gets up a full head of steam and takes no metaphorical prisoners. This novella is emotionally authentic, causing the reader by turns to laugh and cry at a legal system--and maybe even a society--run amok .
--Sue William Silverman, author of Love Sick: One Woman's Journey through Sexual Addiction
Writer and attorney Gay Gavin calls her protagonist "a stridently oppositional woman"--or maybe others call her that as she swings her weight against institutions seemingly designed to damage her clients, who have been abused and further abused by parents, foster parents, social service administrators, judges, schools, professional experts in racist systems, and others along the way. A Woman Warrior is what I'd call the eloquent author of this brilliant book about the practice of juvenile and family law. Skip this book at your peril, readers. The hero is smart, brave, feisty, and she tells a good story. She's Wonder Woman, Esq., practicing triage law.
--Hilda Raz, author of What Happens and TRANS
What a great piece of writing--packed with power, close observation, humanity, and humor. Gaynell Gavin shows the "back shop" of the law, an important institution of contemporary life, but avoids the awful, dead language in which law is so often clothed. Instead, there's important, real human drama in Attorney-at-Large.
-- John Palen, author of Open Communion: New and Selected Poemsand Small Economies.
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