Monthly Archives: October 2015

Tough like Donna is Available on

Well that’s another book up on Amazon. It wasn’t as difficult and didn’t take as long as the first one so there’s hope for us yet. Not that it was easy. There were still a few niggling problems.

I enjoyed writing these two books (Tough like Donna and its sequel, Jailbait). It was fun being a teenage girl for a while. Some might wonder what qualifies me to write about a teenage girl, especially one from a broken home. That’s a good question.

I think it helps not to have had any children of my own, so I still have access to my younger self. There seems to be an amnesia that comes over people when their children arrive. Too often parents seem as shocked and horrified by their children’s behaviour as their parents were with them. I remember being young. I even remember some of the parents of today when they were young.

The divorce was essential to the story because it gave Roz a clear choice of value systems. A stable upbringing can leave a young person thinking that their parent’s values are absolute. I needed Roz to be faced with a choice, and the knowledge that it was a choice.

Then the question, why did my protagonist have to be a girl? A boy would have had to come up against the prevalent and bloodthirsty myth that a real man is a violent man. That will require a book in itself, which I’m not yet ready to write, so I chose a female protagonist. I don’t claim to ever have been a girl myself but after another forty years of experience they aren’t quite the total mystery they were when I was seventeen.

As you can see below, I have put up the first chapter of Tough Like Donna as a sample. I had a problem with the tabbing in that post so please forgive the lack of tabs.

This is the link to Tough Like Donna, if you are interested in purchasing it.


Tough Like Donna: Chapter 1

Tough Like Donna bookcover








G. D. Buckley

The eleventh of November was Remembrance Day. On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918 the armistice was signed that ended the Great War. At school we had to stand up and think about the soldiers for one minute.
I knew Mum wasn’t thinking about the soldiers though, when I came home and found her just staring at the radiogram like that. Something terrible must have happened, and not just something a long time ago.
“What’s wrong, Mum?” I asked.
“Oh, Rose, he’s been dismissed.” Mum’s voice was so low I could hardly hear her.
“Who, Dad?”
“No, Whitlam. Gough Whitlam has been sacked.”
“Oh!” Mum liked Whitlam but Dad didn’t. I didn’t know much about politics, but I guessed there would be a fight when Dad got home. Mum and Dad had been fighting a lot lately. Sometimes it was about politics and sometimes it was about Mum going to art school.
It wasn’t fair. Mum’s art school had already finished for the year but I still had to go to school for weeks more. Mum wished her school was still going and I wished the holidays would finally arrive.

“Did you hear about the dismissal?” Mum asked Dad when he got home.
“He had to go, Adrienne,” Dad said. “The man’s a lunatic. He was destroying this country.”
Mum gave him her scary look. “Do you mean he was finally dragging it into the twentieth century?”
“Well, let’s not fight about it, agree to disagree. I’ve got some good news.”
“I’ve been promoted.” Dad stuck his chest out like a proud rooster. “We’re going to Sydney.”
“Just like that?” Mum said.
“No, not just like that. I’ve been working on this for months. It’s a great opportunity.”
“And you didn’t think to tell us? Don’t you think we have a right to know what you’re up to?” Somehow Mum had put me on her side. I didn’t like that. I didn’t want to be on a side, any side. I tried to sneak off to my room but Mum grabbed me. She held me out in front of Dad like I was some kind of weapon she could hurt him with.
“Look at your daughter,” Mum screamed. “Do you expect her to just pack up and leave all her friends?”
Leaving all my friends wouldn’t be too bad. I didn’t have any real friends, not real close friends. My friends were just school friends. I talked to them at school and that was it.
“Can we leave Rose out of this?” Dad asked.
This time I was on Dad’s side. I wanted to be left out of it. Not that it mattered what I thought. No-one ever asked what I wanted.
“No, we can’t leave her out of it,” Mum said. “She’s in it, whether you like it or not.”
She let go of my arms and I ran off to my room. I jumped onto my bed and buried my head in the pillow. I lay there the whole time they kept arguing, and stayed there after they stopped. I must have gone to sleep because Mum woke me up when dinner was ready.
“Now, dear,” she said. “Your father and I have decided to separate.”
“Good!” I’d heard enough fights to last a long time.
“Oh, don’t say that, dear.”
“Well, it’s better than fighting all the time.” I got up and went out to the dining room.
“Did you tell her?” Dad asked.
“Rose,” Mum said, “you have to decide if you want to go to Sydney with your father or stay here with me.”
“Oh.” I didn’t know what I wanted to do. It was too soon.
They both looked at me like a couple of lovable puppies. I could make one very happy but I had to kick the other one. I thought it was cruel to make me decide. It was like a movie I saw once where the Nazi guy told this lady that he was going to shoot one of her sons but she had to decide which one.
“You don’t have to make up your mind yet,” Dad said. “We won’t be going until after Christmas.”
“We!” Mum shot him a look that would burn steel.
“Now, Adrianne…” Dad began.
“Okay, let’s just eat our dinner. Shall we?”
We ate without speaking. I don’t remember what we had. I don’t remember if I put salt or sauce on it. I do remember that I didn’t ask for salt or sauce. If I couldn’t reach it I went without. I left the table as soon as I could and slunk back to my room.
As I lay there trying to sleep they started fighting again. Now, they were fighting over me, but not because either of them really wanted me. Mum was too busy with her art studies. Dad would be too busy with his new job. I was just a prize. I was a point they could score.
As I drifted off to sleep I suddenly thought of boarding school. I didn’t know anything about boarding school. I couldn’t imagine what it would be like, but it was a way that I didn’t have to decide which one to live with. Nobody wins so nobody loses.
Next morning at breakfast I said I wanted to go to boarding school.
“Boarding school?” They both looked stunned.
“I want to go to boarding school in Brisbane. That’s half way. I can have holidays with both of you in turns. That’s fair.”
They both looked at me like they’d never seen me before. Dad’s mouth kept moving but no words came out. It was like he wanted to say something, but stopped himself every time.
Finally Mum found a weak little voice. “If that’s what you really want, dear.”
“I’ll do some phoning around,” Dad said. “See what’s available.”
I hadn’t expected them to agree straight up like that. I suppose they both just wanted to not let the other one have me. This was a way of winning without having the hassles of putting up with me all the time.
It turned out that there weren’t many boarding schools, and all the good ones were booked out years in advance. Mum and Dad spent weeks trying to find one that would have me. I knew long before they made their decision that I would end up in the rattiest old dump there ever was.



I sometimes get depressed thinking about the slow pace of social change, but then I’m reminded of how things were back then.

When I was young the White Australia Policy was still in force, the stolen generations were still being stolen, men were only allowed by law to beat their wives once a week and to spare the strap was to spoil the child. Caning in schools was regular and brutal and in the home what would today be considered severe cases of ongoing child abuse were considered a normal part of the proper disciplining of children.

The most insidious thing though was RESPECT FOR AUTHORITY, most often expressed to me as, If you can’t respect the man, at least respect the position he holds.

What this meant was that any child who said anything about any adult was more likely to be punished than listened to and anyone of any age could be ostracised for criticising their social superiors. The result was silence. And within that silence anything was possible. The FitzGerald inquiry exposed some of the official corruption but the rampant paedophilia of the time is taking longer. The larger the authority gap between perpetrator and victim, the deeper the silence.

Back in the seventies it was university students who led the push for reform. Now the mantle seems to have been passed to Palm Island. RESPECT FOR AUTHORITY seems to have worn thin with those most often abused by that authority.

Thoughts on approaching sixty

It’s interesting the things I have been thinking about as I approach sixty. I always thought I would be able to retire at sixty. Now suddenly I have to work another seven years before I can get a pension. People are living longer, I’m told.

Sure, there are more older people now than when I was young, but there are fewer children and far fewer stay at home wives. I would be prepared to bet that there are more people in the workforce as a proportion to the total population than ever before. And this does not take into account the improvements in technology that we are constantly being told threaten to put us out of a job.

I could understand the need to work longer if we were even close to full employment. We’re not. Unemployment is high and youth unemployment is way too high.

How will it help the economy if I work an extra seven years and a young person never gets a job at all?