I Don't Know How She Does It: The Life of Kate Reddy, Working Mother
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I Don't Know How She Does It: The Life of Kate Reddy, Working Mother

3.26 of 5 stars 3.26  ·  rating details  ·  13,159 ratings  ·  1,340 reviews
Delightfully smart and heartbreakingly poignant, Allison Pearson’s smash debut novel has exploded onto bestseller lists as “The national anthem for working mothers.” Hedge-fund manager, wife, and mother of two, Kate Reddy manages to juggle nine currencies in five time zones and keep in step with the Teletubbies. But when she finds herself awake at 1:37 a.m. in a panic over...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published August 26th 2003 by Anchor (first published January 12th 2001)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Abigail
I don't know why, but for some reason this book got a rise out of me. It's supposed to be light reading, in the vein of chick lit, but I struggled to finish it. Basically it's about a fictional career woman juggling her career and her family - which is incredibly hard. Instead of admiring the character's efforts I was really angry at her. I wonder if it's just me.

These are the things I found wrong: whenever Kate, the main character, had time to spend with her kids, she seemed to really hate it....more
Beth
[Note: I'm reviewing this quite a long time after I finished the book because I've been really busy for the past couple of months. I can still remember what I really disliked about this book, so I'm going to write the review, but I might be shaky on some of the precise details. Be warned.]

Are you a man who has lived alone for any portion of your life?
Are you a man who can complete most domestic tasks?
Are you a man who managed to dress yourself this morning?


If so - CONGRATULATIONS! I really don'...more
Mette Mccall
Dec 30, 2007 Mette Mccall rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: any mom trying to do it all realizing it is a futile endeavour
I think about this book almost on a daily basis. Can you really be a successfull hedgefund manager at a prestigious company (thinly vailed as Morgan Stanley), be a good mother (= raise two kids and participate in all their school acitivities) and be a loving wife. All in the same life at the same time?
The book offers up som hilarious scenarios and really pinpoints how the corporate world discourages career women as mothers all while saying they as a company is a very family friendly place.
It al...more
annelies
It wouldn't be a lie to say I wanted to read this book for years. I passed it on the bookstore shelf, I don't know how many times. Well, maybe my intuition was telling me something. I found the main character Kate to be a lousy mum, sorry if that insults any working moms, but she really was just crap. I just found myself to be very unsympathetic towards her.
Allison
This book annoyed the crap out of me. (view spoiler) I'm sick of these books that reinforce stereotypes such as "men need women to take care of them, and...more
M
I grappled a lot over the stars for this one, and would settle on three and a half if G-reads would let me - but I will err on the side of more stars if only because as much as what I will say might sound negative, that in itself is the mark of a good book - which is to say, it definitely affected me.
The premise of this work is a woman with a job that is in itself a demanding marriage - constant crises and traveling and coddling clients - while in the meantime there is the real husband as well a...more
Frank
Honestly this book was good in a lot of ways. I was engaged, I wanted to know what happened, I was invested in the characters, it had an excellent plot line, and so on.

What was bad about it, was it made me angry, it made me upset. It put this feeling in me like I wanted the vomit the story up, but I couldn't. A very physical and real feeling. It made me not enjoy my day to day interactions with people I was so upset by this book.

I don't know exactly how to put why it made me so miserable, but I...more
Emily Anna
I bought "I Don't Know How She Does It" for 50 cents off the library sale cart one day, fully expecting to hate it, but intrigued enough to hand over a small donation for the pleasure of hating it in my own time. When the book came out, there was a media firestorm that took advantage of the presumed premise of mommy wars -- pitting stay-at-home mothers vs. working mothers in a spitting, catty, bitchfest. As media firestorms usually are, this one was based only on a germ of truth.

Kate Reddy, her...more
CynthiaA
SPOILER below!! Don't read on if you haven't read the book!!







OK, this book bugged me. Parts of it were good -- the parts that talked about the conflicting pull between home and work. Sometimes, parts were funny. But overall, I felt it was a big cop-out. The main character had few redeeming qualities. I think she had trouble setting her own priorities and capitulated to the demands of others -- including her children and her caregiver, not just her boss(es) -- without attempting to find compromis...more
Marianne
I don't know how she does it. Well, I do: selfishly.



I was so disgusted with the self-centered, self-righteous worldview of the main character I quit the book 150 pages into it. The portrayal of "heroine" as victim of her parenting, professional, and marital circumstances? I think not. Reaping seeds of a lifetime of selfishness, I think so. Quite hard to be endeared to such a myopic, naval-gazing "protagonist". If she were humble, introspective, insightful, or even funny she would have been a lo...more
s
Aug 10, 2011 s added it
This book is basically a work of nonfiction masquerading as a book of fiction. Every woman should read this before and during child rearing. Then she should dog ear pages of the book and force her spouse, partner or child's sperm donor to read. At that point, the spouse, partner or sperm donor will probably do some eye rolling and then ignore the crucial heart of the book--someone has to take care of the details. Such is life.

I found this book to be so achingly true it was more like a punch in t...more
Lisbeth Solberg
Jan 05, 2008 Lisbeth Solberg rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lisbeth by: Ann Robinson
Kind of a Bridget Jones's Diary for the mommy set, this book is almost too clever to like. But I liked it. Still, as a card-carrying underachiever, I couldn't always relate much to Career Kate. Too tidy ending(s) tempt me to shelve this with fairytales.

I liked the Mary Poppins references and other pop-culture bits, those I could get, anyway. Liked the discussion about food (or not) in heaven and why there isn't a McDonald's. Liked the email exchanges, mostly. Liked her husband and her other roma...more
Rachel Chorley
I read this book right after I had my first child and was working full-time. While at times I had a hard time identifying with the jet-set life (I am a teacher), I could relate to the pain of leaving your child with someone else. I do remember crying at one point. Overall, I liked it.
Mona
I think I read this within a year after it first came out, circa 2003, when I was still working in the financial district full-time, and had two little ones, ages 5 and two, was commuting to Manhattan by train and could lose myself in a book for about 45 minutes each way. I found myself laughing out loud in many spots, feeling that Allison Pearson really got it. She understood the guilt and hysteria of working mothers and put the experience out there in a way that was truly authentic. I just won...more
Imas
Drama kehidupan ibu pekerja yang disajikan Allison Pearson. Aku terlebih dulu menonton filmnya dan bagus,walaupun lebih dulu beli bukunya tapi tergoda untuk menonton filmnya lebih dulu. Dan ini bukan pilihan yang tepat, karena seperti biasa, kalau sudah nonton filmnya antusiasnya berkurang saat baca bukunya. Kebalikannya, kalau sudah baca bukunya, malah semangat nonton filmnya karena penasaran bagaimana ya bentuk visualnya...gimana ya pemerannya...cocok ngga ya dengan visualisasi dalam pikiranku...more
Annie
I started out totally disgusted with this book -- at first blush, it seemed to be a total oh-poor-me-I-have-everything cliche. However, I am happy to say that the book really does redeem itself with some meat, and is worth reading.

The main character, Kate, has a demanding full-time job in London's financial sector, an emotionally absent husband at home, two small and needy children, and a finicky nanny. Yikes, that sentence stressed me out even to type. She is pulled in a million directions at...more
rainycityreflections
At times laugh-out-loud funny, at others absolutely heartbreaking, I Don't Know How She Does It is a larger than life look at a woman and her family who seem to be living the American dream. (Note: Yes, yes, I know the book is set in Great Britain, but as an American wife, mother, and full-time working woman, I could identify completely with the main character and what she feels compelled to do to keep her life on track.)

Other reviewers here who slam the book as being misandrist somewhat miss t...more
Megan
This book has been sitting on my shelf for over a year, I finally dug it out for two reasons. One, I hate not reading a book before the movie version comes out, even if I have no intention of seeing it. Two, the friend who lent it to me came over for dinner, saw it sitting unread in my shelf and out of guilt I moved it to my bedside table.

I Don't Know How She Does It, falls in line with Bridget Jones, but specifically for the mommy set. Still it is riddled with British humor, designer label name...more
Dianne
I Don't Know How She Does It: The Life of Kate Reddy, Working Mother [Kindle Edition]
(October 1, 2002)


I saw the advertisement today on TV for the movie made about this book. It looked to be fun, funny and engrossing so I immediately bought the book without ever reading any of the reviews. I greedily jumped right in reading and found myself after a few chapters, falling asleep. Now a book that got the reviews it did, shouldn’t put one in a stupor should it? Frankly my motto is “don’t judge a BOOK...more
Andreia Silva
Não sei, de facto, como a autora conseguiu escrever um livro com tantas páginas onde não acontece rigorosamente nada. O que poderia ser um livro bem explorado sobre a mulher no século XXI, que se desdobra entre a casa e o emprego, tornou-se num descrever continuo de lamurias e pensamentos pessimistas!

A Kate é uma mulher de sucesso numa empresa de sucesso com dois filhos pequenos e uma ama. Ao longo do livro vemos a ginástica que faz para ser a mulher-que-consegue-fazer-tudo mas de uma forma extr...more
Cyndy Aleo
On bedrest during my most difficult (and final!) [HAHAHAHAHA little did I know then - ed.] pregnancy last summer, a group of my girlfriends got together and sent me a care package of books, magazines, and activities for my two toddlers. One of the books was I Don't Know How She Does It: The Life of Kate Reddy, Working Mother.

::: The Plot :::

Kate Reddy is a fund manager in London, and she is also the mother of two children. Her career is important, as she is one of the very few female fund manage...more
Danderma
When I finally finished the book “I don’t know how she does it” I had to say it took me over three weeks to finish. Not because it was too long, but because it is an OK read. Not an AMAZING page turner for sure. I have read many more interesting books so why this one per say was turned into a movie is beyond me. Especially since it was published over 11 years ago.

The books is about Katherine Reddy, a fierce career woman who is trying to balance her role as a wife, a mother, and a city worker all...more
Mary
This book is great! Its funny, serious, demanding and overbearing. Much of what a working woman and mother goes through. Pearson does a beautiful job showing the double standards that still exist in the work place between how men and women are treated and in particular after a women has a child. She shows Kate saying what she wants to really say in her mind as many of us do and then the politically correct thing which she says out loud. She clearly shows the termoil a mother feels at being pulle...more
Elizabeth Hall Magill
So I just read I Don’t Know How She Does It: The Life of Kate Reddy, Working Mother, and I want you to read it too. It has some beautiful sentences—some that startled me into laughter, others that made me sigh oh my, yes—Allison Pearson is a writer. But the main reason I loved this book is that it tells the truth about modern motherhood. The whole, fragmented, pissed off, full of love and anguish truth.

Of course, the book tells the truth in the form of a fictional narrative, but two of Ms. Pears...more
Lightblue
Decisamente il libro giusto al momento giusto!
Avevo proprio bisogno di leggere le avventure di Kate, donna in carriera con marito e due figli piccoli da seguire e una casa da sistemare. Kate fa degli orari assurdi, spesso è all'estero per lavoro, ama quello che fa ma deve riuscire a conciliarlo con la sua vita privata e soprattutto con ciò che si aspetta la gente da lei, continuando a chiederle come fa a far tutto. E Kate ci riesce rubando ore al sonno, fingendo di cucinare, portando pazienza c...more
Lee
If I had to sum up the book with one excerpt, it would be this:

"It was a matriarchy pretending to be a patriarchy to keep the lads happy."

And to be honest, I'm not sure how much I liked the storyline. The book as a whole is very well-written; and I really enjoyed the author's style of writing. But my discomfort with the storyline comes from a deep place of wonder and fear. Is this what it's like to be a working mother nowadays? Surely the average working mother doesn't experience this, right? Su...more
Krista
Reading this book stressed me out. And made me appreciate MY life.
Cristine
I thought it described my life!!! I completely loved her observations and the summary at the end of the chapter (some things are always on the list!). But i wish the ending could have showed that she was able to keep working and still take care of her family. Why did she have to leave her career in order to be a mom? Although I did like the very end (i guess you don't ever really leave your career.....)
Andrea
Above average characters exploring well-worn territory of modern women's dilemma of career vs. family. Even though I feel like this subject has been beat to death in a lot of ways, especially in the 9 years since this was originally published, certainly the problem itself has not become any less diminished. This book does an admirable job of capturing the struggle in an entertaining manner.
Liza
Sep 04, 2007 Liza rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People who can read British Lit
I tried and tried and tried to get into this book... And I simply couldn't. While the story and characters seemed like those that I could relate to, I found myself finding reasons NOT to read it. I finished it on principal alone. It has something to do with my general dislike of British lit... I don't know why, but I can't seem to get into it!
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Goodreads Librari...: Allison Pearson - Working Mum 2 12 Jun 07, 2014 12:41AM  
Movie! 10 44 Feb 24, 2014 03:11AM  
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22017
Allison Pearson was born in South Wales. An award-winning journalist, she was named Newcomer of the Year at the British Book Awards for her first novel, I Don't Know How She Does It. Allison has written for many magazines and newspapers including the Daily Telegraph, the Independent, the Observer, the Sunday Times and the London Evening Standard. For four years she was the popular Wednesday column...more
More about Allison Pearson...
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“The great thing about unrequited love is it's the only kind that lasts.” 61 likes
“In death, we are not defined by what we did or who we were but by what we meant to others. How well we loved and were loved in return.” 23 likes
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