Thank you for choosing Bad Behaviour for your book club. I do hope you enjoy reading it and you have an interesting discussion.
Here are some discussion points below you may like to use.
You can also download an easy to print version of the notes here – Bad Behaviour Book Club Notes
Much to Gaby’s disgust Zoë really didn’t engage with the social changes happening all around her in the 1960s. Sometimes it is hard to see how pivotal a moment in history is, when you are in the middle of it.
Discuss when that happened to you and how aware you were of its significance.
Shame and its affect on our lives, is a central theme of this book. What makes shame so corrosive? How can we overcome feelings of shame?
What role do you think women’s groups such as the ones Julia and Zoë attended, played in the rise of feminism in the 1960s? Is there a need for something similar now?
Tom says to Richard “you can’t see a potential problem and so you can’t be trusted not to create chaos… You crash through your personal life, bumping into people and grabbing hold of them to steady you…”
What role do you think Richard’s dependence on alcohol played in his inability to have lasting healthy relationships?
When she starts painting classes, Zoë is so surprised that she is creative when she believed the only thing she was good at, was caring for her family. “Now it seems there is something else she can do and do it not at all badly. As she drives home Zoë wonders what this might mean. Are there other things she could do if she tried?”
Have you found out you are capable of doing something surprising? Did that lead to other changes in your life? What role does creativity play in how we see ourselves?
Very early on in their relationships Zoë lied to Richard to give the impression she was interested in the issues that he felt were important. Later on she changed arrangements around his needs and expectations.
What does this behaviour say about her own self-awareness? How did it shape future decisions in her life?
Deciding that passion was “misleading and dangerous”, Julia took a pragmatic approach to assessing whether Simon was suitable to date and then to marry.
Is it possible to successfully choose a life partner that way?
Justine had a loving mother figure and a safe home with Gwen, but she always longed to find her birth mother and her family.
How significant do you think it has been for children of the Stolen Generation to reconnect with their original families?
When talking with Zoë about why they had dwelled on the past instead of thinking about the future Gwen comments “ We spend far too much time on it, Zoë. You and I, constantly mulling over, whether we behaved nicely, or could have done better, the things we should have done and didn’t. I think it might be pure self-indulgence.”
What do you think Gwen means by self-indulgence?
Gaby believes feminism is still relevant today. She says “I’m a bit of a feminist too, much to Mum’s dismay. Although Dan always says that Mum would be if she would only stop being scared of it and listen. She’s like “I’m not a feminist but…” and then she lists all the things she believes about women, which is just all of what feminism is about. She has all the instincts, if you know what I mean.”
Do you call yourself a feminist? And if not, what is it about the word that you can’t relate to? Do you think we need a new word now to appeal to younger women?