I Don’t Know How She Does It by Allyson Pearson, 3 1/2 Stars

How Hard Can It Be? is different from most of the books I review here on Women In Trouble Book Blog. But I read I Don’t Know How She Does It years ago and it was intriguing to me to see what Kate is up to these days.

So of course, when I saw the e-galley was available on Netgalley, I jumped at the opportunity to read and review it.

And when you think about it, she is also a woman in trouble. No one is following Kate Reddy down a dark road in the pouring rain planning on murdering her, but the insecurities a stay-at-home mom can feel after a couple of years being out of the job force and 10-20 lbs over her ideal weight can be quite scary indeed.

I wish I didn’t speak from experience. But she is for sure a woman in trouble!

From the Publisher:

Look, I was doing OK. I got through the oil spill on the road that is turning forty. Lost a little control, but I drove into the skid just like the driving instructors tell you to and afterwards things were fine again, no, really, they were better than fine.

Kate Reddy had it all: a nice home, two adorable kids, a good husband. Then her kids became teenagers (read: monsters). Richard, her husband, quit his job, taking up bicycling and therapeutic counseling: drinking green potions, dressing head to toe in Lycra, and spending his time—and their money—on his own therapy. Since Richard no longer sees a regular income as part of the path to enlightenment, it’s left to Kate to go back to work.

Companies aren’t necessarily keen on hiring 49-year-old mothers, so Kate does what she must: knocks a few years off her age, hires a trainer, joins a Women Returners group, and prepares a new resume that has a shot at a literary prize for experimental fiction.

When Kate manages to secure a job at the very hedge fund she founded, she finds herself in an impossible juggling act: proving herself (again) at work, dealing with teen drama, and trying to look after increasingly frail parents as the clock keeps ticking toward her 50th birthday. Then, of course, an old flame shows up out of the blue, and Kate finds herself facing off with everyone from Russian mobsters to a literal stallion.

Surely it will all work out in the end. After all, how hard can it be?

Hilarious and poignant, How Hard Can It Be? brings us the new adventures of Kate Reddy, the beleaguered heroine of Allison Pearson’s groundbreaking New York Times bestseller I Don’t Know How She Does It.

My Review:

When we last left Kate, she was a successful woman with a fantastic career trying desperately to keep up the facade that she could do that and be a fantastic wife and mother to her two small children. I’ve always felt that you can do it all–you just can’t do it all well. And mommy guilt is there to remind you every step of the way at how badly you are failing and just about everything!

So we meet Kate again, at the age of 49. Her body isn’t cooperating anymore, her children aren’t as much hands-on work as they are older now, but they still need a lot of her time and energy as they make mistakes on Snapchat (or a fictional site very similar). Her husband has entered a new phase which includes not working, biking a lot and being incredibly irritating, so she needs to return to the workforce to support her family.

It was nice to catch up with Kate again, really. I enjoyed the book for the most part, but I was a bit bogged down by the fact it felt like a good 2/3 of the book focused on the fact that Kate is aging and her body is a bit frumpy and ALL of her thoughts on that. I have my own inner demons who shout at me all day long so to have to read about it for that long kind of brought me down a bit. I wanted her to focus on all the good things in her life.

I did enjoy how she returned to work and seemed to show those bright young things that she deserves a place there just with the rest of them. And I loved all the changes to her personal life. I think aging means letting go of things that mattered so much to our younger selves and realizing what really matters in the end. I look forward to reading the next one. Maybe she’ll be a grandma 15 years from now!

Thank you to Netgalley and St. Martin’s Press for an advanced e-galley in exchange for my honest review. This one comes out on June 5!

Get your copy!


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