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In telling the truth about working women in I Don't Know How She Does It, Allison This is a book that could only come from a privileged place. Praise. “Fast funny heartbreaking You root for Kate the whole length of her roller coaster ride.” —The New York Times Book Review “The national. By Allison Pearson. I Don't Know How She Does It by Allison Pearson Sign me up to get more news about Women's Fiction books. Please make a selection.

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I Don't Know How She Does It book. Read reviews from the world's largest community for readers. Delightfully smart and heartbreakingly poignant, Al. I Don't Know How She Does It [Allison Pearson] on *FREE* shipping on Author interviews, book reviews, editors' picks, and more. Read it now. Editorial Reviews. Review. Allison Pearson's debut novel, I Don't Know How She Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month ? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a.

Reading Guide Book Summary In a novel that is at once uproariously funny and achingly sad, Allison Pearson captures the guilty secret lives of working women--the self-recrimination, the comic deceptions, the giddy exhaustion, the despair--as no other writer has. For every woman trying to strike that impossible balance between work and home--and pretending that she has--and for every woman who has wanted to hurl the acquaintance who coos admiringly, "Honestly, I just don't know how you do it," out a window, here's a novel to make you cringe with recognition and laugh out loud. With fierce, unsentimental irony, Allison Pearson's novel brilliantly dramatizes the dilemma of working motherhood at the start of the twenty-first century. Meet Kate Reddy, hedge-fund manager and mother of two. She can juggle nine different currencies in five different time zones and get herself and two children washed and dressed and out of the house in half an hour.

Oct 01, Minutes. Jun 05, Minutes. But when she finds herself awake at 1: Meet Kate Reddy, hedge-fund manager and mother of two. She can juggle nine different currencies in five different time zones and get herself and two children washed and dressed and out of the house in half an hour. In a novel that is at once uproariously funny and achingly sad, Allison Pearson captures the guilty secret lives of working women-the self-recrimination, the comic deceptions, the giddy exhaustion, the despair-as no other writer has.

How are we to reconcile the two passions, work and motherhood, that divide our lives?

It was a major motion picture,… More about Allison Pearson. You root for Kate the whole length of her roller coaster ride. A hysterical look—in both the laughing and crying senses of the word—at the life of Supermom. This is your first novel. What made you decide to write it? I read a Stress Survey in Good Housekeeping magazine two years ago.

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It also said they were too tired to have sex with their husbands and felt they were failing both at work and as a parent. I thought about my life and the lives of my friends with young children and I realized we were all being driven crazy by the pressure we were under juggling work and family. I thought it was a great subject — borderline farce, but full of incredibly poignant moments as you find yourself torn between responsibility to your children and the office.

I wrote an article about working mothers in my opinion column in the London Evening Standard and I got literally hundreds of letters from women, all saying: Then, I attended a discussion on work-life balance at the London Business School and the professional women in the room started to share their stories.

One lawyer stood up and said she had intercepted a memo from a senior partner in her firm which said: It was Kate Reddy laughing. A new book about fertility and working mothers has startled American women making the cover of Time magazine this spring. Is it surprising to you that women might "miss" the chance to have children because they are so preoccupied with career-success? The mothers I interviewed when I was researching my book all said that in order to be successful in their careers, they needed to hide the fact that they had kids — one woman actually said her firm would be more forgiving if you were caught in possession of crack cocaine than children!

What do you recommend to working mothers who for financial or personal reasons want it all — to move up the corporate ladder AND have hands on care of their children?

I think that many mothers who work need to work — either for personal fulfillment or just to pay all those bills! With the long hours demanded, you will be lucky if you make it home for bath — and bedtime. Most of the women I spoke to favoured some kind of flexible working where they could be home more and then work, often late into the night.

I only wish that more businesses felt they could let women do that — it would be productive for all concerned. And humane too! It seems that you think that women are better at juggling or multi-tasking than men. Why do you think that is? If you give your husband more then three things to remember, in general, the smoke will start coming out of his ears! Men hunted, women gathered: Is it possible to have two high-powered working parents in one family?

There are times when you are both insanely busy and the household is pushed to snapping point. What you need is really good childcare.

You want to do it as well as your own Mum did! What I really think is that women were allowed into the workplace, but the workplace never stopped being male.

Kate Reddy feels fiercely competitive with the stay-at-home moms who she fears judge her for not being a good enough mother. Which group judges the other more harshly do you think?

As a working mother, I often look at stay-home Mums with a mixture of envy and anxiety — are they judging me for not being with my kids full-time? Then again, I have friends who have given up work and they look with envy and anxiety at people like me who get to leave the house and wear clean clothes and even, sometimes, sleep on their own in a hotel bed for a full 12 uninterrupted hours!

In the book, Kate calls the stay-at-home women the Mothers Superior and classes herself a Mother Inferior, which is how I personally feel a lot of the time.

The enthusiasm for your novel has been immediate and passionate — certainly here at Knopf.

Mum overboard

Tell us about sale of the novel around the world and the sale of the movie rights. I always thought that Kate would get a following in the States — the situation for working mothers seems to be very similar to the one in Britain.

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But I was amazed to have the rights to the book downloadd in 13 countries, including Japan and Israel. Maybe the theme of stress is pretty universal right now? The movie rights were sold last summer. I thought it was such a Kate moment! How did you find time to write this novel? Did it take a long time to write? Being a mother of two small children and trying to write a novel is hell — like having a secret third child in the house that you have to go and play with when the other two have gone to bed.

It took me a year; the first half when I was doing my other jobs, and then four months flat out at the end. I found the time by working till 1 a. Please have you finished your book? I think I lost about six months of their lives to create Kate Reddy. My only hope is that the novel stirs up some discussion so that life will be very different for Evie and her female friends when they get to working age.

I Don’t Know How She Does It Reader’s Guide

Everyone at Knopf with special emphasis on the moms here is comparing notes on "Kate Reddy moments. There are so many, but one disaster stands out. As a journalist, I had to go and interview Tom Hanks at the Dorchester. It was not long after my daughter was born, and when I held out my hand to shake the movie stars I realized I had this kind of epaulette of banana sick on my black jacket.

Some of the moments are not that funny. I went to Los Angeles for almost a week on a job and ended up sitting in a hotel while I was messed around by some very arrogant PR people.

I picked him up and he gave me such a wonderful smile— he was so happy to see me — but he had lost so much weight. I was so incredibly upset.

I Don't Know How She Does It

I stood there and wept and all the time the baby was laughing and smiling, just delighted to have his Mummy back. That was the worst moment.

True, we have two totally 'good' male characters: Jack, who is Kate's minor 'love interest', but he's so cardboard cutout that I don't think he counts as a real character, because Kate never had to interact with him in a 'real' setting, and Winstone, but he's a perpetually stoned taxi driver whose car is full of marijuana smoke, so he's obviously outside of Kate's intense City world.

Kate's dad is, as I've mentioned, a deluded alcoholic who abandoned his family. Despite having an architecture job which, as Kate smugly reminds us, is nowhere near as successdful as her job in finance , he can't clean the house, pick up any slack for Kate or treat her with anything other than mild confusion. And then, we have the women. You would have thought that a book with such a rampant anti-man message could have scraped up a feminist message, don't you? Well, no. Pearson spits out this little gem about how "becoming a man is a waste of a woman.

Hell no. It refers to the stereotypical sticks of s housewiving: motherhood, homemaking and putting out for your husband. If I had to sum up the message of I Don't Know How She Does It because it did give the constant feeling of having a lesson taught , it would be this: "Ladies, you're never going to be as respected as your male counterparts, and you're going to do half as a job as both a wife and mother, so why bother?

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Just jack in the successful job even if it's the only way you feel truly empowered and intellectually exercised and give yourself up to be a full-time mother. Despite repeatedly telling the reader quite reasonably, I thought that her job made her feel good about herself and she didn't want to quit, plot contrivance - and not even very good plot contrivance: her son hurts his arm - slaps her around the head and shows her what a silly, selfish person she's been.

She dumps the job, rejects all forms of compromise and settles down for boring domestic bliss in the country. Because that's all women are good for, am I right? Well, of course not. And, in all fairness, Pearson doesn't quite come out and say that. But when she recaps what happened to each of her major female characters, there was a strong tone of, "I don't know why they bother" about the women still in work, because Kate constantly hammered it home that no matter how good they were, they were never, ever going to be viewed as equals.

There were also some huge plot holes in this approach. Obviously Kate and Richard are financially stable because Kate can finish at her very well-paid job and they can start over in the country. However, Kate refuses to take a job with Robin Cooper Clark which he promises her will be part time because she just doesn't believe that it will be.

But, if she's so financially stable, she can quit at any time she wants? And surely a woman who doesn't need to be paid can look around for part-time work so she can have a better balance?

I Don't Know How She Does It by Allison Pearson | Books

Kate is blatantly upper middle class. They have a big house, private school educated children and they're both Cambridge-educated. But one of the things that Kate thinks - and wants everyone else to think - makes her innately better than everyone else in this goddamn book that she comes from a working-class background. Not any old working class background - her sister is still trapped in a council-house-and-five-children life and her dad is an alcoholic gambler - and Kate thinks that her attachment to them makes her so much damn better because as she keeps reminding us, she's not upper-class like the rest of her peers and therefore she's not just better, but she's nicer, more relatable and more determined what?

I never saw any evidence of any of those informed attributes. For instance, this gem: "Happy childhoods are no bloody good for drive and success.

I don't think so, lady. Last time I looked, most of the results of an unhappy childhood come in therapy, emotional scars and low self-esteem.

Bear in mind, now, that she's also talking about her husband, Richard, who may be middle-class born and bred but still got into Cambridge, no mean feat even for a middle-class child and, while he may not be as wonderful and superior as St.

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Kate, does work at an architecture firm, which seems to be his dream job. Also, her sister, Julie, is the product of the exact same childhood that Kate had, yet it's hardly made her driven and successful: she's a lonely, impoverished womamn in a council house.

All girls in the City apparently have Daddy issues. The men aren't lucky enough to get Freudian excuses - they have the drive to succeed because they're men, and it's what men do. The City girls are all pathetic idiots and so are still subservient to men. Not only that, but Kate has several other moral jewels to hold up: Kate is very opposed to abortion.

Rather than explaining this moral view I'm really pro-choice myself, but my sister is anti-abortion , she simply sulks with Candy in a really disgusting scene. Candy is determined that she's not going to have children and so, when she gets pregnant as the result of a one-night stand , she's going to have an abortion. Kate throws a hissy fit - like, I'm sorry, Mrs. Reddy, I wasn't aware that this was your body under discussion!

A late abortion is worse than bringing up a child you're not even sure you want?