Note I read this book when it was originally released as The Class Ceiling in 2013. Since then it has been re-released, first as The School Gate Survival Guide and is now called The Not So Perfect Mum.
This book is a fun, easy read about school gate politics and life as a parent. The protagonist Maia lives in a less-than-desirable place, with a less-than-desirable partner, doing less-than-desrable work – but one day she finds herself in a position where her children are given a scholarship to the local public school. Obviously, she feels that she stands out like a sore thumb and seems to instantly make enemies of some of the snobbier mums.
This part of the story is an extreme version of something we can all relate to – that feeling of being an impostor at the school gate. We can all sometimes feel like one of the parents at the school gate looks down upon us or sniffs at our children’s breakfast-smudged faces. Maia does meet a nice fellow mum who becomes a good friend though, and muddles on through whilst developing a bit of a crush on one of the teachers at the posh school. This book highlights the distaste the English middle class often seem to feel for those occupying the lower rungs of the social ladder. Some of the characters are so gloriously bitchy, they awoke my inverse snobbery and I found myself outraged on Maia’s behalf!
There was something about this book that just kept me reading. It’s a very easy read, but far from your standard “chick lit” book. I felt there was something of an intelligent undertone (if such a thing exists). The storyline was far from predictable and ther ewas a twist towards the end that I definitely did not see coming.
I don’t read a lot of fiction, but I found this book well written, brilliantly thought out and expertly assembled.
Thanks for reading. You can read my other book reviews here.
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