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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 (142 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,278,398 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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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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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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By LittleReader VINE VOICE on 24 Sept. 2011
Format: Paperback
I eventually liked AP's writing...I just couldnt stand Kate! I did, for a while, feel as though this was a poor-man's Bridget Jones in the writing style and the way that the narrative skipped gaily between regular writing and. stilted. diary. style. was irritating but I soon got used to it and only occasionaly noticed it after a while. The problem, for me, was Kate. She twittered on and on about how her life was robbing her of precious home hours but it was all from an incredibly selfish angle - the woman certainly doesnt do guilt. At all. For me, this just didnt ring true. Neither did the transatlantic email affair or the fact that she could still remotely fancy her husband when she spent every waking hour trampling all over him...Sadly, by the time we were getting to the get-the-sexist-work-colleague plot I was beginning to lose it...
But... And there is a but... the writer is witty and clever and observant and this makes for excellent passages of narrative and some genuinely funny laugh out loud bits.
This is one (and possibly the only) time that I would guess the screen version of this story will be better than the book!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 12 Feb. 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
As a working mum with a stressful job, i thought I would relate to the character, but after getting 17% of the way through, I've given up! For someone who is supposed to be intelligent, Kate is a pretty silly woman who worries about the trivial. On to the next book for me.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Toni Vert-Williams on 18 Mar. 2011
Format: Paperback
not as good as I thought it might be - pleasant beach time reading no more. I am someone who works ( a lot from home but until 11 or so most evenings) , has children and now grandchildren but I still finds time to have some outside activities, so one of my friends recommended this book to me.
When I had children I changed my type of work to be able to be with my children more but I could NEVER rely on my husband to be there as he was out 7.30 am until 10.30pm 5 days a week and Saturdays till mid-afternoon. The person in the book relied TOO MUCH on her poor husband (as many husband's do regarding their wife) instead of modifying her way of working - specially nowadays with Internet it is so much easier to work from home and still earn a good salary.
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