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All of us must learn eventually that our parents are both smarter than we think they are and also less powerful.

At sixteen, Madeline 'Maddo' Cooper is smarter, stronger and braver than anyone else she knows - especially her boring, pathetic mother, Delores; or Gran as everyone calls her. But Delores has quite a past - though of course, she's never advertised the fact to her children.

Growing up, Delores was the belle of the small, dusty Queensland town of Coobandra. Her parents thought of her as money in the bank! She would marry well and they'd never have to worry about her again. But life didn't go according to plan; one tiny decision shattered everything for Delores, scattering her family across the state and sending her into exile after making a desperate marriage to an unsuitable man.

Half a lifetime later, Madeline, the product of that union, is too arrogant to even try to imagine the hidden forces that shaped her parents' lives. She doesn't bother to hide the contempt she feels for them.

But the years educate her.

When Maddo's son Jed is born in traumatic circumstances on Anzac Day, an obsession with this Australian and New Zealand military celebration takes hold of her, an obsession which will destroy her life, push her down the slippery slope of alcoholism and alienate her from both her mother and her son.

As a destructive relationship with a violent alcoholic and her descent into her own addiction slowly strip her of all self control, Jed begins to view her with the same contempt she has always shown for her own mother.

Something's got to give. Who will live and who will die? Can they break the cycle and become a family again before it's too late?

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