One of the things that Laura and Heddy did together is to go to Brownie girls meetings. A Brownie is a member of a Guiding organization for girls aged seven years old to ten years old. In the UK Brownies work towards interest badges. These can be done in meetings with the unit or at home or in clubs such as swimming. Brownies can also work towards their Adventure badges. These are gained over a period of time and require girls to complete many different activities, such as going on an adventure, taking part in an activity with another unit and earning an interest badge.
Laura’s life revolves around her children and school. One of the things that she mentions is PTA. PTA is Parent-Teacher Association. In the United Kingdom Parent Teacher Associations are common, being present in the majority of schools . PTAs are, in general not involved in the Governance of Schools, that is a matter for the school governing bodies, but in practice parents who are active in the PTA will tend to engage in the elections of parent representatives (Parent Governors).
I also know that school governors are important in the administration of a school. In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, school governors are members of a school’s Governing Body. In state schools they have responsibility for raising school standards. Governors are unpaid, but they may be reimbursed for expenses for such as the care of dependants or relatives and travel costs.
One of the important details in the novel is the secret that Laura’s father has: the building where Heddy’s dad worked had asbestos. Prolonged inhalation of asbestos fibres can cause serious and fatal illnesses including lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis.