I Don't Know How She Does it (Movie Tie-in Edition) Paperback – Aug 9 2011
|New from||Used from|
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
No Kindle device required. Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, and computer.
To get the free app, enter your e-mail address or mobile phone number.
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 --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?
Top Customer Reviews
Allison Pearson has covered all bases here, Kate, like so many career oriented women are spread so thin across the board that I defy any woman to read this and not relate to at least five issues Kate deals with. It brought some humor to my life and made me realize what is really important. I personally laughed more than a dozen times as Kate pounds her way through life's daily problems. She tries to find an solution for every problem, although sometimes the answers are unorthodox, there is always a tiny bit of silver lining peeking out of the cloud to be grabbed.
As Kate tries to find the delicate balance of a career in high finance, motherhood, friend and wife. She shows not only to herself what is really important to her but what really is important in life. Kate discovers through all her mishaps that staying on top off all the so called priority lists are not such a high priority after all. Keeping up with the neighbors and having an air of complete organization is harder in life than on paper, as she makes lists of things to be done and never really crossing anything off the list in the end she concludes that she really just needs to reassess her lifestyle that she tried to live and live the lifestyle that she can live.Read more ›
I do like the fact that Kate is a very complicated character, with a miserable father and jealous sister, plus she's worked hard to get to where she is -- just like all of us. Her plight exemplifies the complex balance of all women... its not just a matter of stay home or quit. Its much harder when your job defines you.
I was a bit shocked Kate decides to stay home at the end. I'll bet she's pretty stir-crazy within a few months. When you get off a treadmill, its hard to get your bearnings!
No, I couldn't completely relate to Kate's life. We aren't that rich, and my job isn't nearly as demanding (thank goodness!). But there was a lot there that I could understand -- knowing that your husband would not even think to read a note from school, weighing what to say to your childcare help because that person is very valuable and you don't want to cause trouble, dealing with household horrors like rotting fruit and rodents because you just can't stay on top of the housework and nobody else is doing it for you, making lists that carry over the same items day after day because there aren't enough hours to accomplish everything. (Actually, I'd guess that most of these things are problems for at-home moms, too.)
Yes, Kate could be frustrating, but who really has it all together? Kate was a workaholic and needed to be more honest and assertive -- at her office, with her household help, with her husband. She needed to take control of her life, which was obviously falling apart -- she drank too much, spent too much, flirted too much. Those of us who lack Kate's material comforts may feel that she was a whiner, but in the end, let the person with their act completely together cast the first stone. I found Kate's messy life refreshingly real.
What troubled me though, and why I gave the book three stars, was the end. Kate's only way out was to quit her job (though she seemed to be on the way to creating a new one in the epilogue).Read more ›
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!!
Most recent customer reviews
It is an interesting book about working women. Especially u can enjoy the movie after or before reading the book.Published 12 months ago by Bowen ZHAO
I found this book to be humorous in some parts but it wasn't enough to really engage me in the story. Read morePublished on Sept. 13 2011 by sc77
My short list of recommendations of new literature is rather predictable: "My Fractured Life" (RENT-generation book of hope, glory and despair as a modern version of... Read morePublished on Feb. 3 2005 by Angie Clusterman
Yes, the book is humorous. Yes, the writing is, for the most part, intelligent. But Kate Reddy is just plain impossible to love (or even like). Read morePublished on July 18 2004 by mom2threereaders
I expected this to be a comical romp, instead I found a wonderful novel that made my heart ache with compassion and understanding. Read morePublished on July 11 2004 by Jill
This book is truly one of the funniest tales of a working mom yet...albeit to the "n-th degree", Kate Reddy sums up the ambition, guilt, passivity, aggression, levelheadedness, and... Read morePublished on July 6 2004
Until I read this book, I never questioned that I wouldn't be able to juggle a family with a career. Read morePublished on July 4 2004
This book made me laugh out loud and cry real tears because I actually saw myself now and ten years from now. Read morePublished on June 28 2004 by nicole young
Superficially, this book is a testament to the heroic efforts of working mothers, struggling to maintain a career in a patriarchal society, while simultaneously living up to the... Read morePublished on June 27 2004 by Ken