Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Book review: The Playground Mafia, by Sarah Tucker

One of the reasons I always wanted - and succeeded - to keep myself away of the parents'/most specifically mothers' gangs in schools is the feeling that some could consider themselves more mothers than the others. I do not see any reasons I should be patronized and involved in activities supporting in fact the lifestyle and 'academic' expectations from one mother or another. Convinced that many of the new rich mothers with high expectations are in fact trying to compensate their relatively limited chances of achievement years ago, I prefer to pay my contributions and have my say only when something outrageous happens. And, due to my busy schedule I did not have an enormous amount of time for networking and fighting for a better curricula or against a certain teacher. Or even more, against other parents.

This is one thing about The Playground Mafia that I liked: the boring reality of the parents' committees. In this case, we have to deal with the British type of parenting and thus, expect a lot of money and expression of the social stratification. And, parents bullying. 

Some of the ambitious mothers with rich husbands of first graders created a kind of cartel controlling the activities and scrutinizing the other parents according to their rules and regulations. As usual, not all of the mafia mothers are happy and even less morally accomplished. A newly divorced mother with her son, Ben, are new in town and trying to cope with them, but the even though at the beginning the integration into the 'mafia' circles looks more smoothly than expected, at the end, she will even enter into a physical conflict with the chief mafiosa and called in court for plummeting her. In between, there are many local drama, hidden love stories, unhappy mariages, shopping and coffees. One of the strongest point of the author is, in my opinion, the art of the detail, the concentration on facts and the description of events in a very realistic way. 

The rhythm is not equal and every 100 pages I had some dead time when I did not care about what is going in into the story. But, if you want to spend your afternoon and, in addition, you have children in school, you can learn a lot about what you should avoid for the time being. It is good writing and you will not regret the choice. 

As for the cover of the book, it is simply funny. 

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