Book Review: Bad Behaviour, Rebecca Starford

bad-behaviourGoodreads Blurb:

It should have been a time of acquiring confidence, building self respect and independence, of fostering a connection with the natural world through long hikes…

A gripping, compulsively readable memoir of bullying at an elite country boarding school.

 

 

 

 

My Thoughts:

Reading Bad Behaviour off the back of The Golden Child was either an interesting coincidence or just not a very well thought out decision on my part. I do not regret reading this memoir, more than that, I am so glad I did, but I feel there is a certain waiting time that I should have taken before reading a book of such a similar strain. The more I think about it now however, the more I come to realise that whenever I read it, I would still be just as shaken.

In writing Bad Behaviour, Rebecca Starford has written something which is incredibly, but beautifully raw. She paints a brutal picture of the pack mentality which can develop within large groups of school girls and how that can affect the victims of the resulting bullying. Her year spent in a Victorian boarding school not only brought out a side of herself which she never thought she had, but also left her scarred.

For me, this memoir left a much deeper impression than I could ever have expected. The scenes and actions of the girls a reminder of the first couple of years at my own all girls’ high school. Though for me and my year of girls the bullying never got as bad, it was all still was painfully familiar, and not just the group dynamic but the people as well. Despite this, it was written in such a way that even though the events recorded were true enough, to me they felt almost surreal. So that in finishing this book I was left with the feeling of waking up from a bad dream.

Reading the breakdown of the relationship between Rebecca and her mother however was what most struck a chord with me. It is something which I found to be the most heartbreaking to read. Lastly Rebecca Starford’s memoir is poignant, deep, and a real insight into the turmoil which teens experience and work through at this age. Beautifully written, this memoir something which I am sure will stay with me for quite a while.

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Wordle #147 – Flashover

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Latch the door
My friend
Your heart
It will be mine

Let me take you in my arms
And hold you tight

Your simple iridescence
Enchants me
Heart and soul

So…

Follow my lead now
Take one step back
Forward the next

Let passion lead the way
Inseperable we spin
To make our own ballet

Legs, arms, chests
We move as one
Our perfect harmony

Relieve yourself of fear
Leave the media behind
It’s just us now

We levitate, and
Through heat and heart
It carries us away

~

Written for this weeks Wordle on MindLoveMisery’s Menagery! I really loved the words this week 🙂 This one is for my favourite fictional couple at the moment, Magnus and Alec from the show Shadowhunters.

Thoughts on Memory…

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A few weeks ago I started back at university for my third year to a mixture of excitement and slight dread. New classes, new faces, and not only that, but this could be my last year at university. Scary huh!?

Anywho, one subject I’m taking this semester is a ‘writing creative nonfiction’ class in which we spend the semester reading and writing various forms of creative non-fiction, basically, pretty much what it says on the box. So far we’ve done a number of small writing tasks, from a number of different prompts. The first couple of these that I have written got me thinking about memory, and the complexities and limitations which memories encompass.

It was the first task more than the second which left me in a state of what I can now only call confusion, with more questions arising from the piece than I set out to answer. The piece we had to write was titled ‘notes of a childhood’**, a writing task where we had to write a form of poetic list detailing some events from our childhood. The very broad task description brought up some interesting memories, some were more funny, while others are ones I’ve never forgotten. Not because I wanted to, but because I couldn’t get them out of my head. It was here that the memory question came up…as even though I have had this one memory of the first time I saw Dad cry embedded in my mind from the age of about 15, both Mum and my sister have a memory of that day which unfolds a little differently to mine.

So, I ask myself, which is true?

Though difficult, this isn’t impossible to answer, that is if it is a question I really want to answer at all. The way I see it, no memory is really completely true. As there is no way to record everything within your mind exactly as it happened. As a twenty-one year old remembering something which happened about six years ago, there is every possibility the strong emotions I was feeling that day have embellished and elaborated on that image in my mind.

So then, how true can that memory really be?

To speak truthfully here, there isn’t really any way of knowing. I did ask Mum, as well as my sister but they both have very different ideas of what happened that day. My sister not thinking that day occurred at all, while talking about it with Mum didn’t help much either, and Dad, I can’t bring myself to ask him about it. Not yet anyway. I’ve replayed that day so many times in my head now since it occurred that I am not sure if it really happened at all or even to that extent. On that same note though, I am not sure if I could create such a real depiction of the way I felt that day. Feeling that helpless, that unsure of what to do, I’m sure it has to be real – emotions like that have to be based somewhere, right?

Do the inconsistencies cancel out the validity of my own memory?

Here, some may say yes. “Yes, the only truth is in that which is consistent through each and every story of one event.” I, however, disagree. Though my family may have a very different version of how the events that day unfolded, what I remember is my own. What I remember is true for me, and that won’t ever change. In my eyes what happened has shaped the way I relate to others, and shaped how I place myself as the ‘carer’ or ‘peace maker’ every time something occurs where someone needs to step up to that role. Knowing the truth of how real that memory is won’t change that aspect of my personality, and honestly, I wouldn’t want it to.

…but either way here, whatever we believe, does it matter?

Honestly? For some it does, for some it may not. Memory is a very personal thing. So while some memories fade and some persist within our minds, what matters is what we make of them.

~

**I’d post what I wrote for the task which sparked all this thinking here but for the fear of some sort of ‘perceived plagiarising’/’self-plagiarising’ disaster or similar with the university, maybe after the semester is over I will…

Heeding Haiku with Chèvrefeuille – Choice

The truth itself
Sits within the lie
Snugly waiting.

But…

Here-
Is it still a lie?

They know not you keep it
Save, warm, hidden.
Still
Even you don’t know
Not yet.

Here-
You’re lying to yourself?

Safe, warm, hidden
This helps none.

Not even you
And your secluded self
Your locked up heart.

Here-
Is it still a lie?

Protected
Or protecting?
Saving self
Or saving them?

So, now my dear friend
Speak your truths or spill your lies?
Waiting, all my heart

~

Written for this weeks Haiku prompt over at MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie 🙂 This week it is a Haibun: prose mixed with Haiku. My prose turned out more in the rhythms of poetry…but I am happy with it all the same

Wordle #145 – Oh, Idle Soul

Oh, idle soul
Beware.
Your filter is corrupt,
Beyond those stewing thoughts,
An ugly truth does wait.

Oh, idle soul
Reach out.
Don’t cringe away now,
Your jailer’s gone for good,
To Emerald City, far.

Oh, idle soul
Away.
That ledge of yours,
Exotic in appearance,
But a crescent moon beneath

Oh, idle soul
Look far.
Your longanimity rewarded,
In the purest of angelic noise,
The perfect afflatus, for you.

Oh, idle soul.
You idle soul
Beware.

~

Written for this weeks Wordle on MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie 🙂 It is a little late, and the first one I’ve written in quite a while, but I’m getting my creative juices back and this felt like a good place to start!