I Don’t Know How She Does It by Allison Pearson

December 15, 2011By

When it comes to the books we read, we don’t have much of a designated category of books we like. Whether we are reading fantasy, romance, mystery or humor, we are bound to be reading something. There is one book that is a huge hit right now with the release of the movie, and since we always read the books before seeing the movies I found myself reading this book recently. Check out our book review on I Don’t Know How She Does It by Allison Pearson.

I Don’t Know How She Does It Book Review

Right off the bat this book had me glued. The book is based around the life of Kate Reddy, a hard working mother and wife. She lives in the beautiful UK but travels a lot for her work, leaving her husband and children behind to make her way up the totem pole. As her career grows, she discovers a lot of issues with her home life that could in turn lose her family from her.

The book really pin pointed the experience many working mothers have when they are working mothers. Allison Pearson takes you into the world of what a working Mom experiences, the doubts and struggles they go through to be more then just a Mom. With the book being based out of the United Kingdom, it has some very amusing British slang throughout.

Kate Reddy has been portrayed to be your average working Mom, with a twist. She is striving to be a big success at her job, while striving to be a big success as a Mom, but the Nanny always seems to one up her in that department. Just like most families that have Nannies so both parents can work, the Nanny becomes a big role in the kids lives. Kate Reddy is confronted with the Nanny becoming #1 in her children’s lives, while she is making her work her #1 without realizing it.

When you are a working Mom, you will really relate to this book. A lot of the feelings and experiences Kate Reddy goes through, most working Moms go through. Your life seems to become wrote down in a book. As a working Mom, there was a lot of instances where I thought, wow… that is so true.

Book Description

For every woman trying to strike that impossible balance between work and home-and pretending that she has-and for every woman who has wanted to hurl the acquaintance who coos admiringly, “Honestly, I just don’t know how you do it,” out a window, here’s a novel to make you cringe with recognition and laugh out loud. With fierce, unsentimental irony, Allison Pearson’s novel brilliantly dramatizes the dilemma of working motherhood at the start of the twenty-first century.

Meet Kate Reddy, hedge-fund manager and mother of two. She can juggle nine different currencies in five different time zones and get herself and two children washed and dressed and out of the house in half an hour. In Kate’s life, Everything Goes Perfectly as long as Everything Goes Perfectly. She lies to her own mother about how much time she spends with her kids; practices pelvic floor squeezes in the boardroom; applies tips from Toddler Taming to soothe her irascible boss; uses her cell phone in the office bathroom to procure a hamster for her daughter’s birthday (“Any working mother who says she doesn’t bribe her kids can add Liar to her résumé”); and cries into the laundry hamper when she misses her children’s bedtime.

In a novel that is at once uproariously funny and achingly sad, Allison Pearson captures the guilty secret lives of working women-the self-recrimination, the comic deceptions, the giddy exhaustion, the despair-as no other writer has. Kate Reddy’s conflict –How are we meant to pass our days? How are we to reconcile the two passions, work and motherhood, that divide our lives? –gets at the private absurdities of working motherhood as only a novel could: with humor, drama, and bracing wisdom.

Published: October 1, 2002.

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Allison Pearson’s debut novel, I Don’t Know How She Does It, is a rare and beautiful hybrid: a devastatingly funny novel that’s also a compelling fictional world. You want to climb inside this book and inhabit it. However, you might find it pretty messy once you’re in there. Narrator Kate Reddy is the manager of a hedge fund and mother of two small children. The book opens with an emblematic scene as Kate “distresses” a store-bought mince pie to make it appear homemade. Her days are measured in increments of minutes and even seconds; her fund stays organized but her house and family are falling apart. The book is a pearly string of great lines. Here’s Kate on lack of sleep: “They’re right to call it a broken night…. You crawl back to bed and you lie there trying to do the jigsaw of sleep with half the pieces missing.” On baby boys: “A mother of a one-year-old son is a movie star in a world without critics.” On subtle office dynamics:
The women in the offices of EMF [Kate's firm] don’t tend to display pictures of their kids. The higher they go up the ladder, the fewer the photographs. If a man has pictures of kids on his desk, it enhances his humanity; if a woman has them it decreases hers. Why? Because he’s not supposed to be home with the children; she is.

There’s inherent drama here: Kate is wildly appealing, and we want things to work out for her. In the end, the book isn’t a just collection of clever lines on the theme of working motherhood; it’s a real, rich novel about a character we come to cherish. –Claire Dederer

From Publishers Weekly

This scintillating first novel has already taken its author’s native England by storm, and in the tradition of Bridget Jones, to which it is likely to be compared, will almost certainly do the same here. The Bridget comparison has only limited validity, however: both books have a winning female protagonist speaking in a diary-like first person, and both have quirkily formulaic chapter endings. But Kate is notably brighter, wittier and capable of infinitely deeper shadings of feeling than the flighty Bridget, and her book cuts deeper. She is the mother of a five-year-old girl and a year-old boy, living in a trendy North London house with her lower-earning architect husband, and is a star at her work in an aggressive City of London brokerage firm. She is intoxicated by her jet-setting, high-profile job, but also is desperately aware of what it takes out of her life as a mother and wife, and scrutinizes, with high intelligence and humor, just how far women have really come in the work world. If that makes the book sound polemical, it is anything but. It is delightfully fast moving and breathlessly readable, with dozens of laugh-aloud moments and many tenderly touching ones-and, for once in a book of this kind, there are some admirable men as well as plenty of bounders. Toward the end-to which a reader is reluctant to come-it becomes a little plot-bound, and everything is rounded off a shade too neatly. But as a hilarious and sometimes poignant update on contemporary women in the workplace, it’s the book to beat.

Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

I Don't Know How She Does It: The Life Of Kate Reddy, Working Mother I Don’t Know How She Does It: The Life Of Kate Reddy, Working MotherDelightfully smart and heartbreakingly poignant, Allison Pearson’s smash debut novel has exploded onto bestseller lists as “The national anthem for working mothers.” Hedge-fund manager, wife, and mother of two, Kate Reddy manages to juggle nine currencies in five time zones and keep in step with the Teletubbies. But when she finds herself awake at 1:37 a.m. in a panic over the need to produce a homemade pie for her daughter’s school, she has to admit her life has become unrecognizable. With panache, wisdom, and uproarious wit, I Don’t Know How She Does It brilliantly dramatizes the dilemma of every working mom. From the Trade Paperback edition.


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About the Author ()

A Mom of 2 very hyper children, ages 6 & 7. They can be a handful, but I love every minute of it! I work from home full time on top of being a full time stay at home Mom. Multi-tasking is a definite speciality I’ve learned over the past 7 years, and I surely can juggle just about everything.

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