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I Don't Know How She Does It

(Kate Reddy #1)

3.33  ·  Rating details ·  20,514 ratings  ·  1,791 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 Books (first published January 12th 2001)
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Average rating 3.33  · 
Rating details
 ·  20,514 ratings  ·  1,791 reviews


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Start your review of I Don't Know How She Does It (Kate Reddy, #1)
Abigail
Dec 17, 2007 rated it did not like it
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
Erin
Apr 30, 2015 rated it it was ok
I don't even know why I stuck with this book for so long. IT'S OKAY TO QUIT BOOKS, Erin.
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 d
...more
Mette Mccall
Dec 30, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
Allison
Sep 21, 2011 rated it did not like it
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
Emily Anna
May 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
s
May 03, 2011 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
annelies
Jan 16, 2009 rated it it was ok
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.
M
Feb 10, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Marianne
Sep 06, 2011 rated it did not like it
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
Elizabeth Hall
Jul 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: feminism
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
Mona
Jan 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Gina
Goodreads Description- 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 the need to produce a homemade pie for her daughter’s school, she has to admit her life has become un ...more
CynthiaA
Jan 23, 2011 rated it did not like it
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
Frank
Sep 21, 2011 rated it did not like it
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
S
3.5

"Working Mother” = Redundant


I Don't Know How She Does It makes my 4th read for 2015 in my self-imposed NO EBOOKS 2015 resolution.

I will try my best to be as coherent as possible with this review but if in case I fail on that aspect, please be forgiving.

I tried not to read other reviews because I want to share my personal reading experience free from the influence of other readers' assessments. Suffice to say, I had a love and hate relationship with this book. It got a rise out of me A L
...more
Shweta Ganesh Kumar
Sep 29, 2013 rated it liked it
I was looking for a light read after the haunting tome of 'Beijing Coma' that I'd just finished, which was why I picked up 'I don't know how she does it.' I hadn't seen the movie inspired by the book, but the trailer had intrigued me and I wanted to read the book before I saw the movie.
First off, the book is an easy read but not light in the traditional sense of the word.
On the surface, the book is about a working mother floundering and almost sinking in the two lives she leads.
Running a house
...more
Lorrea - WhatChaReadin'?
I saw the movie for this book before I read it. When I saw the movie, I didn't realize it was a book. I wasn't reading as much back in those days. But I received the sequel, How Hard Can It Be? so I decided to read I Don't Know How She Does It. As a working mother I thought that I would be able to relate to Kate Reddy in this book. Even though I don't have a corporate job, trying to find enough hours in the day to fit in time to do for yourself, your job and your family seems nearly impossible. ...more
Annie
Feb 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reflections
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
Dianne
Sep 01, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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 into 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 B
...more
Kate Vocke (bookapotamus)
Apr 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
So. Much. Anxiety. If I had kids, I would totally be Kate. Lost in between two worlds and failing miserable at balancing them both. I just cannot seem to grasp the high demand job + motherhood balance, and it gives me heart palpitations just thinking about it. EVERYTHING in this book just confirmed that motherhood is not for me! Don't get me wrong - I admire the people who can do it! I just have ZERO faith in myself that I'd ever be able to balance the two without buckets of Xanax and a therapis ...more
Leah
Mar 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book pulls off the feat of being simultaneously intensely depressing and incredibly funny. If you are a stay-at-home mom, it will convince you that you made the right choice; if you are a working mom, you'll think you're doing great because, I guarantee you, you're doing a better job at juggling than Kate Reddy is. Kate is a high-powered hedge fund manager who has to fly across the Atlantic every week or two while managing two kids, a nanny she's terrified of, and a house-cleaner whom she's ...more
Lisbeth Solberg
Jan 05, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  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
Casey
Jan 11, 2016 rated it it was ok
I get where it was going. I really do. There were some parts that made me laugh and I definitely felt for her. Unfortunately, it's also a rehash of "men are infants and women must do it all," which I'm just tired of.
Bev Taylor
Feb 02, 2019 rated it liked it
kate reddy is a very successful fund manager happily married with 2 young children

h/e she is a work alcoholic - work +25 hours, husband -1, friends -24. ad into this a manipulative nanny, a firm that seems to ride over her taking her for every penny, disapproving in-laws and 2 needy children

i could go on but i am sure u get the drift.

yes, interesting prose putting motherhood into perspective with relative childhood and shaping events in the future

but kate was on another planet. i just could n
...more
Nicola Clough
Mar 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a new author to me and really enjoyed the book very different to my usual read but we'll written and very funny and upsetting as well one minute you cry the next your laughing and makes you think. I will be wanting to read more by this author now. It's showing the troubles of a busy mum working and trying to raise her children as well and shows the battles she has and how one thing can make you change how your life is going to be.
Kate is a mum if two young children and she has a nanny f
...more
Marta
May 23, 2019 rated it did not like it
I did not finish this book, which I never do. Did not enjoy one second of reading this, really. Had to throw in the towel because weirdly there’s a wait list at the library. I wanted to read it in advance of the sequel - not sure I’ll be reading that either! Sorry - wanted to like it, I did.
Lori
Jul 08, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
While I empathized with Kate through all of the book, as a working mother myself, I really came to hate her. She was a huge bitch and quite self centered. Unfortunately I don't think that was the author's aim. In fact, just by the title, we're supposed to be full of awe and admiration for Kate, wishing we were her. Nope.

I read this book after the sequel, in which I liked Kate! So that surprised me. It also bothered me that there were quite a bit of inconsistencies between the two books. You don
...more
Therese
Sep 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
I read this book not because of the movie version coincidentally playing in theaters right now, but because someone gave me an old copy with a faded cover a few years back, and I'd always meant to read it but only just recently got around to it. Now, having read it, I really want to see the movie.

What most surprised me about the book was how delightfully good the writing is. This is far above your standard chick lit (or "mom lit," as I like to call the subgenre) prose. Hardly a page passes witho
...more
Zarina Macha
Jul 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, funny
A brilliant book for modern women. Have read it twice. Its hilarious but also sad, and is written in a punchy manner that makes you not want to put it down. I love Kate as a protagonist; she seems very real and relatable, and its wonderful seeing how she tries to handle everything and ends up breaking down. Makes you sympathise with her a lot. I think this book shows the reality of women trying to 'have it all' - its not saying that women should or shouldn't have a career vs be a housewife vs bo ...more
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Trying To Find A Book 1 3 Feb 22, 2019 12:53AM  
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Books Stephen Kin...: librarything? 3 46 Feb 06, 2012 07:24AM  

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339 followers
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

Other books in the series

Kate Reddy (2 books)
  • How Hard Can It Be? (Kate Reddy, #2)

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