In an effort to teach the students independence and responsibility they were housed in dorms named by colour, without a live-in teacher or minder. They were left to their own devices. Imagine it: Twenty 14 year old girls left overnight in a confined space. Left to establish a pecking order.
Starford tells the story of the bad behaviour that went on in Red House at Silver Creek and the part she played in it. How her behaviour during that time went on to affect her adult life, which the story takes us to in alternating chapters.
The book begins with an explosion. The last straw. The camel’s back breaking. The result of a year’s worth of bullying finally pushing one student too far.
With such a fiery beginning, it’s little wonder Bad Behaviour was impossible to put down. From cover to cover I read it, in a sweat filled stupor. It kept me on the edge of my seat, constantly wondering what blow would come next.
The tales of Silver Creek were detailed and enthralling. Enough to take you there in person, show you the grounds, allow you to smell the smells and feel the air. The chapters about Starfords’s adult life however were less embracing. The adult chapters are written in present day, where Rebecca returns to Silver Creek to see her old school again, in order to write her memoirs. We then go back in time in a series of flashbacks as Starford fills the gaps in her life since leaving Silver Creek and becoming the woman she is today. While still interesting and engaging, they lack some of the depth and vibrancy that Starford’s 14 year old self manages to communicate to the reader.
Memoirs always tend to be books written by much older people. People who have survived war or battled cancer. People who supposedly have lived long enough to have something to say. It is so refreshing to read a memoir written by someone my age. Someone I can relate to. Starford is younger than most memoir writers. But that is not to say that her story is any less valid. In her 30 years she has battled plenty. And war? Well her time at Silver Creek can only be described as an all-out bloodbath. May the best woman win!