Having read the initial story of a hedge fund manager at a merchant
bank, trying to manage her husband, kids, house, and the social
demands of being a mum as well as foreign travel, I had to grab the
sequel. Book one, I DON'T KNOW HOW
SHE DOES IT was a New York Times bestseller set in London and
was made into a movie with an American location. Seven years after the
first book in the Kate Reddy series, Kate, who was finally forced out,
brought to her senses, and/or got her priorities straight, depending on
how you see it, is re-entering the workforce. Working at forty-nine, HOW HARD CAN IT BE? Hint: Kate
finds she has to lie about her age.
Kate's teenage daughter Emily is distraught because, through naiveté
and manipulation, her cheeky photo has been posted around the
internet through shares off someone's Facebook wall. Trouble is, Kate
really isn't up to this internet lark, she gave up computers to be a stay-
at-home mother and hasn't caught up with progress. The Kate we knew
is still there though, and she starts worrying what other aspirational
mothers are going to think of her. As if that mattered compared to her
girl being bullied.
Richard, Kate's husband, loses his job and takes up healthy living and
classes in counselling; so they are down an income, with a nice Polish
builder renovating the house. Kate will just have to get a job back at the
bank. Kate's son Ben smirks a lot as he looks at Facebook and plays
games she didn't buy him. Hmm... Her mother is progressively dottier
and in poorer health, but it's so nice she's on e-mail. Richard's parents
are getting fragile, and it's always the women in the family who get
asked to make decisions and visits. And just as before, Kate lives by
lists, including health symptoms relating to her time of life. She starts
feeling sympathetic towards Lady Macbeth, obviously at the same
stage of life. I laughed so much! This book will hook you in to read.
Actually, by halfway you'll be cancelling your plans for the rest of the
day to keep reading.
I particularly enjoyed the meetings of Woman Returners group, a way to
share skills and boost confidence on returning to the workplace. The
women also reevaluate their marriages, and Kate makes a good friend
in fellow dog-owner and returner Sally Carter. Jack Abelhammer, a
flirtatious American investor friend from the first book, naturally makes
an appearance. By the way, this book is for adults, and some passages
are for women only... men will be quick to turn the page. Many women,
at many times, will be nodding in recognition. Around the comedy,
despite the chaos, author Allison Pearson makes some excellent and
true points. Asking HOW HARD CAN IT
BE? is a tremendous first step. Read this book. Then do it.
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
Then her kids became teenagers (read: monsters). Richard, her
husband, quit his job, taking up bicycling and therapeutic
drinking green potions, dressing head to toe in Lycra, and
time—and their money—on his own therapy. Since Richard no
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
Kate does what she must: knocks a few years off her age,
trainer, joins a Women Returners group, and prepares a new
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:
(again) at work, dealing with teen drama, and trying to look
increasingly frail parents as the clock keeps ticking toward
birthday. Then, of course, an old flame shows up out of the
Kate finds herself facing off with everyone from Russian
mobsters to a
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
groundbreaking New York Times bestseller I Don't Know How