Review: Rattled by Ellis Gunn


Title: Rattled: A rare first person account of surviving a stalker

Author: Ellis Gunn

Published: 1st May 2022, Allen & Unwin

Status: Read June 2022 courtesy Allen & Unwin



My Thoughts:


“….I was beginning to think I’d overreacted. Looking at it logically, he hadn’t done anything wrong.He hadn’t threatened me, or been offensive. A little over-eager maybe, a little too personal, but…probably nothing to worry about.”

It began with an casual interaction over a chest of drawers at an auction, Elise Gunn responded amiably to The Man’s attempt at conversation but politely brushed off his overture for further contact, and then ignored his unsolicited email. When he attempts to speak with her again, weeks later at the same auction house, Elise quickly makes her exit, feeling uncomfortable and anxious. When The Man next approaches Elise, she is walking home through a park having just dropped her son at school. He insists on walking with her, and during his one sided conversation he mentions details about Elise he is unlikely to know, unless he’s been following her for some time. The police are sympathetic when she reports her concerns but can’t do anything to help, and Elise is left feeling powerless.

Elise Gunn gives a powerful account of being stalked by a stranger with unknown motives. For Elise, The Man’s behaviour is ‘the straw that broke the camel’s back’. Quivering from hyper-vigilance, and expecting the worst, she is anxious, fearful, and panic-stricken. Unable to affect The Man’s behaviour, Elise attempts to take control of her own, seeking help from a victim support agency and CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy).

In between each encounter with The Man, Gunn relates a former experience where she was affected by sexism, misogyny or male violence, from being heckled by a group of aggressive young men outside a pub, to enduring a rape by a trusted employer, and a poem the messages women too often receive about such encounters.

I was expecting an exclusive focus on stalking but Gunn also explores the broader research on topics related to trauma and PTSD, socialisation, gendered crime and inequality, and what is still needed for society to change. I am a little disappointed that, though Gunn includes a bibliography, she doesn’t list Australian services that readers could reach out to.

I found it frighteningly easy to relate to many elements of Gunn’s narratives. Rattled is an honest, thoughtful and impactful memoir that educates and informs.


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6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #SundayPost #SundaySalon | book'd out
  2. WendyW
    Aug 08, 2022 @ 11:37:56

    Very creepy story. But a wonderful review!



  3. lisanaz
    Aug 08, 2022 @ 19:08:10

    When I first read your review, I thought it was a novel. But on second look I realize that the author really experienced this. Makes it even more chilling! As to your comment about no Australian services listed at the end, it’s probably because it wouldn’t be relevant internationally. Unfortunately, stalking is a reality for women all over the world.

    Liked by 1 person


  4. Barbara Harper
    Aug 09, 2022 @ 07:15:26

    This is one of the most frightening experiences I can imagine–especially since there doesn’t seem to be much that police can do about it until it’s too late.

    Liked by 1 person


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