I like to think that I can pick up any book and immerse myself in it's world, and this is the last one in a while that I've actually felt oddly excluded from. I'm not a mother, and don't understand the politics of the playground, so all of the jokes about the clique of playground mothers, donned the "playground mafia", etc didn't go over my head - believe me, I've met mothers who insist that their little darling is a perfect beam of sunshine - but rather simply weren't funny to me. Plus, I was bothered by the fact that this book's plot was exactly what it said on the tin, as it were: it simply went through a year in the life of a playground mother. Each chapter was a month, and each month described this mother's activities: which mothers she was friends with, who her children were friends with, and who was having an affair in the village. In short, half of the book was occupied with the narrator complaining about selfish mothers who formed cliques and sought gossip about one another, and the other half was occupied with the narrator doing exactly that.
Rachel Young moves away from the suburbs to the country in the hope of being released from the grip of a playground mafia. These are the women who inspect other children's reading levels to ensure that their own child is best of the best. BUT this village turns out to be filled with even more odd characters than her home town. From Camilla, who often forgets she has a daughter as well as a son and a multitude of coats in her wardrobe, roving-eye Rupert, Mr F.P (Frisky Pensioner), and more, Rachel's life is going to be anything but peaceful for the next year.
Have you read it? What did you think?