I Don't Know How She Does It: A Comedy about Failure, a Tragedy about Success

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9780099570066: I Don't Know How She Does It: A Comedy about Failure, a Tragedy about Success

Meet Kate Reddy, fund manager and mother of two. A victim of time famine, Kate counts seconds like other women count calories. Factor in a manipulative nanny, an Australian boss who looks at Kate's breasts as if they're on special offer, a long-suffering husband, her quietly aghast in-laws, two needy children and an e-mail lover, and you have a woman juggling so many balls that some day soon something's going to hit the ground. In an uproariously funny and achingly sad novel, Allison Pearson brilliantly dramatises the dilemma of working motherhood at the start of the twenty-first century.

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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

From the Back Cover:

“Fast . . . funny . . . heartbreaking. . . . You root for Kate the whole length of her roller coaster ride.” — The New York Times Book Review

“The national anthem for working mothers.” —Oprah Winfrey

“A comic wonder: wildly hilarious, achingly sad, perfectly observed.” — The Miami Herald

“The book every working woman is likely to devour. . . . A hysterical look—in both the laughing and crying senses of the word—at the life of Supermom.” — The New York Times

“Think of Kate Reddy as Bridget Jones’ older, harried, married working-mother-of-two sister. . . . Hilarious.” — Entertainment Weekly

“Perfectly captures the driven days and frequently sleep-deprived nights of that modern mammal, the working mother . . . with acute humor, piercing insight and more than a touch of tenderness.” — New York Daily News

“The definitive social comedy of working motherhood.” — The Washington Post

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Pearson, Allison
ISBN 10: 0099570068 ISBN 13: 9780099570066
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Pearson, Allison
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ISBN 10: 0099570068 ISBN 13: 9780099570066
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Book Description Vintage Books, 2011. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0099570068

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