Culture Street

Books

Friends Like These by Wendy Harmer

On August 16, 2012

By Sophia Whitfield

Wendy Harmerís voice is one most Sydneysiders are familiar with. For 11 years she championed breakfast radio. †Last year she launched The Hoopla, a news and opinion site for Australian women. Harmer is now the highly successful author of the childrenís book series, Pearlie. Women Like These is her fourth adult novel.

Set to the glittering backdrop of the affluent Eastern Suburbs Friends Like These follows the life of two close friends, Jo and Suze. The opulence of Eastern Suburbs mansions and the irreverence of ladies who lunch is told with the humour we have come to expect of Wendy Harmer.

A year ago, 45 year old Jo Blanchard, the deputy headmistress of the elite Darling Point Ladies College, left the school in a cloud of scandal. She left behind her husband and palatial family home determined to give herself a new start in life. As Jo begins carving out a life for herself as a celebrant, her friend Suze is struggling to pay her daughterís school fees from the meagre income she earns as a florist. Suze is the only friend Jo has and is a breath of fresh air from the fast living, couture wearing, well coiffed ladies of the Eastern Suburbs.

Private schools are cited throughout the book, some named, and others given suspiciously similar names to well known private schools in Sydney. In the same vein Harmer uses familiar surnames for students attending the elite private school.

Harmerís book is a witty look at life in the throes of wealth, greed and betrayal. Jo Blanchardís fall from grace is supposedly based on a real-life incident at a private girls school.

Sydneysiders will find much to amuse themselves in Harmerís latest book. Harmer may never be invited back to the Eastern Suburbs!

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