Up and In by Deborah Disney

Posted December 21, 2015 by thischickreads in review / 0 Comments

Up and In by Deborah DisneyUp and In by Deborah Disney
Published on 1.12.2014
Genres: chick lit
Pages: 258
Format: e-book
Buy on amazon.co.uk or Buy on amazon.com

A wonderfully wry tale about the pressure women put on themselves and one another to fit in, measure up and look glamorous while doing it. For fans of Liane Moriarty and Fiona Higgins.

Distinctly middle-class parents, Maria and Joe have committed every bit of available income to giving their daughters Kate and Sarah the best education possible, which to them means attending the most exclusive girls school in the state. But when Kate befriends the spoilt and moody Mirabella, Maria finds herself thrust into a high society of champagne-swilling mother-istas she hasn't budgeted for. Saturday morning netball is no longer a fun mother-daughter outing, but a minefield of social politics.

While the increasingly neurotic Maria struggles to negotiate the school mum hierarchy, Joe quietly battles a midlife crisis and Kate attempts to grow up as gracefully as possible (without having her life ruined by embarrassing parents).

For every woman who has ever felt she may be wearing the wrong shoes, this is a book that will remind you - you're not alone.



‘Up and In’ is Deborah Disney’s debut and a book which was a wonderful surprise for me. I haven’t had the chance to read many Australian chick lits, so I was really eager to start reading this. The blurb hinted it was going to be light hearted and fun, and it really was. It was super fun and very easy to read.

It tells the story of Maria, married to Joe and mother to Sarah and Kate, who’s desperately trying to fit in with the other mothers. She’s doing her best to provide her kids with the best education, however it seems she’s also desperate to be part of the world of ‘Bea’s’, the rich and cool mum’s who are oh so organized and very very bitchy. If she could impress Bea, she could definitely impress them all.

All of a sudden, she’s caught in this web of illusions, trying too hard to be someone else, spending the money she doesn’t got on expensive dresses she’ll only wear once, just to impress someone and be accepted. She’s not shallow, but she deeply believes her daughter Kate wishes nothing but to be accepted in her new school, so as a mother, Maria thinks it’s her duty to bond with the other mothers and that way making her girl accepted in the new community.

Of course, this is not the way it should be. While Maria is teaching her daughter to be strong and independent, it seems she’s not living according to her own words. There were many hilarious situations Maria got into while socializing with The Bea’s and many times she felt like the black sheep.

I admit, I know what the author tried to do here, but I did want to give Maria a good shake a couple of times. She’s not a kid, she should know better than to chase some rich bitches just to be in the ‘cool gang’. It also seemed a bit…childish? However, it was hilarious and very fun seeing her go through all these efforts and all the drama caused whenever she would disappoint one of them.

There’s a lovely message behind the book, which is a bit obvious yet is very important. Because we’ve all felt like Maria at least once in our lives, wanting to fit in and just be accepted, and be part of something bigger and cooler. But for most of us, this ends when we get to the adult stage, however I admit I know quite a few people old enough to be my parents who’re still trying to be someone else, and compete with everyone and everything just to prove… something, which I don’t understand.

‘The truth will set you free’, so if we ponder on this we should realize that we are who we are and instead of trying to fit in we should be the leaders of our own one member club, being responsible for our own acts and staying try to ourselves. In a very light, fun way that’s the message behind this book. I absolutely enjoyed it though I wish it had a slightly different ending which will leave me less confused. Let’s say, it wasn’t the closure I expected. But still, it was a quick, enjoyable read I can recommend to everyone looking for a chick lit on parenting, or all the funny situations modern mums get themselves into.



About Deborah Disney

Australian author, Deborah Disney, grew up in the regional city of Toowoomba and now lives in Brisbane with her husband and two school-aged daughters. Deborah has a BA/LLB from the University of Queensland and practised as a solicitor for a number of years prior to having children. She chose to specialise in litigation law as that seemed like the best preparation for what is now her looming battle - mothering her daughters through the teenage years. Deborah's first novel, Up and In, is a satirical look at the interactions of school and sporting mums. She is expectant that the coming years may involve periods of everyone at her house locking themselves in their bedrooms and that this will provide her with plenty of opportunities to work on more novels about the relationships that life hurls us into.

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