I wasn’t at all sure about the book to begin with: it can be sermonising and can slip into self-help cliché. Miller’s call to action sometimes also feels preachy and a little irritating. But as her narrative (brilliantly ghosted by Elizabeth Day) flows, taking us from her childhood in Guyana where her father was a senior prosecutor and talked to her constantly about the importance of the law and doing the right thing, to feeling like an outcast in British society, her passion for speaking up begins to make sense... Before I read Rise I thought Miller was a bit of a pain, an uppity remainer who liked the limelight. Now I understand that she is a woman of true grit and courage, of whom we should all — whatever our views on Brexit — be proud.
The book, however, is only fleetingly about Brexit. It is mainly a Hollywood-style “triumph against adversity” self-help book, directed mainly at ambitious professional women. The trouble is it quickly becomes trite and repetitive as our heroine bounces back from one disaster after another...The book’s relentless and unsubtle narrative makes it hard to warm to Miller as a person, with the important exception of her moving account of her love for her first child, Lucy-Ann, who was born with brain damage.
The book is at times reminiscent of Sheryl Sandberg’s call to corporate women to “lean in”, at others a confession of Imposter Syndrome, and even a guide on how to get pregnant. At the outset, Miller states her aim in writing it was in large part to encourage others to stand up to oppression themselves, but at times, it feels as if it’s trying to do too much... Miller’s memoir is more descriptive than analytic, leaving me wishing for a deeper analysis of how race, gender and class intersect in fuelling the nature and scale of abuse that comes her way. But then the book is a lot like its author – unapologetic, businesslike and impatient to make a difference.