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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The first book I've ever recognised myself in.........
Not normally being a fan of "Chick lit" I was a little put off by the cover, but I had been recommended this by a friend as I too am a working mum in the City with 2 under 5's. From the first page I instantly recognised myself - no I'm not quite as manic (or successful or rich!) as Kate, and am not attempting an e-mail affair (where on earth would I have the time??). But...
Published on 23 Aug. 2007 by CA

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48 of 51 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Something missing
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...
Published on 12 July 2002


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48 of 51 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Something missing, 12 July 2002
By A Customer
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
3.0 out of 5 stars A book of two halves, 25 Sept. 2007
By 
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. It's a downhill slide into la-la land, where characters start shedding their dimensions faster than you can say `international blockbuster' and the clichés compete for space with all the loose threads left dangling. And considering Pearson has spent the entire novel up on her soapbox, it's surprising to find that there's no clear moral to her tale. Okay, so obviously that's the point, blah blah, this is an imperfect world etc and the lot of a working mother is never going to be an easy one. But it doesn't come across like that. The work-home tug of love is so engagingly portrayed - and Kate's right to a proper career is so extensively argued - that you throw up your arms in disbelief when she starts backtracking along the path to a saccharine happy-ever-after (prompted by watching Mary Poppins... ye gods!). She kind of saves face with a twist at the end, but that doesn't excuse the last fifty pages of drivel. Worse still, it gets boring. Spare the red pen, spoil the novel. A book of about 350 pages really shouldn't feel this long, and a tighter edit could have snipped out all the repetition. Page 255, for instance, is an almost exact replica of the novel's opening scene.

But, that said, this will undoubtedly resonate with mothers everywhere. `A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down,' as Ms Poppins once sang, but in this case I preferred the bitter pill of the first half (with all its self-righteous anger) than the sugar-plum fairy tale of the second.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Turning the Pages Review, 14 Feb. 2012
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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46 of 51 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great fun, but not much substance, 6 July 2002
By A Customer
This is a perfectly judged piece of marketing - it's like Bridget Jones for the older woman, and it has exactly the same virtues and exactly the same faults. The virtues first - it's laugh-out-loud funny, readable, and not very taxing. The flaws; it's soooo light that it might blow away if you took it to the beach (as is no doubt intended). It does have moments of real poignancy, but they don't strike very deep. And the ending is so contrived it leaves Mills and Boon looking natural.
Two things really got to me, though, and made it hard for me to accept this book for what it is. First, the children - ostensibly the focus of the heroine's thoughts - are so poorly characterised that they might be anyone's. I know it's idiotic to compare this to Tolstoy, but Anna Karenin does show that it's possible to write about a mother's dilemma without erasing the child altogether.
The second thing is the heroine's extreme wealth. Of course some working mothers do have jobs in the city, but it's pitifully unrepresentative of working mothers as a whole, most of whom cannot afford Paula and Juanita (the nanny and the cleaner). And even though Kate doesn't get her bonus, she never seems overdrawn, or over the limit on her credit cards. She never worries about money, dialling up limos like there's no tomorrow. This extreme solvency seems to me a sign that this book is actually fantasy, not reality. If you are looking for a romance of Working Motherhood, this is for you. If it's truth-telling you want, try Helen Simpson's Hey Yeah Right Get A Life.
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44 of 49 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very entertaining, but....., 17 Feb. 2003
By 
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
3.0 out of 5 stars Average yet entertaining..., 24 Sept. 2011
By 
LittleReader (Leeds, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
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
2.0 out of 5 stars Not for me, 12 Feb. 2012
This review is from: I Don't Know How She Does It (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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28 of 32 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 5 Jun. 2003
By A Customer
Maybe I have unrealistic expectations of novels but I'm sure by anyone's standards this book can be described at best as lacklustre. Kate was an interesting mix of highflyer and human doormat. The novel didn't make me "howl with laughter". I think it was twice that the protagonists daughter induced a mild chuckle, not exactly the stuff that makes you fall off your seat in hysterics. The adulterous love interest was lame, and the ending was extremely unsatisfying. I can't put my finger on what exactly was wrong with the book but I wasn't particularly moved by Kate's plight and didn't feel that the end was strong enough to make any impact.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Infuriating, 31 May 2012
Tedious tale about a high flying career woman dissatisfied with every aspect of her life - moans that she can't work less hours despite having a nanny AND cleaner and taking taxis everywhere despite having a car. Hideous spoiled children, and a nanny who pulls all the strings, even though Kate is supposed to be assertive in her banking career. Felt like throwing the book across the room when she said she felt like her telling her nosy neighbour that "was going to send her child to state school to see her explode", or something along those lines, as if this was a form of child abuse. No place for this book in the world of a working class reader, made even more infuriating in the middle of the recession. Repulsive. Will give the film a miss also, as everything SJP has done outside of SATC has left a lot to be desired and this falls in to that categoty.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars pleasant reading, 18 Mar. 2011
By 
Mrs. T. Vert (France) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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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I Don't Know How She Does It by Allison Pearson
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