This month's book for the Britmums Bookclub was The Playground Mafia by Clare Christian & Elisabeth Kent. It's a lighthearted easy read that is perfect to dip into if you haven't got time to sit down and read a novel. I finished it in one sitting on the ferry from Dover to Calais so it took about an hour and a half to read and, as it's split into short sections, it's not a problem if you're constantly interrupted by children needing drinks, toilet trips or answers to random existential questions (which will be the case for most of the target audience, as it's about parents of young children !)
The book gives a humorous rundown of the different mums (and a few dads for good measure) that you are likely to spot in the school playground - for example sporty mum, deeply dissatisfied mum, snooty mum, PTA mum, competitive mum, naughty child mum, hot mum, chav mum, ... It's all very stereotypical and caricatural but what makes it funny is that there is just enough realism in there for you to recognise a few people (or even yourself !) in the different descriptions.
For each type of parent, you get a double page description with a full page illustration, as well as a few handy spotting hints - likely to wear ..., when not in the playground you are likely to find her ..., if she were a cocktail/meal/in a builders' merchants, she would be ..., what she says/what she means.
Just like a grown-up version of the I Spy books, you get points for spotting each type of parent, along with bonus points for various actions (such as seeing Snooty Mum in Tesco's rather than Waitrose).
At the end of the book, you also get a list of all the cocktails that were mentioned throughout the book, which is probably a welcome addition for most parents once the kids are in bed !
It's a very quick, lighthearted read that had me frequently smiling in recognition. You'd need to be a parent of school-age children (past or present) to appreciate the humour though because otherwise, you'd just write it off as silliness, oblivious to the fact that there is some truth in the portraits !
star rating : 4/5
RRP : £5.99
Disclosure : I received a copy of the book in order to take part in the Britmums Bookclub discussion.