Books, Fiction, Friday Five Challenge, Fun Stuff, The Writing Process

Would You BUY or PASS? A Year in the Life of a Playground Mother #FridayFiveChallenge

Welcome to the ‘Friday Five Challenge.’

Would you BUY or PASS if you had only a thumbnail image and five minutes to decide?

Welcome to the #FridayFiveChallenge.  The original idea comes from Rosie Amber, and you can join up at

The rules are laid out at the end of this post if you fancy having a go.

Here is my contribution for this week:

Prompted by a scene I am writing in my current WIP I typed ‘friendship’ into the Amazon search bar.  I was surprised how many romance novels came up, since when did friendship automatically mean romance?  Scrolling past the gushy loved up couples I eventually came across this:

A Year in the Life of a Playground Mother by Christie Barlow

Parenting Book


Fed up with the playground mafia at her children’s school, Rachel Young is desperate for a change. With her family and various pets in tow, a picture-perfect village in the countryside beckons. There, Rachel’s children will be able to keep chickens and skip through fields, and she’ll bid farewell to the botoxed, fake-Gucci wearing Mumzillas forever. But at the new school the mums are even worse, and before long, Rachel finds herself contending with a motley crew including Mrs High School Musical, The International Sex God and The Frisky Pensioner. While the children are practicing their sums and perfecting their reading, Rachel is learning some harsh lessons on the other side of the school gates, and ruffling plenty of feathers along the way…


My Analysis:

I made most of my adult friends at the school gates, and we had a hoot every day.  I also have many teacher friends who refer to the mothers at the gate as the ‘pavement parliament’.  We probably all have stories about the glam mother who always dropped little Billy off in a pair a Jimmy Choo shoes, or the drop-them-and-run-as-still-in-my-onesie mother.  Happy days!

The cover stood out against the half-dressed couples of the romance brigade.  I love the typography and teamed with the images it gives off a comedic vibe.  The topic will appeal to any mother who has done the school run, and probably some who have only heard the tales.

The Stats:

The book has 338 pages, and the Kindle price is £1.99.  There are 621 reviews on, 415 of these are five stars.

Here is an example of a four-star review from

A Year in the Life of a Playground mother is one of those books that is very easy to read, full of laughs and hilarious one-liners. It follows the exploits of Rachel as she attempts to escape city life and the playground Mafia mothers only to find that really life in the countryside isn’t all that different.

Her exploits and her very forthright opinions sometimes shocked but always made me laugh. She says things that some of us only think but are too afraid to voice. As a mother I could so relate to some of the things that happened in the book and at times found myself nodding in agreement as I was reading it. This book is a work of fiction but it’s really like sitting down with a mate over a glass of wine and having a good old gossip session! Full of memorable moments and equally memorable characters this is a great book!

With time to spare, I began to look at the 149 lower rated reviews, and the same message seemed to filter through.  The main character is a bit of a wimp.  This is an example of a one-star review and interestingly, came from a male reader:

Being a Playground dad i can relate to the goings on in a primary school playground and beyond,Ok the book starts off with some lighthearted funny tales and quips about school life, but then 2/3’s of the book is just lambasting and bitching about ‘her friend’ Penelope and her husband Rupert which incidentally is the most unbelievable character ever!!,how can he live that lifestyle have sports cars,support all these people/2 kids without any income and anyone knowing?!?? please tell I’d love to know…..:-) But too much bitching for me there’s no need to repeat over & over how much she hates this Penelope why would you befriend someone you obviously hate for a year? Couldn’t wait to get it over….

A handful of the one-star reviewers haven’t reviewed anything else, but the majority are avid readers and reviewers.  The above review is a consistent message in the one and two star comments and it’s put me off, so it’s a PASS from me.

A Year in the Life of a Playground Mother – buy your copy.

Amazon UK –

See who else is taking part in the Friday Five Challenge:

Rosie is going against the flow today –

Alison is searching for Fireworks –

Cathy is feeling autumnal –

Liz takes a look at British Architecture –


 What is the Friday Five Challenge?

In today’s online shopping age, readers often base their buying decisions on small postage stamp size book covers (thumb-nails), a quick glance at the book description and the review. How much time do they spend making that buying decision?

AUTHORS – You often only have seconds to get a reader to buy your book, is your book cover and book bio up to it?

The Challenge is this… IN ONLY FIVE MINUTES…

1) Go to any online book supplier,

2) Randomly choose a category,

3) Speed through the book covers, choose one which has instantly appealed to your eye,

4) Read the book Bio/ Description of this book,

5) If there are reviews, check out a couple,

6) Make an instant decision, would you BUY or PASS?

(then write a little analysis about your decision)

15 thoughts on “Would You BUY or PASS? A Year in the Life of a Playground Mother #FridayFiveChallenge”

    1. Yes, I thought it would be a light-hearted giggle but there were too many lower reviews saying the same thing about the mc. I’ve only ever read one other book where I actually hated the main character, it was a long slog to get to the end!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. This sort of book makes me run away screaming – anything with the ‘wacky domestic’ tag turns me right off. I think it’s a great cover, though. I actually like reading about awful people – as long as the author realises they’re awful. Then, at least, he/she usually gives them a great comeuppance. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I can’t think of anything worse than being reminded of those days actually – there are definitely many tales to tell about those times and if done well then I’m sure it is an interesting read but that whole era was far to much about the politics of school life (pretty much as it is at school anyway) and I never understood the rules I was meant to play by so it’s a time I’m thankful to leave behind. A PASS from me!

    Liked by 1 person

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