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Now an adult, Debbie and her girlfriends reveal what women really say when men aren't around. Oh dear . . .!

Now an adult on L-plates, Debbie and her girlfriends reveal what women talk about when there are no men around. Prepare yourself for full-frontal comedic camaraderie.

After breaking off with both her best friend and boyfriend, Debbie runs away to the inner-city world of punk rock, dodgy jobs, new mates and R-rated adventures.

It’s the kaleidoscopic 1980s, a time of perms, shoulder pads, Blondie and Bowie, prawn cocktails, fondue parties and mistaking promiscuity for feminism. The blokes are laughing all the way to the sperm bank – of course they’re for ‘free love’ as they don’t have to pay for it.

Preyed upon by married men and misogynistic bosses, girlfriends are the only people you can rely on. Debbie’s female pals are her human Wonderbras – uplifting and supportive. But it’s not until the girls’ night out that these friends really peel off to their emotional undies … And it’s a psychological striptease which reveals some jaw-dropping truths.

With equal parts humour and pathos, Kathy Lette, one of the pioneering voices of contemporary feminism, exposes all the fun and foolish things girls do when scrabbling to find their high-heeled feet in the world.


After the Blues, returns the setting to Australia and is a kind of follow-up to Puberty Blues. The surfie chicks, now older, are still struggling through relationships with men of epic insensitivity, very few of whom are aware of a different era. The book’s various chapters are written in different styles: first and third person, letters and a diary. The theme — of failed and failing relationships — and the humour found among even the most depressing situations provides the unity. Perhaps the most remarkable chapter is the first-person anecdote, Free Kick. Something of a literary tour de force, it is in the form of a revelation by a football groupie of the rules and the reality of the situation. Perhaps a few of Lette’s quips become a little wearing but most strike me as acute.

Bruce Beresford, The Australian

Formats & editions

  • Trade Paperback


    November 27, 2017

    Vintage Australia

    288 pages

    RRP $32.99

    Online retailers

    • Amazon
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Dymocks
    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    • The Nile

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook


    November 27, 2017

    Random House Australia

    288 pages

    Online retailers

    • Amazon Kindle AU
    • iBooks
    • Google Play EBook AU
    • Kobo Ebook
    • Booktopia
    • eBooks


The tsunami

‘By the time you find yourself, there’ll be nobody home!’

That was my father’s verdict when I rang home from Central Station to let my parents know that I’d run away and was catching the train up north. ‘I mean, is that what this is all about? “Finding yourself” on some commune or something?’

I was nearly sixteen and with my bestie. Sarah and I had been best pals all through school and we had saved each other’s sanity on a daily basis. We laughed at the same things, loved the same things, we finished each other’s sentences – hell, we knew what each other was thinking before we’d even thought it.

We’d been together through thick and thin . . . and times had been Ryvita-thin of late. Drug overdoses, unwanted pregnancies, school suspensions, abortions, catfights, beach territorial warfare… Welcome to life in the top Cronulla surfie gang.

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A Note on The Blues

Kathy Lette on surviving puberty, feminism, and ‘what happened next’.