It is night. They move with such stealth they could be almost floating along the road. I can't see faces, just the outline of their movement. But when the moon drifts out from behind a cloud, bathing the road in an urgent sort of light, I see how they're all gazing up towards me.
'They're coming back,' I murmur. I turn to Kendall, and she puts her sewing aside, eyes on me. They never waiver.
It was supposed to be a place where teenagers would learn resilience, confidence and independence, where long hikes and runs in the bush would make their bodies strong and foster a connection with the natural world. Living in bare wooden huts, cut off from the outside world, the students would experience a very different kind of schooling, one intended to have a strong influence over the kind of adults they would eventually become.
Fourteen-year-old Rebecca Starford spent a year at this school in the bush. In her boarding house sixteen girls were left largely unsupervised, a combination of the worst behaved students and some of the most socially vulnerable. As everyone tried to fit in and cope with their feelings of isolation and homesickness, Rebecca found herself joining ranks with the powerful girls, becoming both a participant--and later a victim-- of various forms of bullying and aggression.
Bad Behaviour tells the story of that year, a time of friendship and joy, but also of shame and fear. It explores how those crucial experiences affected Rebecca as an adult and shaped her future relationships, and asks courageous questions about the nature of female friendship.
Moving, wise and painfully honest, this extraordinary memoir shows how bad behaviour from childhood, in all its forms, can be so often and so easily repeated throughout our adult lives.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Rebecca Starford is an astonishingly talented writer. In her stirring memoir, she retraces the year she spent at a remote boarding school in the Australian bush, capturing the insecurities and anxieties of her 14-year-old self and the startling cruelty of her classmates. With the force of full sunlight, Bad Behaviour lays bare painful truths—and creates a dazzling portrait of resilience and growth.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Teenage girls can be so horrible
I found myself flashing back to my teens in the 80's and it brought up a lot of memories I thought I had forgotten (good and bad) about my high school days. I have a daughter in her 20's and one in her early teens. Girls are still behaving badly as I'm guessing they did in my mothers time and her mother before that. It must be harder for the young ones of today with digital technology because a lot of horribly behaviour is videoed and often is on the internet for way more people than just the kids at that school to see.
Could Not Put It Down - A gripping, brave and thought-provoking read.
Although I have not attended boarding school I was very interested to read this book, particularly having been an ardent Enid Blyton fan when I was a child. This book shatters the cosy, twee picture that we like to believe of boarding school and rather brings a fiercely honest, sad and often brutal portrayal of teenage life which I was blown away by. For anyone ever having been bullied, been a bully, thinking of sending their children to boarding school or merely looking for a gripping read - this book is unputdownable!
Misleading and self-centred
This school has reason to be proud of its results. Those lucky enough to attend can expect to develop inner strength and resilience built sometimes through adversity (life can be tough in the bush) but those qualities are not gained there through bullying, aligning with bullies, or enduring it. An unrealistic encounter for this reader.