Book Review: The School Gate Survival Guide by Kerry Fisher.


Imagine This: Your life smells (nothing like Chanel No.5, but) of bleach and Glade as a cleaner of spas, country clubs and ginormous homes of the well-to-do. You do not have an easy life. Not with your children and their constant needs. And a ‘partner’ who hasn’t proposed for nineteen years who’s so much of a lazy slob, all he does for full-time is rant at you.

Life couldn’t get any worse than this when the people around your estate are mostly crack-heads, teenagers who get knocked up and become dropouts. Could this be the future of your kids?

Then when the death of a Professor who was always keen on you as her cleaner, catapults your children into the life of highly-esteemed schools where all the mums arrive in Land Rovers, organize tea meetings in their plush homes after the school drop-off so the new mums could get acquainted with the system of things (and hierarchy of things), have mani-pedi dates with one another discussing which tutor is shipped from where helping their child’s math, you are both enamoured and frightened.

How are you going to pay the bills now that the children want to go on rugby tours in South Africa? Or put much effort into organizing bake sales with all the mums who know nothing about running shifts to scrub other people’s toilets? How can you cope with a partner who cannot wait for you to arrive so he could berate you for all the wrong choices you’ve made in your life (excluding running off with him, of course)?
And what do you do about the Head Teacher who’s showing such interest in you you can hardly focus when you are doing someone’s toilet?

Maia Exteleku’s life summed for your delight.

I loved, loved this book! So in my review you know I’d be urging you to grab a duster and do your own cleaning so you could take (mini) breaks and sit cross-legged with this book in your lap?

Beautiful story-line! Girl’s day job is cleaning. Girl doesn’t really dream of life more than that, but she’d like that the council tax people would take it easier on her. Girl has always dreamt of going back to school for a degree to better her life, but if only the man who has never proposed to her for nineteen years would give her a little encouragement rather than take up all her savings to hit the pubs when he’s grumpy (which is always). If only Girl could get her life together and give her children the good life they deserve, she’d be more than accomplished. Except on the way to giving children a good life, children want horses, bitchy mums cannot wait to downgrade her, Head Teachers cannot help but flirt and neighbours cannot help but envy what she has (which is nothing!). Brilliant. A star to the story-line.── ★

I adored the main character, Maia. She’s so relatable. She has this whiplash, direct tone laced with humour that gives the reader no chance to indulge in annoying constant bemoaning of her troubles. You would love her for trying to make the school run when she’s so late to scrubbing off someone’s floors. You would also love her for being about the only mum who doesn’t have the luxury to mani-pedi yet isn’t envious of all the others. You would also love her for being committed to succeeding in a life that keeps slamming her on her bottom with mountains of debt (so she could imitate a late aunt with a Spanish accent to tell off the creditors). A star to her!── ★★

The development of the supporting cast made this book worth-reading too. You would love Sandy, the neighbour next-door who cannot always wait to rub it in our lead’s face how much she’s trying to be prim and proper when cleaning other people’s shit is all she does. You would want to kick the gonads, of Colin, the ‘partner’ who only cares about his beers and West Ham. You would find Jennifer, one of the school mums, utterly annoying for wanting to be such a bitch every time to our lead for her chosen profession. There’s also Clover, one of the nicer mums, whose foul-mouth causes her children to take after her. Venetia, who is always going on about the necessity to pick out colleges for your nine year-olds and teaching them foreign languages so they could easily get into Oxford even if they wouldn’t encounter anyone in their lives who spoke Mandarin.  A star to all these and more.── ★★★

In every chapter there’s a cliff-hanger, something to keep you flicking the pages. I was hooked. Lots of OMG moments thrown in there as well. There’s also so much you could giggle at as an extra to make this book a kicking read.── ★★★★

I did love this book. But the first opening pages (twenty) were not that engaging and were shaky for me. However, after I got past the shaky bit I read all the others in a day!
So my rating: 4.5 stars/ 5 (4.5/5)

Too much for a debut, Kerry Fisher’s book is available on Amazon. I do hope you get it as well as her latest, The Island Escape which also sounds equally fab!

I recommend this book to anyone who loves chick-lit leads with not-so-glamorous lives and jobs. Anyone who wants a book into the life of an immigrant should also run off with this book. Anyone who wants to get on with something from a debut author they’d love to stick with through all other bestsellers in the future.

My work not done here. Off to post my review on Goodreads.


  1. Thank you for your lovely review, Kobby…so delighted you enjoyed it! Kerry :)

  2. Survival Things Our Great-Grandfathers Built Or Did Around The House

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