Marianne Musgrove
April 10th, 2013

A Notable Revenge

This just in:

The Beginner’s Guide to Revenge has made the Notables list for the 2013 Children’s Book Council of Australia Awards. Cue: much whooping and woo-hooing (and possibly a little dance of joy in the privacy of my study).

Since a notable book requires a notable dress in which to celebrate, I hunted through my wooden chest and happened across this fabulicious 1980’s taffeta number.

Notable dress

Marianne in her notable dress with her notable book

Thanks go to the CBCA and the judges for all their hard work. Congratulations to all the other notablees and short-listees!

“Don’t get mad, get even.”

– Robert F. Kennedy

My book is about revenge and revenge is certainly in the ether. Just look at the popularity of the TV program of the same name. But is revenge ever a just thing? Is forgiving someone just letting them off the hook or is it the courageous option?

The Beginner’s Guide to Revenge follows the adventures of two thirteen years old, Sebastian and Romola, as they tread this ethical minefield. To read an excerpt, click here.

Beginner's Guide to Revenge title cover

Where does revenge come from?

A guy called Lawrence Kohlberg studied the moral development of humans. He speculated that in a child’s early years, their actions are motivated by avoiding punishment and self-interest. Later, they reason that ‘It’s wrong to hurt someone unless they hurt you first, in which case, it’s open slather’.

The final stage is where a person is guided by higher ethical considerations. For example, ‘I shouldn’t hit that person because it would be bad for society if people went around hitting each other’. From my observation, not a lot of adults reach this final stage!

Ethical quandaries

  • If someone breaches your confidence on Facebook, is it okay to share a secret of theirs in return?
  • The courts put law-breakers in gaol. Is this Government-sanctioned revenge and, if so, why are they allowed to take revenge and not to rest of the population?
  • Can revenge be a form of justice?

And the flip-side of revenge – forgiveness

  • Is forgiveness the same as condoning or excusing an an action?
  • Should you forgive someone if they haven’t apologised first?
  • Is there such a thing as an unforgivable sin?

For more ethical quandaries, check out the teachers’ notes.

Revenge is sweet?


Image courtesy of piyato at

Everyone is familiar with the saying “Revenge is sweet”. Not many are aware of that that the full quotation, by 2nd century satirist and poet, Juvenal, actually goes like this:

‘Revenge is sweet, sweeter than life itself – so say fools.’

Something to ponder …

Thanks for stopping by 🙂


2 Responses to “A Notable Revenge”

  1. Elizabeth

    Congratulations Marianne. Love the notable dress. I have read Beginners Guide to Revenge and can highly recommend it.

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