28 September 2009

Bad Behaviour

by Liz Byrski

Pan Macmillan. Australian, Adult Other. Paperback rrp $32.99

When reminiscing over your past life, do you have regrets? Wish you’d done something differently? Do you discover that “timing” was a big factor in determining your destiny? Zoe, Julia, Richard and Tom all find out that sometimes when you look back, it can help you move forward.

1968 was an important year for these four. Australian Zoe meets English Richard in London. In Paris, Richard’s sister Julia, meets Tom. Zoe and Julia become close friends. Richard and Tom find they have much more in common other than just Julia.

Although it is the sexual revolution, both girls are naïve and inexperienced. While Richard and Tom are interested in the political happenings around the world, the women in their lives are more interested in the happenings around their own four walls.

Meanwhile in Western Australia, 12-year-old Justine is coming to terms with being stolen from her Aboriginal mother by the policy of a government ignorant of the consequences of its actions.

Mistakes are made and Zoe and Richard, Julia and Tom seem destined to move on and create new memories with others. Zoe moves back to Perth, marries, has children and “lives happily ever after”. Julia marries into money and finds living the life she always coveted is not the answer.

Thirty years on and half way around the world Zoe and Julia make contact again. Justine has also entered into Zoe’s life. Zoe and Julia find that the consequences of their actions in the past need to be brought back to the surface to help all of these women with their modern lives and problems.

This isn’t a love story. It is a story of human nature and how small things can turn into insurmountable hurdles.

At over 460 pages, mid a busy family life, I read Bad Behaviour in less than 24 hours – that’s the best recommendation I can make. This is a book that I will look forward to reading again.


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