Love and Punishment, by Wendy Harmer

“Dear Francie,
My boyfriend left me for my best friend a year ago and now he wants me to come to counselling with him to help him get over the guilt. What do you think?”
Of course once Francie would have thought it was a good idea. Two people sitting down like adults and resolving their conflict. But not now.
She typed: “Take to his car with a hammer and tell him the only place you’ll go with him is to a panel beater.”

When Francie was given the job of writing the Seriously Single column she’ d thought it was a bit of a joke – after all, she was madly in love with Nick and, she thought, practically married. But she’s managed to make a success of the column, and now that she’s found herself single again, she has more material to write about. But Francie doesn’t want to be single. Nick, the man she thought she would marry, has dumped her for an older woman. And not just any woman, a famous actress, which means Francie can’t escape from photos, news stories, even posters, rubbing the new relationship in her face.

Francie moves into a new shared house and starts to learn to live the single life, but there’s something she doesn’t want anyone to know – an act of retribution against Nick and his new woman which could ruin her career and all her friendships. Did Francie go too far?

Love and Punishment is a funny exploration of the lives of thirty-something singles. Filled with humour, it also has a serious side as Francie struggles to understand why her relationship didn’t work, and why her family is so dysfunctional. Her friends, too, have their own problems, which are played out in the background of Francie’s dramas.

Popular television funny-girl Wendy Harmer shows once again that her writing skills are as wonderful as her stand-up work.

Love and Punishment, by Wendy Harmer
Allen & Unwin, 2006