Costance Briscoe

This is a marked coursework task out of twenty. We have read long extracts from Constance Briscoe’s 2006 autobiography “ugly”. We have seen news night interview and read a daily mail interview with her mother. Repeatedly kicked, punched, terrorized and yet survived all that to become England’s first black barrister1 Constant Briscoe reveals her shocking past in her autobiography, UGLY. Now Constance Briscoe, who lives with her partner, Anthony Arlige who is a distinguished lawyer and 2 children.

Martin and Francesca, and has a great occupation of a barrister for the last ten years, has decided to tell the truth about her disturbing past after astonishing years of shielding it! In the shocking, yet inspired book she describes how she was tortured day after day for wetting the bed but couldn’t do anything about it. The book is mainly based on the pain that she went trough in her childhood and how day after day of torture from her mother and her mother’s partner led her to attempt suicide. She did this by drinking bleach but unfortunately for her she didn’t die.

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The prologue starts of with her wanting to sign herself up for care but the social worker turning her back. She also describes how her mother’s torture made her stress levels extremely high as her hair started falling out and her bed wetting didn’t stop even though her doctor assumed it would do in about six months of using her bed wetting alarm. But the book also describes her academic life and how she was really ambitious and succeeded by getting into college. But theirs always a catch in a story and in someone’s real life.

This time her grant form got ripped up and there were no surprises on who ripped it up. Constance wrote about her being upset because her mother wouldn’t let her go to grammar school although all of her other friends were going because she thought that Constance wasn’t clever enough and, absurdly because she wet the bed. She also wrote in the book and also printed this extract on a article for the daily mail that her mother ripped her grant form up for university. ‘Why would I do this? The fact that she got into university is down to my hard work…

‘ was what her mother said to this ‘accusation’ in her interview. She also said in this book that her mother was a cash addict sleeping with her husband, even after the separation, and while he was asleep she would steal wads of cash from his purse. Carmen also stabbed George once in the stomach with scissors while pregnant wit Patsy. Constance wrote in the book that she witnessed it. But her mothers declaration to this was that ‘how could she have seen it if I was pregnant with patsy? ‘ In her book she describes her family mainly.

The villain as we all know is her mother, Carmen but surprisingly she also admits that her mother looked like a films star. Garfield Eastman is another villain in the book. Then there are all her eleven sisters and brothers (some step siblings) and Denise was adopted. George, Constance’s father is the good in the book. But that’s not what Carmen says. She says he’s a bad man who didn’t help raise the children. ‘My mother kneed me in the face then punched me as hard as she couldn’t the stomach. I was only thirteen and she attacked me like this all the time.

‘ Something that is described well in the book is the abuse she had to suffer. In the book a split split stick is introduced. This was taken from the floor board on the stairs. Her mother used to terrorize her with this stick and threaten her by hitting her so she would wet the bed. Constance also wrote about the time when she was sliced on the wrist because she didn’t pluck the chicken feathers properly. But Carmen wasn’t the only one doing all the terrorizing. Eastman, Constance claims that he lashed her with his belt, stubbed cigarettes on her hand and hurt her.

In one particularly bad fight he smashed her head through the window. This went to court. But Carmen cannot remember anything like this in her past. She said ‘he helped me with the children. He was a good gentleman. ‘ And its staggering as Eastman’s solicitor cannot find any statements to prove this. Being tormented and hurt viciously wasn’t Constance’s only problems. Because of the terrible stress and pressure she was being put under, she suffered from hair loss and had to wear a wig to cover it up.


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