A review by zzara
How Decent Folk Behave by Maxine Beneba Clarke

challenging dark emotional hopeful reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? N/A
  • Strong character development? N/A
  • Loveable characters? N/A
  • Diverse cast of characters? N/A
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? N/A


People speak about 'no skips albums,' this is a no skips book of poetry. Every single poem is absolutely beautiful. How Decent Folk Behave hit me right in the heart, it spoke to me in a way that made me feel like it was written for me. It spoke to my strange nostalgia for COVID lockdowns in Melbourne (something I probably need to unpack in therapy), capturing what I feel about those times, the good and the bad, with such accuracy. Even the poems that didn't speak directly to my experience, about the experience of racism in Australia, about having children, were written so accurately and devastatingly. The rhythm of these poems, dipping in an out of rhyme, was just beautiful, and the lack of capital letters was the cherry on top of this five-star cake.