I'm on the fence about this book. It was funny and well written, but somehow- to me anyway- the ultimate message seemed to be that women in fact can't have it all. They are designed to be nurturers to both their husbands and their children.
Marci S. (MarciNYC) reviewed I Don't Know How She Does It: The Life of Kate Reddy, Working Mother on
Helpful Score: 6
I first heard about this book on NPR during an interview with the author. Since then, I've been wanting to read it and was delighted to receive it as a gift from a dear friend.
Better than average chicklit (women's fiction) novel. In spite of juggling two young children, a (sometimes) surly nanny, a lay-about husband, and a demanding career (not to mention a cyber-romance with a client), Kate Reddy is a survivor. Not a epic literature, but enjoyable nonetheless. Career-women striving to find that balance between work and family will relate to Kate and her battles.
This was a fun book about a mother who needs to do it all. Something that i think many woman can relate to. I was once told that the idea of multi-tasking is simply that. an idea. It\'s actually impossible for your brain to focus on more than one thing at a time, yet multi-tasking is increasingly becoming one of the most needed characteristics for any job. This book goes into that in a fun, enjoyable way.
Not as pithy or humorous as I would have liked, but still good. Especially enjoyable was the characters ability to find herself in over her head (think Bridget Jones, but not as funny). Overall though, she had some interesting things to say about working moms vs. working dads, and I for one agreed.
Very British. Kate is a full time executive in a male dominated industry with two small kids. She struggles to balance her home life and her work life all while trying to keep a cast of extended family characters happy. Cute, Bridget Jones all grown up.
Kelsey R. (starmist) reviewed I Don't Know How She Does It: The Life of Kate Reddy, Working Mother on
Helpful Score: 3
Sort of a Bridget Jones except she's a married working mum of 2. She's torn between work and home. Her love life threatened by her work life. Moments of very familiar chaotic hilarity nicely balanced with moments of bittersweet introspection and self realization. Nice tale.
A real fun british chick lit story (narrator has a british accent and does a great job of reading the story with lots of wit and emotion!) I wasnt sure if i would be able to relate to the main character since i am not a mother but i actually liked her alot and saw alot of myself in her as a woman. A fun story with lots of humor and emotion i would reccomend this to anyone as it was very entertaining!!
Very good read! As a woman whose own life circumstances mirror closely the main character's, I related to the story and Kate's challenges very well. It's an easy, fast read and is good current popular fiction.
I read this book in the bleary first months of working motherhood at night after putting my little one to sleep. No matter how exhausted I was or how often I seesawed on the decision between keeping my career going or quitting to stay home with my son, the daily life of Kate Reddy always seemed so much more harried, guilt- and sacrifice-ridden, painful, and heartbreaking.
The author, Allison Pearson, really takes the issues, both at the workplace and on the homefront, that confront working mothers to the extreme, putting into shocking relief the sacrifices required of us at the office and in the home that often don't apply to working fathers. This book is really a must read for all working mothers and for those who hope to understand us.
Clarice C. reviewed I Don't Know How She Does It: The Life of Kate Reddy, Working Mother on
Helpful Score: 1
I'm an avid reader and I did have a tough time making it through this one. I never felt Kate's love for her children or husband but definitely felt her love for her job. I felt sorry for those in her way. It was well written, though I didn't particularly care for the style. I'm glad I read it, but I don't know if I'd recommend it.
I picked this up when someone left it in the break room at my office. It's truly the worst book I've ever (tried to) read. I rarely don't finish a book, but this one was so absurd and cliched I couldn't force myself through it. The dialogue was dreadful, the main character was annoying, and the plot was ridiculous (I ended up skimming through to see how it ended out of morbid curiosity). Like the main character, I'm a working mother -- I was hoping this book would be amusing and relatable. Instead I think it just reinforces tired, old negative stereotypes about life for women in the workplace. I have an old book from the early thirties called Weekend Marriage that tells the story a young wife and the disasterous consequences that befell her when she dared to keep her career after wedding. For me, I Don't Know How She Did It was basically like Weekend Marriage set in the mordern world. So in a word: awful.
Sometimes we don't appreciate ourselves as much as we should and take ourselves much to seriously as working moms. Reading about Kates everyday anxieties and stresses and how she handles them with ease that I could never find within myself helps us look at calamities happening around us with a little more humor. Really good read.
Kate Reddy makes you want to laugh, cry, shout and jump for joy. Pearson's writing is colorful, eloquent and intellegent. A must read for all moms who have, had or want a job and for all dads who just aren't sure what goes on at mummy's office!
When I went back to work after the birth of my first child, I read a lot of these working-mom-makes-good books. You know, the ones that set out to show you that you're not the only one to show up at a client meeting with a spit-up stain on her suit jacket, or to have bags under the bags under her eyes from trying to juggle home and a career. In my opinion, though, this is the best of the bunch.
I Don't Know How She Does It hit home for me because the heroine shares my industry (public relations/advertising). The novel is set in England so some of the language and pop culture references are a little off, but its a great story of a mom finding herself without losing herself.
Plus, it's hysterical. Highly recommended for any mom who gnashes her teeth when some well meaning person asks her just how she does it...
Cadrus reviewed I Don't Know How She Does It: The Life of Kate Reddy, Working Mother on
If you're a mom who works full-time, read this book! It's nice to read about someone else's problems with a job, small children, a husband and just trying to find at least a small amount of time for yourself.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It is very light reading and sometimes funny. A great diversion for the summer from all the heavy reading material we seem to enjoy in the winter. It makes every woman see that she is not alone when trying to juggle life, work, family, etc.
I quit reading this about half way through. There are some funny incidents, but mostly there is no plot. It is just another "poor working mom trying to do everything" type book that rambles from day to day in her life. There just wasn't enough story to pull me in and keep me interested.
Eden D. reviewed I Don't Know How She Does It: The Life of Kate Reddy, Working Mother on
I just kept wanting her to quit her job and spend some times with her kids. I didn't understand why she had them if she had no interest in being around them. It was just really hard to have any empathy for this main character. I aso felt like gee, I have my own to-do lists, and everyday life stresses, why do I want to spend 400 pages reading about someone else's? I did like the author's writing and humor, but this subject matter was like watching paint peel.
Also it was really heavy with the British references. I understood some, but others went right over my head.
Allison Pearson's _I Don't Know How She Does It_ may (literally!) nearly scream from the cover that it's "chick lit" - against a slightly salmon pink background, a silhouette of a slender woman, her even her shadow outline clearly dressed in the ski-high pumps and suit-of-armor designer suit of the successful businesswoman of today, juggling silhouettes of a child's beloved toy, a pacifier, and of course, and overloaded briefcase - or maybe she's not juggling. Maybe she's finally, once and for all, tossing all of this up in the air for good. For all it's "chick lit" trappings, this novel, supported throughout by Pearson's finely wrought writing style suited to both wry comedy and genuinely affecting pathos (often within the same character's breath), explores issues that can't *just* be passed off as "chick lit" - it's a true gift to be able to deal with the real, serious, frequently life-changing ways in which gender affects all aspects of a certain class of educated, talented, career-tracked women.
Pearson manages to address the role of a woman in perhaps the least female-friendly career field possible, international stock and bond fund management (casual but somtimes brutal vulgarity and sexual harassment women fund analysts must bear with a tolerant smile; "the Mommy Track" that sends women seeking more time with their children down a dead-end of career advancement; and, perhaps worst of all for Kate, the endless last-minute business trips to clients from New York to Tokyo that she's expected to jet off on hours' notice, routinely missing key events in her two small children's lives. Although Kate's guilt is leavened by the gallows sense of humor that sustains her and her small cadre of working female friends, she is constantly gnawed at by the fear that 5-year-old Emily and 12-month Ben know and love the nanny better than their own mother, and that the stress and irritability that are a constant in Kate's life are taking their toll on her relationship with husband Richard.
For so many women, especially those who careers keep them in urban areas where the cost of living, not to mention a decent education, for one's children is gougingly high, _I Don't Know How She Does It_ may ring painfully true. Trying to keep her successful career to avoid the trauma that will surely come with abandoning her incredibly gift for economics and finance, Kate is nonetheless continually browbeaten and made to second-guess herself by the neverending and always conflicting demands of family life in a posh, closed London community that expects all mothers to stay home and bake from scratch for every school function. The open scening, in which Kate, freshly flown in from yet another international business foray at 2 in the morning, takes a vicious rolling pin to the crusts of store-bought mince pies in order to "distress" them adequately to pass as homemade and let her off as a "good mother" at her doctor's school is uproarious, but it also captures with jewel-like clarity the intense conflict, guilt, and shame Kate faces in a society that so recently encouraged women that they could "have it all." Kate is an enormously sympathetic character, and women on both sides of the work-home divide - and everywhere in between!!! - will understand her frustration, pain, and, above all, her ferocious and sustaining sense of humor.
This story had the potential to be a wonderful story (busy working mother) however it turned out to be more negative than I was hoping for. Rather than a story of a busy mom it seems to be half "poor poor pity me" and half "hate the others". She attacks men (its never really equal for men and women, in the home or out) and mothers who have choosen to stay home. It seems extreme "feminist" in a non-helpful way...not quite what I was hoping for.