Author: Mary Robinson
Hodder & Stoughton RRP $32.99
Review: Monique Mulligan

Everybody MattersWhat stands out most about this book is the calm conviction of Mary Robinson, the woman who has become one of the world’s most admired human rights campaigners. Her sense of justice was awakened early (it would be as the only girl sandwiched in the middle of four brothers) and from her memoir, has never faltered.

Everybody Matters gives an insight into what made Mary Robinson the woman she is today. Her upbringing was deeply Catholic; for some time, she considered becoming a nun, a plan her parents applauded. The sage nun she went to for advice saw something more in Mary; against Mary’s protests, she recommended thinking the plan over for a year. The year that followed changed a lot of things for Mary – she came back from a French finishing school with a desire to enter Trinity College, rather than a convent. Her parents were unimpressed. They were further unimpressed when Mary, having eschewed many of her Catholic beliefs, married a Protestant man.

Ultimately, Mary’s desire to be a voice for social justice and resulted in her appointment as the first woman President of Ireland. She later became the UN High Commissioner of Human Rights and is now one of the group of Elders, independent global leaders working together for humanity.

Everybody Matters is an inspiring read about a woman who stands her ground for what really matters. Her desire to make the world a better place is humbling (for those of us who think but don’t always act). I particularly liked her self-deprecating and warm description of her childhood; despite the differences of opinion she had with her parents, love and acceptance for their values is at the forefront of her recollections.

Available from good bookstores. This copy was courtesy of Hachette Australia.