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I Don't Know How She Does It Paperback – 1 Sep 2011


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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (1 Sept. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099570238
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099570233
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 2.5 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (139 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,174,748 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

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. It’s 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.

Review

'Pioneering 2002 novel.'
-- FT Magazine

A grown-up novel that is hilarious, heartbreaking and brimming with the bitter-sweet tang of all our lives -- Tony Parsons --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

48 of 51 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 12 July 2002
Format: Hardcover
Allison Pearson can, as we already know, write. Her forte is wonderful observations, pithily put. The resonance of what she writes about (I have two children; my wife and I both work) made me laugh and cry several times.
You should read the book if the above sounds good to you. If you want to read a story, however, be warned. The story doesn't start until page 288. Before that, you'll be embroiled in the hectic life of Kate Reddy, forever wondering if the plot possibilities she tees up will ever come to pass. Once you get to page 288, when Kate Reddy is confronted by events that require her to start making choices, you'll find major events dealt with very sketchily or barely mentioned in passing; the author skims over the few elements of real story that exist in the book. At times, it seems the author 'chokes' when faced with exploring how her heroine might develop when not merely coping with working motherhood.
I like a good storyline in novels. Maybe Ms Pearson was just too busy to put one in.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By International Cowgirl VINE VOICE on 25 Sept. 2007
Format: Paperback
This starts out witty and smart, the sort of book you might expect from Pearson's knowing comments on Newsnight Review over the years. The prose style is a touch more accomplished than the average book of this genre; the similes come thick and fast, and they're generally right on the money. Pearson clearly knows her territory, whether by real life or research, and the trials and tribulations of her thirtysomething protagonist - a fund manager and mother of two - are entertaining and informative in equal measure.

And then alarm bells suddenly start ringing. Her name, for one thing - Kate Reddy... Reddy, geddit? - is a little too pun-perfect for comfort and the emails that `K8' sends her two best friends (one of which is called Candy Stratton - had Pearson been listening to `Young Hearts Run Free' before she wrote this?) are just plain annoying. Imagine Bridget Jones fed through a text-speak blender and out comes silly nonsense like `mens2ruashn si2ashn'. Before you know it, she's got a hate-hate relationship that quickly turns to love with an annoying American client who - hello, turns out to be rather gorgeous, not to mention blessed with the Dickensian name of Jack Abelhammer (the source of a few lame jokes). In one fell swoop this moves from proper literature to beach read. I should have known better. The book was released in two different candy-coloured covers and there's even a quote from India Knight on the back, but Pearson just always seemed so... intellectual. It's a let-down.

Anyway, once she's jumped on the lightweight bandwagon, there's no stopping her.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Turning the Pages on 14 Feb. 2012
Format: Paperback
You may also read my review here: [...]....

Being a working mom, I immediately thought that this book would appeal to me... but it seemed to miss the mark at just about every turn.

Kate, the main bread-winner in her family, works an obscene amount of hours, leaving the house before her kids have eaten breakfast and not getting home until after they are asleep. All day she agonizes over her work-life balance yet never seems to do anything to adjust it. Constantly pulled away from the home on business trips to other countries, Kate seems to have chosen her work-life over her home-life, to the point that she fantasizes about having an affair with an American client.

Have you ever heard the saying "You can't have your cake and eat it too"? That is how I felt about Kate... you can't expect to have kids and NOT give up some part of your life. Having obviously chosen her career over her family, it drove me crazy when Kate suddenly has an epiphany, when her kids are 6-years-old and 2-years-old, that she is throwing away her life with her children. It takes her husband leaving, her nanny falling ill and her assistant becoming the office 'joke' before she puts her life priorities straight. Immediately my thought was, "Really?!?! You wasted SIX YEARS of your relationship with your daughter and NOW you decide to be a 'Mom'"... Ugg.

Overall, this book was too unrealistic for me. It could be that my feelings on the whole work vs. family thing are a little too strong, but, as a mother, you will ALWAYS put your children first... ALWAYS!!
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44 of 49 people found the following review helpful By goldenman on 17 Feb. 2003
Format: Hardcover
This is a fun, read-in-three-days kind of novel, but pretty much forgettable. The major problem I had with this book was that I loathed Kate - partly for her snobbishness, but mainly for her stupidity. I mean, how can she really think that she can have it all? I had no sympathy for her at all and I really wanted Richard not to come back to her. She says that her family are the most important thing to her and that her family are suffering because she is nearly always at work, but it takes three quarters of the book for her to do something about it.
I also thought that Allison Pearson was trying to have it both ways, in that she perhaps was trying to paint an accurate picture of working women's lives in modern society, but the fact that Kate is such an incredibly high earner - not being representative of most working mothers after all - really undermines her argument.
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