I know. There are still a few days/weeks left before the full school circus begins for another year. It means you have plenty of time to get back into a good rhythm with this book!
Title: The School Run
Author: Helen Whitaker
Date of publication: 8 August 2019
Number of pages: 336
Two mothers. Two daughters. One school place.
Imogen and Lily are old friends – they’ve shared hangovers, unsuitable boyfriends and wild nights out together. But now they’re mums, and their partying days are behind them.
When a place comes up at one of the best primary schools in the area, both women want it for their daughters. From faking religious beliefs to bogus break-ups, Imogen and Lily will go to any lengths to secure the perfect school for their children – and so will all the other mothers.
Will their friendship survive the strain? Will their marriages take the pressure? And when a sexy new vicar arrives on the scene, will the mothers’ keep focus for long enough to keep their eyes on the prize?
A hilarious, heartwarming read, perfect for fans of Sophie Kinsella and Fiona Gibson.
Do you remember your school days? I recall the relief that almost overwhelmed me when the bell rang the end of the day. I can still see my mom near the gates, talking to other moms. I never paid much attention. Life was already so busy, how could I think of what mothers deal with when they are out of our sight? But the magic of books is to take you back and help you grasp the subtleties you missed, the fleeting moments that never reached you but played its part in your life, or the life of someone you love. That’s just what I found here…
I picked The School Run in honor of those blissful days when I didn’t know life was complicated. I wanted to fill the other side of the school gate with stories.
Helen Whitaker’s novel feels so authentic that it is both hilarious and painful! All of a sudden, the children’s world felt uncomplicated!! Adults walk on eggs while their kids paint their clothes! Well, I am simplifying, but at the heart of The School Run, I found a beautiful and scary mirror. Mothers and children being linked by an invisible cord, each with their struggles. Friends? Enemies? Work/Homework? Feelings? It’s all there, it’s all ready for us to read about, to relate with, and to smile.
A long time ago, Lily and Imogen were close friends. Different but on parallel paths, they shared so much that their connection was supposed to withstand the passing of time. Until one day it all stopped. Forward five years later and they are reunited at the gates of a school with an outstanding reputation.
The first day of their upbringing and their way to deal with it told me right away that there were unsolved issues in the air as well as very different takes on parenting. There is no right or wrong, as we get both point of views. I felt the gap between the friends just as much as the small flicker of the old warmth they used to share, and I bonded with both women really fast.
Lily, married, working mom, doing her best not to roll her eyes at the rules and hoping she can channel the most religious part of herself to cope with the primary school’s beliefs. Looking at her watch, she prays she won’t be late for work…
Imogen, long-time girlfriend, PR ace working freelance, embracing motherhood with a blog dedicated to the best role of her life. Teary-eyed and worried about leaving her daughter for the first time, her heart breaks when Winnie starts flying solo.
Around them, dozens of mothers with the same goal: make sure their kid get into the school. For this, they must tick off many criterion on a list. And we all know there is nothing a mother won’t do…
Mothers can be scary!!! When you say goodbye to high school, you think you’re leaving feuds, silly competitions, nastiness, and whatnot behind. Then you’re propelled into the Adult World. As a woman, you are expected to be efficient at work, sexy and a great cook at home, the best friend one can hope, and, when the time comes, Super Mom. Pressure, much?
With their different paths and background, every character in the book opened my eyes to the insecurities being a parent, or even just a human being, brings, as well as the comfort we all need at some point. The biggest lesson however, is that we all totally suck at communication!!! But life does this to us, doesn’t it? It makes the most normal situations look terrifying, it turns the world into something you need to fight against instead of what you need to embrace.
The School Run takes us on a crazy ride where the price is a golden seat in a school. That Holy Graal is at the center, and everyone gravitates around it. Groups form. Loneliness catches up. Daily worries made me laugh. Misunderstanding made me ‘tut’ I just loved hating the haters, I adored rooting for Lilly and Imogen, I enjoyed watching the kids evolve, unaware of the storm around them.
There are all kind of parents in this book. The ones who register a second home to get extra points. The ones who won’t get their kids get chocolate. The ones desperate to move within the vicinity of the school so their babies can get a better chance. The ones who volunteer for fund-raising… Being a parent is exhausting but makes for a terribly good book!
Just how far is too far? With their eyes on that primary school, could those women lose sight of what is important?
With a spot-on narrative making the reader feel like they’re in an elevator going up and down at full speed, the author creates a frank account of what women go through. It is honest, genuine, emotional, fun, and a great read to pick before the new school term!
I’d like to thank Tracy for organising a lovely tour and for inviting me to be part of it. Thank you to Trapeze for the review copy I received.
Discover more about The School Run!
Helen Whitaker is a 38-year-old journalist and mum-of-one living in Walthamstow. She is the former Entertainment Director of Glamour, and has written for a number of publications including Stella, The Telegraph, Fabulous and Total Film. Helen is currently Deputy Editor at British Airways High Life magazine.