Author: Ellie Boatman
It was Charles Dickens who stated in his famous novel Oliver Twist, “the law is an ass,” and perhaps in some instances we would have to agree with him. However, what is even more alarming is when judges are bigger asses when they exhibit judicial bias or they abuse their wide discretionary powers that is accorded to them within the family court system. They may even, in certain instances, look the other way when there is a question of attorney ethics. All of this leads to a violation of due process that every citizen is entitled to under our democratic legal system. Such denial of justice was experienced by Ellie Boatman Conger, principal protagonist in Ellie Boatman’s debut novel, Unbridled Injustice.
Many authors have turned to fiction to provide a beacon of enlightenment in understanding bitter struggles during dark times, and Boatman is no exception, as she uses this genre very effectively in narrating how one woman from Kentucky had been wronged by the judicial system.
Set against Lexington Kentucky’s equestrian community, the novel tells the story of Ellie, who after vacationing for a week in Florida with close friends, arrives home at the airport only to be greeted with a divorce petition from her husband Roy. This comes as quite a shock to a woman who believed that life could not be sweeter. After all, she had three great children, a successful husband, a gorgeous home and farm that included several prized ponies, and the respect of her hometown social community.
However, all is not as it appears and as Ellie asserts, “sometimes our lives are like sleepwalking. When we finally awaken we have no idea where we are and even less how we managed to get there.”
Shortly after receiving the divorce petition, Ellie finds herself embroiled in very nasty and costly judicial proceedings that could mean the loss of custody of her children to her husband. To further aggravate this frightful situation, Ellie regrettably engages a young and inexperienced attorney, who was not too swift on his feet and consequently is outmaneuvered by the unethical tactics and devious behavior of his opponent, who uses every trick in the book to make life miserable for Ellie. Adding a little more drama into the narrative is the grotesque possibility of child molestation that is ignored by a judge, who has her own agenda, and a lazy social worker assigned to the case.
For a first time author, Boatman shows a great deal of confidence in her story- telling abilities, although at times the pony show scenes wear a bit thin, slowing down the pace of the novel. Nonetheless, this hard-hitting narrative is a page turner not only because of its plot, but also the strong message it conveys. Conger gets top marks for her clarity and richness of voice, all of which contribute to the reader’s ease in empathizing with Ellie’s anger and despair, as she fights the sometimes unfairness of the judicial system in order to gain the custody of her children. In the end, does justice prevail?