Saturday, September 10, 2011

I Don't Know How She Does It

I Don't Know How She Does It, by Allison Pearson.

Monday, 1:37 A.M. How did I get here? Can someone please tell me that? Not in this kitchen, I mean in this life. It is the morning of the school carol concert and I am hitting mince pies. No, let us be quite clear about this, I am distressing mince pies, an altogether more demanding and subtle process.

Discarding the Sainsbury luxury packaging, I winkle the pies out of their pleated foil cups, place them on a chopping board, and bring down a rolling pin on their blameless floury faces. This is not as easy as it sounds, believe me.
And homemade is what I'm after here. Home is where the heart is. Home is where the good mother is, baking for her children.

Kate Reddy works full-time - more than full-time, really - as a hedge-fund manager, all while taking care of her two children (with the help of her husband and a nanny, of course) and trying to be a good wife. Her husband, Richard, works full-time as well, as an architect, and Kate often works until 7pm or later. She tries to juggle all of her responsibilities, but inevitably it ends up taking a toll on her, her husband, and her kids, and when this happens she has to figure out which is more important to her: her job or her home life?

I wanted to read this novel because the movie adaptation of it, with Sarah Jessica Parker, is coming out next week, and the novel was frequently hilarious. It's set in England, and I think for the movie they've Americanized it, but I can see the movie being great if it sticks to the novel. SJP is the main character, Kate Reddy, and Greg Kinnear will be playing her husband, Rich, while Pierce Brosnan plays Jack, the man she has an "email affair" of sorts with ... which I found to be a bit ironic because in the novel it is mentioned that he looks like George Clooney.

(George, too busy to be in this movie?)

The stay-at-home "mums" in the novel frequently tell Kate that "they don't know how she does it" (hence the book title) and frankly, Kate doesn't know how she does it either. All too frequently she must make choices like staying home to tend to a sick child, or hopping on the plane to New York for a business trip, and near the end of the novel events occur that make her question if two incomes are really worth it, or if they could maybe get by with just one.

3.5 stars out of 5.


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