Constance's mother systematically abused her daughter, both physically and emotionally, throughout her childhood. Regularly beaten and starved, the girl was so desperate she took herself off to Social Services and tried to get taken into care. When that failed, she swallowed bleach 'because it kills all known germs and my mother always told me I was a germ'. When Constance was thirteen, her mother simply moved out, leaving her daughter to fend for herself: there was no gas, no electricity and no food.
But somehow Constance found the courage to survive her terrible start in life. This is her heartrending - and ultimately triumphant - story.
Constance Briscoe practises as a barrister and in 1996 became a part-time judge - one of the first black women to sit as a judge in the UK. She lives in Clapham with her two children, Martin and Francesca. Her partner is Tony Arlidge QC.
'Utterly extraordinary . . . harrowing, often deeply disturbing, but ultimately inspiring' — Daily Mail
Reading the book is like an exercise in bottling up your rage. Afterwards, you feel helpless and disturbed. Which is only right. — Standard
An astonishing true story of hope over adversity — Mail on Sunday
Remarkable — Good Housekeeping
'Compelling . . . Disturbingly honest.' — Woman & Home
'Horrific, but remarkable too. Let us hope that Constance's story will inspire young people everywhere to not only hold onto their dreams and make them happen, but also to be better parents themselves.' — Lesley Pearse
'This is a lawyer's memoir with a difference, an inspiring antidote to the usual catalogue of tedious milestones towards legal eminence . . . She's also managed - a rare feat for a lawyer - to write an absorbing book in language untainted by convoluted legal-speak.' — Marcel Berlins, Guardian
UGLY is the life story of Constance Briscoe. Starved, beaten and told she was an "ugly waste of space", this is a heart-rending account of a mother's cruelty from one of the first black women to sit as a judge in the UK. — Elle