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Publisher's Summary

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 21st 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. In Kate's life, Everything Goes Perfectly as long as Everything Goes Perfectly. She lies to her own mother about how much time she spends with her kids; practices pelvic floor squeezes in the boardroom; applies tips from Toddler Taming to soothe her irascible boss; uses her cell phone in the office bathroom to procure a hamster for her daughter's birthday ("Any working mother who says she doesn't bribe her kids can add Liar to her résumé"); and cries into the laundry hamper when she misses her children's bedtime.

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. Kate Reddy's conflict (How are we meant to pass our days? How are we to reconcile the two passions, work and motherhood, that divide our lives?) gets at the private absurdities of working motherhood as only a novel could: with humor, drama, and bracing wisdom.

©2011 Allison Pearson (P)2011 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

“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)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • rodi
  • NORWALK, CT, United States
  • 04-06-12

Every woman should read this

A very insightful and yet addictive and entertaining book that every woman should read! I was fascinated to learn about all of the challenges and conflicts that come with the wife and mother vs. career dilemma.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Hours of irony

What did you love best about I Don't Know How She Does It?

The irony and spot on observations.

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

Very much as expected, but I don't think I got a definate answer to my last question.

Who was the most memorable character of I Don't Know How She Does It and why?

The cap driver. An unsignificant character with very little stage time, but he got som punchlines.

Any additional comments?

10 hours of ongoing irony. It just became too much at times.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

don't bother

What would have made I Don't Know How She Does It better?

movie was ok- but book is a bore!!!

What could Allison Pearson have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

not sure

What didn’t you like about Josephine Bailey’s performance?

boring

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from I Don't Know How She Does It?

need something to get me to continue to listen. could not get past ch 1

Any additional comments?

not sure how screenplay could be better than original book- usually the other way around but I saw movie and could not even get past 30 min in this version.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Julia
  • COSTA MESA, CA, United States
  • 12-22-11

Too Extreme

Any additional comments?

If you enjoy getting inside the head of a self-centered, power hungry, materialistic, man-hating, child neglecting workaholic, this book is for you! There are definitely some funny moments in this book, but they were hard to enjoy amidst my pity for Kate Reddy's family. (No judgment here against working moms - I'm one myself - but this so-called mom is a monster.)

2 of 4 people found this review helpful