For some considerable time, Allison Pearson's journalism and television punditry have represented an oasis of wit and intelligence in an era of dumbing-down. Her speciality is the perfectly judged observation: the devastatingly spot-on anatomising of the foibles of human behaviour--always unsparing, but always full of good humour. Its hardly surprising, then, that I Don't Know How She Does It: Kate Reddy
is crammed full of those same qualities: this beguiling and sharply observed novel is based on her weekly Daily Telegraph
column. The publishers tell us that this is "a comedy about failure, a tragedy about success", and that gets it about right; at the centre of this utterly readable tale is the beleaguered Kate Reddy.
Pearson's heroine spends her life dealing with nagging guilt and the impossible demands of an over-busy life. Yes, we're talking about the crushing demands put on modern women--and Kate is a classic case of just how difficult it is to "have it all". Career, relationships, marriage--as many women know, managing them all is a Herculean task. And as Kate's juggling act carries her closer and closer to disaster, Allison Pearson herself pulls off a particularly jaw-dropping juggling act herself: certainly, I Don't Know How She Does It is a delightful comedy of manners with a beautifully observed heroine (with whom it's very easy to identify), but there are some razor-sharp points made under the surface here about women in the new century. But this is never at the expense of an unputdownable read--Pearson is much too canny a writer to forget the fact that we want to be entertained first and foremost, whatever else an author may freight in to their narrative. No wonder all those Hollywood film studios are already putting up millions for the screen rights. --Barry Forshaw
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"I love Kate Reddy...her tale made me cry twice and laugh often" (Independent on Sunday
"If you could buy stock in a book, I would stake all my savings on the success of I Don't Know How She Does It
. Here at last is the definitive social comedy of working motherhood" (Washington Post
"The writing is sharp, funny and cleverly observant of the small details - funny, intelligent and insightful" (Waterstone's Books Quarterly
"Funny, fast and full of nail-on-the-head observations" (Daily Telegrapgh
"Pearson...never hides her intelligence or apologises for her seriousness of purpose" (The Times