Book By My Bedside: On The Frontline With The Women Who Fight Back // Stacey Dooley


Title: On the Frontline with the Women Who Fight Back

Author: Stacey Dooley

What I Think So Far: On the Frontline with the Women Who Fight Back starts with an introduction that fast forwards through Dooley’s career as a TV journalist, from her start on Blood, Sweat and T-shirts (2008) to where she finds herself in 2018, sharing a flat with her (now ex) boyfriend Sam and their dog, Bernie. Each chapter thereafter is named for the women that she has met in the decade she’s been on our screens documenting their hardships and the violence they endure on a daily basis. Dooley’s career has taken her all over the world including her first solo project in the Ivory Coast in 2012, investigating femicide and abortion in Honduras in 2015 and in 2016 in Moscow asking the polarising question of “is it empowering or is it degrading to sell your body?” And these are the stories that this book tells, each chapter acts as a standalone account of incredible women all over the world. Dooley writes informally and refreshingly, making you feel as if you are sitting in the room with her and her contributors. She evokes images that your worst nightmares couldn’t conjure and asks all the questions you wish you could ask when confronting paedophiles, murders, and rapists. It doesn’t make for light reading, but each page-turning story keeps me picking it up each evening for a chapter before bed. Especially as the book isn’t necessarily written in chronological order, so you can pick and choose which chapter to read and jump between them if you don’t feel like reading every chapter in the order they’re written.

Would I Recommend It?: Definitely. If you’re a fan of Stacey Dooley on TV, you’ll love her in print too. Her charming, down to earth personality comes to life in the pages of a book that shows the darker side to humankind. While the book may cover some horrific topics, the core of each story is the inspirational women who have fought for their lives on the frontlines of war zones and unimaginable trauma. They’ve faced violence, death, and being treated as property to be owned and punished. Each story shows their strength and resilience. It’s a tough read and therefore may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but definitely worth the read. 

Rating: 8/10 

Words by Kate Goodyer

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