Monday, 11 December 2017

How Hard Can it Be? - Allison Pearson

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Sequel that picks up from a different age, a different time.

I enjoyed Pearson's prequel to this one - the memorable mince pies scene immediately comes to mind when I think of Kate Reddy and her antics in I Don't Know How She Does It.

Therefore when this one came to me from Mumsnet in return for an honest review, I was curious to find out how Kate was getting on years later. 

Author Pearson is a well known journalist who shot to fame with her I Don't Know How She Does It. In fact I recall one of the BBC journalists, a new mother, who went on to say that she was given the book as a gift for its accurate portrayal of the life of a working mother.  Clearly, Pearson had stuck a chord somewhere.


Fast forward to a few years later and Reddy is now approaching her fiftieth and preparing to get back to work. She is bitter and unhappy - not only because she is older but also the circumstances she finds herself in.

She needs get into work mode for financial reasons but then she realises that her age is a major factor. It doesn't help that her big five O is also coming up. We accompany Reddy on a roller coaster ride as she battles out with narcisstic teenagers, dependent parents and a personal turmoil.

What works:
  • Humour. Pearson has a great way of nailing emotions and naming them. It is the humour that brings Kate Reddy to life.
  • As with the other book there some memorable scenes that  stick with you. My favourite was the heel drilling one where one of her male colleagues tries to make a pass at her.
  • And then as the other book heads towards a tidy conclusion, it has that feel good factor to it. 
  • Abelhammer is back and the banter and chemistry between them is as electrocuting as ever.
What doesn't:
  • The first few pages that describe Kate's bitterness is what I found it hard to read. At one point, she actually scared me of becoming 50 myself!  I thought that was a bit extreme - the sandwich generation where there is disaster everywhere and no sense of hope....hmm...I struggled to continue with the during that bit.
  • The ending was predictable and it was easy to see that how the events were directed towards that objective. 

Overall, it is a typical feel good, candy floss type story. I can understand that there are takers for this genre. A setting of chaos, and then a sense of calm and as everything finds resolution. Maybe I am one of those greedy readers who demand more depth and meaning to a story. For me, the book worked in places, the humour being the highlight - the only thing that kept me going.

Perhaps you may find something more.

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