This is the story of three women - Albertine (Bert), Vicky and Tess - and their unusual, enduring and often hilarious friendship. From the tank-topped 70s to the caring, sharing 90s, they manage to maintain their special bond in the face of a hectic, ever-changing, bewildering world.
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September 1970. Albertine does not want to start her first day at the North London Girls' College wearing a uniform that "wasn't just second-hand but advertised this shameful fact by being bobbled all the way down the front." However, at "eleven years old Albertine was resigned to the fact that her mum didn't put her first, had never put her first and what's more didn't see why being her mother meant that she should."
And then, on her first day at school, she meets Tess--who re-christens her new friend Bert--and Vicky. They form an instant gang, and remain inseperable for the next seven years, while Bert turns herself into the naughtiest girl in the school, Tess battles with laughter-induced incontinence and watches loads of old movies and Vicky becomes an elegant, beautiful, good student. In the meantime Bert's mum decides to do some voluntary work at the school--which finishes after she's discovered being even naughtier than her daughter with the school's (male) music teacher and a grand piano. And the girls grow up, giggling, being rude to teachers, discovering sex, passing and failing exams, falling "Officially In Love", not necessarily in that order, and then leaving school and trying to work out what they want to do with their lives.
By the time they hit 40, each of them has somehow--more through luck than judgement--moulded an individual not-quite-conventional life that suits them. But still the patterns, squabbles and intensity of their mutual bond have endured. A fun and sympathetic portrayal of the ups and downs, ins and outs of female friendship by the author of Does My Bum Look Big In This?. --Lisa Gee
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