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Nothing But the Truth

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An intimate and no-holds-barred memoir by Canada's top defence lawyer, Nothing But the Truth weaves Marie Henein's personal story with her strongly held views on society's most pressing issues, legal and otherwise. With Nothing But the Truth, Marie Henein, arguably the most sought-after lawyer in the country, has written a memoir that is at once raw, beautiful, and altogeth An intimate and no-holds-barred memoir by Canada's top defence lawyer, Nothing But the Truth weaves Marie Henein's personal story with her strongly held views on society's most pressing issues, legal and otherwise. With Nothing But the Truth, Marie Henein, arguably the most sought-after lawyer in the country, has written a memoir that is at once raw, beautiful, and altogether unforgettable. Her story, as an immigrant from a tightknit Egyptian-Lebanese family, demonstrates the value of strong role models--from her mother and grandmother, to her brilliant uncle Sami who died of AIDS. She learned the value of hard work, being true to herself and others, and unapologetically owning it all. Marie Henein shares here her unvarnished view on the ethical and practical implications of being a criminal lawyer, and how the job is misunderstood and even demonized. Ironically, her most successful cases made her a "lightning rod" in some circles, confirming her belief that much of the public's understanding of the justice system is based on popular culture, and social media, and decidedly not the rule of law. As she turns 50 and struggles with the corrosive effect on women of becoming invisible, Marie doubles down on being even more highly visible and opinionated as she deconstructs, among other things, the otherness of the immigrant experience (Where are you really from?), the pros and cons of being a household name in this country, opening her own boutique law firm, and the likes of Martha Stewart and her commoditization of previously unpaid female labour. Nothing But the Truth is refreshingly unconstrained and surprising--a woman at the top of her game in a male-dominated world.


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An intimate and no-holds-barred memoir by Canada's top defence lawyer, Nothing But the Truth weaves Marie Henein's personal story with her strongly held views on society's most pressing issues, legal and otherwise. With Nothing But the Truth, Marie Henein, arguably the most sought-after lawyer in the country, has written a memoir that is at once raw, beautiful, and altogeth An intimate and no-holds-barred memoir by Canada's top defence lawyer, Nothing But the Truth weaves Marie Henein's personal story with her strongly held views on society's most pressing issues, legal and otherwise. With Nothing But the Truth, Marie Henein, arguably the most sought-after lawyer in the country, has written a memoir that is at once raw, beautiful, and altogether unforgettable. Her story, as an immigrant from a tightknit Egyptian-Lebanese family, demonstrates the value of strong role models--from her mother and grandmother, to her brilliant uncle Sami who died of AIDS. She learned the value of hard work, being true to herself and others, and unapologetically owning it all. Marie Henein shares here her unvarnished view on the ethical and practical implications of being a criminal lawyer, and how the job is misunderstood and even demonized. Ironically, her most successful cases made her a "lightning rod" in some circles, confirming her belief that much of the public's understanding of the justice system is based on popular culture, and social media, and decidedly not the rule of law. As she turns 50 and struggles with the corrosive effect on women of becoming invisible, Marie doubles down on being even more highly visible and opinionated as she deconstructs, among other things, the otherness of the immigrant experience (Where are you really from?), the pros and cons of being a household name in this country, opening her own boutique law firm, and the likes of Martha Stewart and her commoditization of previously unpaid female labour. Nothing But the Truth is refreshingly unconstrained and surprising--a woman at the top of her game in a male-dominated world.

30 review for Nothing But the Truth

  1. 5 out of 5

    chantel nouseforaname

    An enigma lets us in. First off, I love the images that started every chapter and all the images interspersed throughout the book. I’ve always been intrigued by this woman, although parts of me were confounded by her when I’d first heard and seen her during the now infamous trial of a once legendary, now disgraced abuser scumbag. I’m mad at myself for mentioning him in a review of her book, but I’m sure she knows that that’s how most of the Canadian public were introduced to her. For those who a An enigma lets us in. First off, I love the images that started every chapter and all the images interspersed throughout the book. I’ve always been intrigued by this woman, although parts of me were confounded by her when I’d first heard and seen her during the now infamous trial of a once legendary, now disgraced abuser scumbag. I’m mad at myself for mentioning him in a review of her book, but I’m sure she knows that that’s how most of the Canadian public were introduced to her. For those who are unfamiliar, Marie Henein is a prolific Toronto-based Criminal Defence Lawyer. She’s the 15th most powerful person in the City according to Toronto Life Mag and one of Toronto’s Top 25 most influential lawyers. The women in the legal field in Toronto that I know, and I know a few, either completely love her (most), or completely hate her, there is no middle ground. Marie Henein is an unapologetic leader who does what she has to do. She’s completely aware of the failings and blindspots of the Canadian justice system and she knows the ways that the system has been created to keep women in law out of it, running away from it or to keep them second-guessing themselves, all of which she refuses to do. I enjoyed the look into her private/public life. I went down the rabbit hole with her as she tore through so many of the points of contention that have become stuck in her craw due to her being a visible, non-white, non-male, shoulder-baring leader in the legal field. A titan in the truest sense. Nothing But the Truth finds her reflecting, dusting off the dirt that folks have wrongly thrown on her name, talking to her peers in the field as well as future hopefuls in the field, dropping gems and showing us that it’s nothing but hard work, persistence, and the ability to be spicy that’s going to get you ahead in life. She’s professional, insightful, inspiring and reserved. I respect her grind. More musings on her book can be found here, here and here.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jess

    Nothing but the Truth is excellent. Absolutely excellent! I am grateful to Libro.fm for the ALC. If you've come for a defense of any kind, you will not receive it. There is nothing to defend. If you've come looking for details about the cases in which Henein was involved, you will not find them. This is a book about Marie Henein. It is her story first and foremost. She speaks of her family, her career, and her unending passion for criminal law and democracy. In the moments where her story include Nothing but the Truth is excellent. Absolutely excellent! I am grateful to Libro.fm for the ALC. If you've come for a defense of any kind, you will not receive it. There is nothing to defend. If you've come looking for details about the cases in which Henein was involved, you will not find them. This is a book about Marie Henein. It is her story first and foremost. She speaks of her family, her career, and her unending passion for criminal law and democracy. In the moments where her story includes the lives of others, you will find people described with dignity, care, and deep respect. I love a memoir that includes tributes to people who have helped shape the author! What I found most compelling, however, are the sections in which Henein defends democracy. Because of the nature of her career, so much of her day cannot be described in detail without divulging protected information. So, Henein pivots to a discussion of the ways in which the Canadian justice system operates as a democratic institution and the strengths and limitations therein. This is a cleverly crafted memoir in which Henein reveals only what she wants readers to know. Yet, she does so in such a way that still made me feel completely enthralled by her story. Full disclosure: I was one of those people who just could not understand how Henein could defend a particular client?! I was wrong. Full stop. Obviously, that thinking is sexist and discriminatory. I was, in effect, questioning why a woman would be doing this job and I have never once questioned why a man did that very same job. During one of the trials in which she received a lot of media attention, I was making an unfortunate point I now regret. My father, a criminal lawyer, said "she is doing an excellent job for her client." End of discussion. He was correct then, and he remains correct right now. The only part of this book that bothered me was the repetitive essentialist language around gender like "half the world's population" and "the opposite sex." These phrases occurred numerous times. I'm trans. Living proof, protected by the Charter thank you very much, that we are no longer forced to approach sex and gender in binary terms. I found it odd that Henein remains committed to repeating these phrases so often even as she critiques the limitations of sexism and misogyny. Why not join us in gender expansive language?! Why continue to use these reductive and outdated refrains? So, aside from Henein's relatively basic and essentialist approach to language around gender, this is a great book. Nothing but the Truth is an opportunity to spend a few hours with a fierce lawyer, a brilliant scholar, and an empathetic person who loves her family deeply. I highly recommend this book. Five stars.

  3. 5 out of 5

    suitonfire

    I’m a female lawyer in Toronto and have met Marie before. She gave me some wonderful advice as I was about to begin my career which I will always cherish. After reading this book, that advice feels so much more meaningful. Our lives mirrored one another in ways I could have never imagined. I am so grateful to her for taking the time to write this for people like me to read. I will definitely be rereading this for years to come and want to give the audio book a listen to hear these words come to I’m a female lawyer in Toronto and have met Marie before. She gave me some wonderful advice as I was about to begin my career which I will always cherish. After reading this book, that advice feels so much more meaningful. Our lives mirrored one another in ways I could have never imagined. I am so grateful to her for taking the time to write this for people like me to read. I will definitely be rereading this for years to come and want to give the audio book a listen to hear these words come to life.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Alexandra

    Everyone with even a fleeting interest in the criminal justice system should read this book. In the interests of disclosure, I am a lawyer, and I am not among the people who wonder how Marie Henein could possibly do her job and sleep at night. In contrast, I have always deeply respected her as a lawyer, particularly her unwavering commitment to her work and to the proper functioning of the democracy we enjoy. However much I may have thought I knew her as a lawyer, I never believed I knew Marie He Everyone with even a fleeting interest in the criminal justice system should read this book. In the interests of disclosure, I am a lawyer, and I am not among the people who wonder how Marie Henein could possibly do her job and sleep at night. In contrast, I have always deeply respected her as a lawyer, particularly her unwavering commitment to her work and to the proper functioning of the democracy we enjoy. However much I may have thought I knew her as a lawyer, I never believed I knew Marie Henein as a person (I suspect very few of us do). This book provides not only her views on the legal system and the role of defence counsel but also invaluable insight into her life growing up in an immigrant family in Toronto. The early chapters provide snapshots of her childhood and young adulthood that give the reader some semblance of an understanding of Marie “the person” - the daughter, sister, niece, wife and mother - as opposed to merely the lawyer. Seeing Marie Henein in action in the courtroom you would be hard-pressed to imagine her excitedly dragging her brother to see the Ice Capades, partying in drag clubs in New York with family members, or getting teary watching How the Grinch Stole Christmas. At a point in the book she quotes her eldest son who complained one day as he was cross-examined (about his day at school or something equally innocuous) that he wanted to speak to Marie “his mother” rather than Marie “the lawyer”. In response she explained to him, and in the same breath explained to the reader, that there simply is no separation between the two. It is not an act, not a “schtick”, it’s just Marie. Great book. 5/5.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Katey Townshend

    Wasn’t sure what I was expecting with this one, but it was fantastic.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Michelle VandenBosch

    Excellent book written by a very interesting woman. Mad respect for Marie’s work ethic, integrity and of course, her classic yet glittered style. She had me tearing up over stories of family and had me wishing I grew up with an Uncle Sammy.

  7. 4 out of 5

    wendy

    i did not want to like her. in the beginning i did not. in the middle, though, i did. toward the end i did not. i found this an interesting read and, of course, the author is a full, robust, all-feeling human being and not simply the criminal defense lawyer some of us came to know through her representation of our high profile public person. that is what she is trying to tell us. her story is, by moments, so very touching and at others overly defensive; it blocks chapters of highly personal relat i did not want to like her. in the beginning i did not. in the middle, though, i did. toward the end i did not. i found this an interesting read and, of course, the author is a full, robust, all-feeling human being and not simply the criminal defense lawyer some of us came to know through her representation of our high profile public person. that is what she is trying to tell us. her story is, by moments, so very touching and at others overly defensive; it blocks chapters of highly personal relatively blatant self-analyses against those of well measured jurisprudential natterings and it seems much more self-justifying than self-exploratory. there is no doubt the author is a raging liberal feminist, demanding her rights to do in high heels and high fashion what men do in sensible shoes and button down collars. that is the shortcoming of the book for me though i am not sure why i expected anything different. well, i did not expect anything different but did not anticipate feeling so belaboured by it all. yes, i read it out of curiosity.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Winyen

    I was very interested to read this, just given the amount of press written about her. The first section of the book talks about her family members, and while well written, not what interested me, since none of it really led to her life decisions (at least, she didn't reflect well on how they did). Henein writes at a high level about her law career, but it was moreso her thoughts on her career as opposed to explanation or reflection. She doesn't show vulnerability much in the book. Honesty, yes, b I was very interested to read this, just given the amount of press written about her. The first section of the book talks about her family members, and while well written, not what interested me, since none of it really led to her life decisions (at least, she didn't reflect well on how they did). Henein writes at a high level about her law career, but it was moreso her thoughts on her career as opposed to explanation or reflection. She doesn't show vulnerability much in the book. Honesty, yes, but in a "let me tell you what people don't get, let me tell you my thoughts on this" way. Maybe the fact that she doesn't talk about her husband or children is her way of taking a stance at a memoir written by a woman requiring talking about how she fell in love, what being a mother is like...

  9. 4 out of 5

    Joy

    This book is so good that I read it twice. An excellent book about one of Canada’s top defence lawyers. The focus that Marie Henein has on her career is impeccable. She knows her job and she does it.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kailey

    Authentic and fearless. Marie Henein is a great Canadian.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Euphegenia

    Boring.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Colleen Albiston

    Loved the book. Not so much a book about the law - although those chapters are a clear and compelling description of the judicial system. Provided beautiful insights into an intergenerational immigrant experience. "No, where are you really from?" And for any female executive who has never bought into the Bay Street dress code, or struggled with admitting their age while men celebrate theirs - you will relate and smile. The book for me - a reason to start a post-pandemic book club. Could not stop Loved the book. Not so much a book about the law - although those chapters are a clear and compelling description of the judicial system. Provided beautiful insights into an intergenerational immigrant experience. "No, where are you really from?" And for any female executive who has never bought into the Bay Street dress code, or struggled with admitting their age while men celebrate theirs - you will relate and smile. The book for me - a reason to start a post-pandemic book club. Could not stop reading.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Matilda

    Henein is a talented writer, and the book was a fast and easy read. Personal anecdotes and reflections about her family are captivating and relatable. Her analysis and reflections on various other topics are, however, a mixed bag. My biggest gripe is that Henein comes across as the personification of #notliketheothergirls. She takes great pains to distinguish herself from other women, lawyers, business people, and even children (when writing about her childhood). She's not like the other girls! Henein is a talented writer, and the book was a fast and easy read. Personal anecdotes and reflections about her family are captivating and relatable. Her analysis and reflections on various other topics are, however, a mixed bag. My biggest gripe is that Henein comes across as the personification of #notliketheothergirls. She takes great pains to distinguish herself from other women, lawyers, business people, and even children (when writing about her childhood). She's not like the other girls! She was "hard" as a child, and cherished reducing another child to tears with her arguing prowess. She's not like the other law students! She wore leopard shoes and long nails to law school on her first day and was confused for an art student. She's not like the other women! She never cared about marriage, found babies uninteresting, and finds discussions of imposter's syndrome tedious. She's not like the other lawyers! As a managing partner, her letter to a pregnant colleague would read, "Dear [name of lawyer]. You are having a baby. We are writing to tell you we do not care one way or the other." She's not like the other business people! Your firm's holiday card touting your donation to x charity is annoying, overindulgent and a mere marketing ploy, but Henein's video holiday card, in which she walks around her office knocking down Christmas trees to the tune of "You're a mean one, Mr. Grinch", is apparently not try-hard nor a marketing ploy? The exploration of feminist ideology is largely sophomoric, and the stories about her legal upbringing as an articling student and junior lawyer could have been augmented with a nuanced critique of the ways in which the law firm culture cultivated by "old-school" lawyers she reveres was toxic and unhealthy.

  14. 4 out of 5

    GMBest

    A candid, raw and wonderfully written book that every woman (and man for that matter) should read. Marie Henein captures the experience of families immigrating to Canada, the ongoing and never ending challenges of women and the conflicting messages we receive on a daily basis, and provides her views and insight into the Canadian criminal justice system - a system that we should all be grateful and thankful for. It is not your typical lawyer book. Marie shares her most personal and intimate memor A candid, raw and wonderfully written book that every woman (and man for that matter) should read. Marie Henein captures the experience of families immigrating to Canada, the ongoing and never ending challenges of women and the conflicting messages we receive on a daily basis, and provides her views and insight into the Canadian criminal justice system - a system that we should all be grateful and thankful for. It is not your typical lawyer book. Marie shares her most personal and intimate memories that helps the reader understand where she came from, how she grew up, and what she believes in. Understanding her personal history is necessary in order to understand who she is today. An incredible woman, lawyer, mother, spouse, friend - person. I read this book in a span of three days. I could not put it down. It is my favourite book of 2021.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jenny Trick

    3.5/5 stars. I was a little disappointed that this book didn’t include any stories or information about any of her cases. The first half of the book was about her childhood and family which I found extremely well-written but ultimately didn’t interest me very much. The second half of the book, which focused on her career and her personal experience as a defence lawyer was a lot more interesting to me and I really enjoyed this part. She has a very important story to tell and overall I think it wa 3.5/5 stars. I was a little disappointed that this book didn’t include any stories or information about any of her cases. The first half of the book was about her childhood and family which I found extremely well-written but ultimately didn’t interest me very much. The second half of the book, which focused on her career and her personal experience as a defence lawyer was a lot more interesting to me and I really enjoyed this part. She has a very important story to tell and overall I think it was told in a very compelling way.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Raquel Silva

    Fierce! I loved this book from the universal story of an immigrant in Canada of identity and balance of culture to Henein’s passion for criminal law. I loved the empowering message of finding your voice, the constant obstacles that females face from men and society judging, silencing and continuing to put women in a box. Marie breaks through these walls not only in the book, but shows us to always be you without fear in her life story.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Brian Williams

    This is an autobiography by a lawyer, without any "war stories". If you are looking for behind-the scenes details about her famous cases, they are not in this book. Aside from that it's about her growing up in Canada and her early family life. Later she goes into her early career, working with Eddie Greenspan, the famous Canadian trial lawyer. Finally she addresses her views about the role of law in society and her experience as a female lawyer. The "war stories" may come later. This is an autobiography by a lawyer, without any "war stories". If you are looking for behind-the scenes details about her famous cases, they are not in this book. Aside from that it's about her growing up in Canada and her early family life. Later she goes into her early career, working with Eddie Greenspan, the famous Canadian trial lawyer. Finally she addresses her views about the role of law in society and her experience as a female lawyer. The "war stories" may come later.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Patricia Spindel

    This came across as the story of a self-absorbed, irascible person with little insight into themselves. My sense was that this woman takes herself far too seriously and perhaps she should have listened to her gut and not bothered to write this book. Everything seems to annoy her and she seems proud of that - like too many people these days. Would have rather invested my time in reading a book that was more uplifting and thought provoking, which this one was not.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Shelley Crawford

    I learned quite a bit from reading this book about immigrant struggles to feel a part of us. I understand more about the law in criminal defence ( not a lawyer ) and I used to be on the other side of the fence in wanting past offences to count. I also still remember the memorable black pant suit Marie wore at a friend’s 50 th. wearing the most spectacular ruby red glitzy shoes with it. Stunning.

  20. 4 out of 5

    K.R. Wilson

    Refreshingly, Marie Henein’s Nothing But The Truth isn’t the collection of self-aggrandizing courtroom war stories that some lawyer memoirs can be. It’s part family history, part clear-eyed civics lesson (in particular, her takes on the cynical politics of tough-on-crime legislation and the populist undermining of the judiciary are spot on), and part wry dissection of ageism and sexism.

  21. 5 out of 5

    V

    Marie Henein, is and likely will always be, known as Jian Ghomeshi’s lawyer. I listened to this audiobook hoping for the inside scope on some high profile cases. Instead, I got a rambling narrative of Marie’s boring life. DNF and do not recommend.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Siobhan McRibbles

    It wasn't the book I expected, but was still very good. I thought she was well spoken (written, I guess), interesting and her perspective on the almost-sham of "work life balance" was refreshing. A good read! It wasn't the book I expected, but was still very good. I thought she was well spoken (written, I guess), interesting and her perspective on the almost-sham of "work life balance" was refreshing. A good read!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Krystle

    Absolutely loved this memoir! The personal stories gave great insight into what makes this self make titan of a woman and lawyer tick. A must read for all females who choose to pursue a passion and live a life without regrets!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Luigi Benetton

    This is a phenomenal memoir. It ranges from family background to legal career to opinions to candid reflection on the author’s self-perceived « faults » and back again.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    A strong, principled, determined women. Admirable.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Noella Allisen

    Good book. I'm thinking that if I needed a criminal lawyer I'd want this lady representing me. She's no milk toast. I like her. Well written. Thought provoking. Glad I read it. Good book. I'm thinking that if I needed a criminal lawyer I'd want this lady representing me. She's no milk toast. I like her. Well written. Thought provoking. Glad I read it.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Christine

    Marie Henein is brilliant, articulate, empowered, and inspiring.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Breda

    Loved reading abt her life but would’ve probably enjoyed it more if I knew her lol

  29. 5 out of 5

    Marie

    Wasn't what I expected. She is quite funny and honest. Wasn't what I expected. She is quite funny and honest.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Fatima

    Chapter 3, 13, and 14 were my favourites and really hit home. Having interacted with Marie on a teacher-parent level, my respect for her has only increased after reading this.

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