Monday, 26 August 2013

Book Review: The School Run - Sophie King

Synopsis - Meet seven very different people - all on the same route to school.

Home loving Harriet is wondering whether her marriage is on or off.  Widower Nick is struggling to cope with his troublesome teenage daughter.  Working mum Pippa is waiting for some potentially devastating hospital results.  School teacher Kitty has accepted a bet to find a man in a week.  Step-mum Evie has to save her career and find her missing husband.  French au pair Martine is about to run off with a married man.  Distraught Betty watches by the roadside, looking for the driver who hit her son.

Little do they know that over the course of one week the school run will have become a collision course, connecting their lives in more ways than one.

Review - Chicklit is not my favourite genre to read as unfortunately, all too often it is so predictable.  Having said that I have read some very good and very funny chicklit and on the other end of the scale some downright awful.  This book comes in the middle, average, not especially funny although there are moments that raise a smile if not a titter.

The author has packed an awful lot into this book, many characters with their own individual story lines.  At first I had to keep peeking at the fly leaf to remember which character was being talked about and where they fitted in.  After a couple of chapters I had got it.  Harriet and her selfish, philandering husband Charlie.  Widower Nick a professional photographer, dealing with his grief and teenage daughter.  Kitty the newly qualified teacher with a heart of gold, was she essential to the story?  We don't usually see the teaching staff in school parent chicklit.  I would say she wasn't necessary, however, this interlude didn't detract from the story.  In fact her pieces gave us some insight into the children themselves, particularly Harriet's son Bruce.  Evie, career minded step mum coping with her two rude stepchildren and unemployed husband Robin.  French au pair Martine, oh dear!!  Not a very good advert for the French or au pairs.  Portrayed as a complete and utter bimbo, only interested in men and extremely gullible, when in reality many au pairs are students making ends meet and highly intelligent.  Was she essential?  Not really, although she did beef up an ordinary story with some memorable moments.  Pippa, Harriet's friend tackling fear and worry over her discovery of a lump.  Betty, again, not sure if this little story was relevant except to press a point across about the dangers of traffic.

As I said in the paragraph above, an awful lot has been packed in and you could arguable say a bit too much.  The author obviously wants to push home the dangers of traffic, parents driving their offspring to school and all the issues surrounding that such as, use of mobile phones whilst driving, not leaving children unattended in vehicles and taking due care when parking outside schools.  She has managed to do this with some interesting characters, although I'm not sure I liked the way Betty was portrayed and her outcome.  The au pair scenario ended in a muddle it was apparent her boyfriend was away on a business trip as was one of the husband's who had been overheard chatting in French on his mobile.  Why couldn't Martin have just ended up with this man?  Why introduce another father and Martine's friend Therese at the end?  Again, Kitty's ending.  Leave it at the fact she has chemistry with the bus driver.  Why have her going on mundane dates with other ad hoc and irrelevant characters?  Unnecessary.  It's not bad, as I said there are moments and it compares with much of the chicklit formulae I have read previously.  3*

ISBN 0-340-83836

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