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Puberty Blues

3.44 of 5 stars 3.44  ·  rating details  ·  870 ratings  ·  96 reviews
Bestselling author Kathy Lettes debut novel is available in Britain for the first time.

Written twenty years ago, Puberty Blues is the bestselling account of growing up in the 1970s that took Australia by storm and spawned an eponymous cult movie. It also marked the starting point of Kathy Lette's writing career, which sees her now as an author at the forefront of her field

120 pages
Published (first published 1979)
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Shirley Marr
I deadset wanted to read this book, yeah totally reckon, before they showed it on the television, rite? Those slackarse molls Top Chicks (who live on the good side of Cronulla Goodreads, so not dick'ed authors) - Mandee, Belle, Zoe and Jess, said k'niver ave a go wid ya and I thought perf! Bloody oaff we 'ad an unroole time. I wore me new angora jumper (just off layby from Grace Brothers - 'ave a feel wudya?) and we all did our nails so preedy! We looked like real disco divas ey.

... I was going
Puberty Blues is, as Shirley puts it, an Australian cult classic. Written in 1979, our narrator, thirteen year old Debbie, tells us about the Surfie culture in Cronulla and the surrounding suburbs of Southern Sydney. Debbie and best friend, Sue, love going to the beach and dream of the day they can leave the losers of South Cronulla behind and join the cool kids at Greenhills. What follows is quite a sad coming of age tale, told in a very Australian way.

Debbie and Sue start out hanging at South
I read Puberty Blues along with the Top Chicks Shirley,Jess, Lissa, Zoe and Mandee a couple of weeks ago, and because I'm a slack-arsed moll I'm only getting around to writing my review now.

My first encounter withPuberty Blues was when I was a young teenager; my mum would sing the theme song from the movie whenever I would get all angsty. It was as annoying as it sounds. When I was a little older I watched the movie, and was pretty horrified, cringing the whole way through. When I was a little o
I read Puberty Blues when I was 15, in the early 80's. it was a breath of fresh air. Everything we read at the time was English or American, teens were either awfully middle class or living in poverty in a coal mine. But puberty blues was like a Monday morning conversation at school - who went to whose party, who got drunk/wasted, who was dropped. Surfie boys were kings, sitting outside the library at lunchtime with cool girls (never going IN the library!). and the scandal when someone NOT cool ...more

Pretty Blues I have to say I mostly love is for not holding back at all, it's content was not sugar coated which I think is one of it's most strongest points.

It doesn't beat around the bush or just hint that something happened, it just is thrown in your face very much like having a bucket of cold water thrown on your face. First you have your sharp intake of breath and eyes widening in shock then after awhile your mind is clear and very aware with nothing that is hazy and uncertain.

I don't get it.
What was the point of this book?
To shock?
To antagonise?
Yeah, the terminology is different, but that would have been completely normal in the 70's, that was how teenagers were expected to talk. So what was the point?
There is no plot, no storyline, no character development other than, "How about we stop listening to these sexist idiots and do something for ourselves?"
It's original, but doesn't live up to its potential. Yeah, this was probably a big refresher when it came out, but
A snapshot of the microcosm of a Sydney beach-side suburb, but also of the time in two girls' lives when they were 13-16 years old. I admired the rawness and honesty. I was shocked and felt bad for many of the characters, especially in light of the listing at the end of the book about who ends up where. The sentences 'That's why nearly every young Australian girl gets deflowered in a car. That's the only place there is.' is one example of how the authors thought that what they were doing was the ...more
Mark Abbott
I have read this book twice, firstly when it came out and thirty years later.

I should point out when it came out it was regarded as the book that blew a lot of late seventies taboo's out of the water. This book shocked people in the Shire.

I also remember thinking of Lette's association with Cronulla when she was in fact from the less desirable Sylvania Heights (local knowledge here.) The book is written from the perspective that she was in THE group in Cronulla, in truth at this time Cronulla w
I first read this book when I was a young teenager and I remember it being a huge book, a big story and the thing I took away from it was the drugs rather than the sex... not sure why that was, maybe more freaked out by heroin that boys. I also read Christiana F and another diary-type book about heroin addiction around the same time, add in a dose of AIDS related propaganda advertising and I was NEVER going to be a smackie!! I think rereading this as an adult (without children), it almost a memo ...more
Jacqui Noorbergen
I am really loving the series on channel ten, Australian tv. I like to know what will happen next so I always read the reviews, however since this is a new show there were none except people discussing the book. I bought the book on itunes and read it basically in one sitting. Wow!! I really understand myself now. Refering to anyone who lived more than across the road from the beach 'a westy' amongst other colourful language ideas. I loved the book to look back on my own childhood - which was 80 ...more

I read the book when it was first published and I was a young girl. I enjoyed it then, it was a different world to what I was living in and I did and didn't want to be part of it. The tv series was excellent, looked forward to it every week and am really glad they are making a series 2. I wanted to read the book again to see how different it was to the tv show and how i felt about it reading it as a mum. First off it was so badly written, I read it in a day because I really couldn't have taken
Deservedly or otherwise, Puberty Blues is a classic of Australian writing. In some cases it's known because it's notorious - for its portrayal of sex, of gender relationships in a particular place and time, for lifting the lid on gender inequalities and gendered behaviours in the southern beachside suburbs of Sydney in the 1970s.

It's the sort of book that many of my peers read in high school, much closer to the age of the protagonists Debbie and Sue than I am. However, I'm really glad that I did
First of all I'd like to point out I am an Australian, and no we don't actually talk like that, even the teenagers of that generations. The books is a gross exaggeration on all accounts, culture and hyper sexuality.

I was disappointed at how much I had to pay on Kindle for a book that took me just over an hour to read. Don't be misled by the new tv series, the two are nothing alike. The recent Australian TV series is whimsical and innocent and features older main characters dabbling in the ways o
I can't believe this book is 35 years old. It remains a very confronting read, especially now I am an adult with young teenage children of my own. I have given it 4 stars which suggests I really liked truth it pained me in many sections knowing how true to life it was....especially the very under-age sexual experiences of the protagonists. When I first heard about this book I was 13. It was highly controversial and there is no way I would have read it or been allowed to read it. I though ...more
this book was just ... okay. the language is kind of hilarious, and even though i grew up 20 years after this story is set, i could still relate to a lot of the stuff going on. it's all very australian! it's also only a very short book so if you're feeling curious about surfie culture in the 70s, give it a go. just don't expect too much. :p

there wasn't really that much of a storyline and (view spoiler)
Sex never sounded less appealing. Puberty Blues is unstructured, essentially non-fiction and more like a diary than a novel. It's an awkward, straight re-telling of the authors' upbringing in Sydney's infamous "Shire". Puberty has always interested me; it's when our emotions are at their most tender and intense, and we begin to dabble in the things that will later become our excesses. Boys, girls, drugs, music, heartbreak - toes dipped in lakes. I've explored it on my own albums Macquarie Centre ...more
Julie scott
This novel is exactly wat i thought it would be FANTASTIC ......I absolutely luved the movie which i've seen upteen times n now i'm addicted 2 the tv series. I read this novel in jst 1 nite as yes it was short but throughly enjoyable n the slang was funny!!! FAROUT n DEADSET
Patricia Ange
For me book is supposed to be a form of education, entertainment and/or escape. Maybe in some cases a book will cause me to reflect upon life in general or my life specifically. For me a great book has most of the elements listed above but also will strike an emotional code within me or just elicit an emotional response.

For me this story was very difficult to get through. The local dialect made it hard for me to follow/understand at times. The plot of story seemed very underdeveloped as did most
Jan Kebede

Read it in a day! The kind of book where u ignore life as you want to know what happens! Was much more gritty and real then tv show and movie. Very well written. Would recommend to all young women and men. Ya moll!
This was said to be ground-breaking, hilarious and an insight into Australian life when it was first published. Let's just say that I didn't think so, on all three counts, and it was badly written too.
Sarah Mackenzie
I love an Aussie story full of molls and dickheads.
just as good as I remembered
A sort of comming of age novel set in Cronulla in the 1970s.

What first got me about the book was the two forwards - one by an ex Australian sopie star come pop star and the other a aging Australian feminist author, neither whom really fit the bill of what I expected this book to be - not that i had expected much, I don't recal every hearing about it and it was definately never required reading in school (understandably). I would be surprised if this book was never a "banned book", but asume the
Melissa (Book Nerd Reviews)
I was a big fan of the Puberty Blues TV show that was shown on Channel 10 last year. I absolutely loved this story, set in the 70's of Debbie and Sue and all the trouble they got up to. Ultimately it's a coming of age story, and even though it was written in 1979, it's still every bit as relevant today as it was back then.

For Debbie and Sue, they're two 13 year olds who are just trying to get in with the popular kids, who are surfies. They hang out at the beach, the girls watch their boyfriends
Melissa (Book Nerd Reviews)
I was a big fan of the Puberty Blues TV show that was shown on Channel 10 last year. I absolutely loved this story, set in the 70's of Debbie and Sue and all the trouble they got up to. Ultimately it's a coming of age story, and even though it was written in 1979, it's still every bit as relevant today as it was back then.

For Debbie and Sue, they're two 13 year olds who are just trying to get in with the popular kids, who are surfies. They hang out at the beach, the girls watch their boyfriends
I first bought and read this when I was traveling abroad in Australia. At that point in time I found that having this backstory enriched my traveling experience, as I surfed at some of the beaches along Sydney's coast.

Finding Pubery Blues again in one of my boxes of books, I recently reread it, and just put it into my classroom library--with some hesitation.

When I booktalked this title to my students, I recommended it to students who really liked Go Ask Alice, though it is a little bit tamer in
Puberty Blues is such an Aussie classic, I can't believe it's taken me this long to read it. There are a couple of women in my classes that read this when it first came out, and it was so cool to see the way they talked about it and the effect it had on teenagers back then.

I'm not gonna lie, the only reason I bought this ebook was because of the TV version of Puberty Blues that was showing at the time. I loved the show and I loved the characters, so I thought, why not read the book?

It's not perf
This only took me an hour to read, if that. I liked it, wait... scrap that...I loved it!
I've seen the TV show and the girls are a couple of years older. Debbie and Sue are round about 15, but in the book 13yrs old. What I couldn't believe was 13 year olds going out... drinking, getting stoned and having sex. Come on...13! a bit too young.

Us aussie girls don't all act like that, but nowdays, some still do and its getting down to 12yr olds when they should be in bed asleep! Most teenages go out,
Kirsten Krauth
Get lost, ya moll! Puberty Blues hits TV
(from my blog, Wild Colonial Girl, at

I’m in a bedroom. I’m 10 years old (give or take). There’s a group of us girls. I’m the youngest. The others are family and friends. They’re handing around a book carefully, gingerly, as if it has germs. But they’re reading it hungrily. I’m at the end of the line, keen to see what’s inside. One of the girls (who I don’t know), says: She can’t have it, she’s too young. But I’m f
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