Skip to main content

May 2015

Bad Behaviour (Rebecca Starford)

Scroll back a few posts and you will come across my review of Alice Pung's recent novel Laurinda, an unsettling story of the nastiness that teenage girls can inflict upon each other in an "exclusive" girls school setting. When the opportunity arose to delve into another account of the sinister world of privileged teenage girls and their power plays, I eagerly nabbed the chance. And so enter Bad Behaviour, author Rebecca Starford's personal memoir of her year in an exclusive outdoor education school in Victoria, Australia,

Just like the good old "train wreck" from which you can't look away, the behaviour of these girls towards each other, and particularly towards the weak, is both compelling and disturbing.  Read any review of Bad Behaviour and Lord of the Flies is bound to be mentioned at least once.  To be fair, it's hard not to think of William Golding's classic when reading Starford's memoir.  What is it about teenagers in isolated group situations that encourages the worst (and best) of human behaviour?  Fear, uncertainly, self-preservation and the desire to belong are often deftly manipulated by the worst of the group.  In parts, I actually pondered how these girls became so adept at the art of manipulation and fear-mongering from such a young age.  And for those too scared to speak up, what is the reward for complying?  You are not a target.  You stay in the good books... for the moment.  But favour is fickle, with little discernible cause and effect between behaviour, reward or punishment.  The bully's power comes from ensuring their behaviour is alarming and unpredictable. And so those desperate to be liked and admired keep deferring to the bullies, trying to please them... with mixed results.  But is this strategy truly worthwhile when you still live in fear, and hate yourself for what you are becoming?  Slowly morphing into the bully that you despise because you feel too weak to stand out, stand alone and speak up?

Arrrgh, it's such a familiar story that continues to be told the world over, generation after generation!!!  I wonder if it will ever change?  We've come so far, and yet some things seem to remain the same.  I would recommend this as important reading for ANY girl in High School, from about 15 up.  It is a subtle read that gets under your skin, I can't really say why I couldn't put it down, other than I kept coming picking it up every spare moment I had.  Totally compelling. 


Popular posts from this blog

Using librarian skills to uncover a network of dodgy shopping sites!

In all my posts over the years I'm not sure if I ever mentioned I am an avid steampunker.  Like many of my quirky fellow librarians, I love a good dress up and recently found myself searching for a great pair of boots to go with the Steampunk Aviator Superhero costume I'm assembling (trust me, it will work!).

One evening whilst idly thumbing through Pinterest I found a picture of these undeniably AWESOME combat-boot style boots.  I followed the link to the website ( and although it didn't look dodgy and offered PayPal, I am a cautious online shopper and always check the customer reviews first.  They were 1000% abysmal.  Like the kind of reviews that say SCAM, THEFT and CAN I LEAVE 0 STARS.  So despite loving the shoes, I was definitely not parting with my money on this occasion.

Fast forward a couple of months and I see an ad for Victorian-style cosplay boots in my Insta feed.  Did I mention that I am an avid steampunker?  Because seriously, these shoes…

It only takes a second (ment)

What the hell is a secondment?
Some people I have chatted to have no idea what I'm talking about (and I also discovered that some spell-check utilities don't even recognise the word) so I thought I would clear the confusion by ripping a definition straight from Merriam-Webster:
Definition of secondmentplural-s

: the detachment of a person (such as a military officer) from his or her regular organization for temporary assignment elsewhere.

So if you just substitute "library services officer" for "military officer" you have an explanation of my situation!

Being a qualified Librarian can take you in so many different directions. One of the reasons I chose the tag "Ambidextrous Librarian" was because I honestly had no idea which direction my career would go. I have worked in school libraries and the kids and teachers are absolutely fantastic, but the pay, conditions and options for career development aren't all that varied. I tri…

A Somewhat Risky Business

Working in a public library means I am surrounded all day by books (duh).  Books are such pretty things - there is a reason why publishers spend big bucks on cover design, and that's because we pretty much ignore the old "don't judge a book by its cover" and happily judegy-judge away.  We can't help it, bright and shiny things attract us!

So as I was standing at the circ desk the other day having a bit of a rest between patrons, I found my eyes drawn yet again to a book that was on display.  I had been gazing at it on and off all day, and I couldn't really make out the title but it was the dress that caught me, and the shiny peach converse trainers, and the pose, and the luxurious hair.  I decided that the universe was telling me I had to borrow it, even if I had absolutely no idea what it was about.  I took it home without even reading the blurb.

The book was titled "This is just my face; try not to stare" by Gabourey Sidibe, the actress who starr…