Feisty Maia Etxeleku is a cleaner for ladies who lunch. She spends her life wiping up spilt Sauvignon and hoovering around handbags before rushing back home to skivvy after her children’s feckless father on an estate where survival depends on your ability to look the other way.
But an unusual inheritance catapults her into a different world where no child can survive without organic apricots and Kumon maths classes – and no woman can contemplate a week without Pilates and pedicures.
As she blunders through a middle class minefield, dashing from coffee mornings to her mops and buckets, she is drawn to the one man who can help her family fit in. But is his interest in her purely professional or will her modern My Fair Lady experiment end in disaster?
Maia is a character with whom the reader can immediately empathise with and I liked her straight away. She had an honest feeling about her. She is a mother of two who is working hard to make a better life for herself and her two children, Harley and Bronte. Her partner, Colin, is very little help. He’s lazy, unemployed and feels entitled to sponge off Maia who struggles to make ends meet working as a cleaner.
I found the social themes explored in this book very interesting as Maia is suddenly plunged into the middle class set without any of the money or social standing that goes with it and it was great to witness Maia’s transformation through the book. At the beginning, she’s not very confident (a trait I think we’ve all experienced at some point in our lives.) Maia seemed like a very ‘real’ character to me.
I adored Clover and want to be her friend. I would quite happily sit and read a novel from her point of view. She was unlike all of the other parents Maia encountered (Jennifer was very entitled and unpleasant.) Mr Peters was also a likeable hero. Colin and Sandy were great supporting characters – the kind you love to hate.
There were hilarious moments that had me laughing which were mixed in with more poignant and sad moments. I was sad to get to the end of the book as I had really become attached to these characters. I read this over a couple of sittings and couldn’t stop reading. Kerry’s writing style made it effortless to read and I got pulled in from the first page.
I loved this book. It’s perfect for those summer afternoons. I look forward to seeing more from Kerry.
You can buy the kindle edition from Amazon. The paperback edition is also available for pre-order.
The School Gate Survival Guide was released by Avon on 3rd July.
Novel Kicks is a blog for story tellers and book lovers.