Review: The School Gate Survival Guide by Kerry Fisher

Title: The School Gate Survival Guide by Kerry Fisher

Published by: HarperCollins, Avon Books UK

RRP: £6.99

Availability: Paperback for £3.75 
                  Kindle Ebook for £1.49

My Rating: 5/5


A hilarious, straight-talking read for anyone who's ever despaired at the politics of the school run.

Maia Etxeleku is a cleaner for ladies who lunch. With mops and buckets in tow, she spends her days dashing from house to house cleaning up after them, as they rush from one exhausting Pilates class to the next.

But an unusual inheritance catapults her into the very exclusive world of Stirling Hall School - a place where no child can survive without organic apricots and no woman goes a week without a manicure.

As Maia and her children, Bronte and Harley, try to settle into their new life, Maia is inadvertently drawn to the one man who can help her family fit in. But is his interest in her purely professional? And will it win her any favours at the school gate?


If I were to put on my teacher hat that I used to have to wear, and mark this book, it would have been top of the class! I have never found myself so involved with the characters as I have done in this book. My goodreads status updates throughout reading this book make me giggle just to read them, so you can imagine what reading the book did to me!

Maia, is the main character in this book and you quickly grow to love her like you would a sister. I was rooting for her from day one. She is so down to earth, and despite her social status, is actually quite clever and definitely not one to attempt to walk all over, and that's why I liked her. She was raw, honest and most definitely a loyal character...I am having to actually remind myself that she is a character and not a real person (it hurts me to say it because I so want her to be real!).

We meet Maia when she's received news that one of her clients whom she cleans for has passed away. Professor Rose Stainton was one of her favourite clients who paid so much interest in her which was a change from her partner and father, Colin to her two children; Harley and Bronte. I have to say that Colin really got on my nerves - but that was down to Kerry's excellent writing as she perfectly captured the character of a waste of space, selfish, good for nothing toe-rag! Trust me, once you've got to grips with him, you'll be wanting to give him what for! Maia wants more for herself, she believes she could be more and so did the Prof. Maia wanted to do an Open University Degree (Something that I'm doing myself!) but if Colin wouldn't get off his lazy behind and get a job, how could she ever dream of doing it?

Maia, along with Colin and their children, live on a run down estate with the SD1 postcode, but Maia receives a gift for her children that makes her contemplate sending her children to the uber posh part of town with the SD2 post-coders. Always wanting to do what's best for her children, she agrees to send them to a better school but it doesn't come without consequences! The inheritance might be paying for her children to go to the posh school, but it doesn't account for her debts and basic day-to day living expenses. Still, she never gives up and continues to run her cleaning business.

As she learns the rules of mingling with the SD2 mums, Maia slowly deals with more upheaval in her life when her best friend turns out to be ... well not so friendly (jealousy is not a good look!), Colin shows his true colours... and fists which I am so thrilled that Maia did not stand for (Powerful message to anyone suffering from domestic violence .... even once is one time too many!), and the handsome man at Stirling Hall school... Zac, the head of Upper Year, well to me, he shows that just because one is not born into wealth, does not mean one cannot climb the social ladder and stay grounded. Fighting her corner, she meets a SD2 mum, Clover whom quickly become firm friends with each other and go out of their way to protect each other.

After the children's first term at Stirling Hall, and when Maia feels that she can't continue to afford the extras of their new education and will have to send them back to their old school, a little miracle occurs and Maia finally discovers who she is and the Professor, even from beyond the grave, can't help but offer assistance to Maia.... just when she needs it most. It was reading this part of the book that I posted one of my favourite updates to Goodreads;

"omg best news for Maia, I actually voiced my delight so much that the neighbours wondered what was up with me. almost wanted to give Colin the finger gesture myself. only 24 pages to go"

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, no actually I devoured it! It never disappointed me once, and kept me smiling and laughing throughout.  There's just one thing.... I loved it so much I want more!!! I got so connected to the characters that I can't help but wonder what happens next.

I have a few questions about the life of Maia.... her new life....

  • Did she do her Open University degree? What did she do throughout studying? What did she do after graduating?
  • Did Zac go teach at Morlands Primary?
  • What happened at Christmas for Maia and her family now.... that things have changed....?
  • What did the SD2 parents think of her now?
I could really see a "The School Gate Survival Guide to Christmas" as a follow up maybe ;)  I could see Jen1 totally trying to organise the school Christmas events, and then the holidays to Lapland.... Just an idea Kerry, haha



  1. Thank you so much for your lovely review, Dawn, you've no idea how much your little Goodreads updates on Twitter encouraged's the most an author can hope for - to see someone really loving the book!

  2. Kerry, I am touched, I'm glad my updates were positive for you xx Your book was fabulous, and I couldn't get enough of it. Looking forward to The Divorce Domino now! xxxx