Friday, September 16, 2011

I DON'T KNOW HOW SHE DOES IT by Allison Pearson

This novel, now a movie, is a poor knockoff of Bridget Jones's Diary, complete with clever emails and repetitive notes to self. However, this novel's heroine, and I use the term loosely, lacks not only Bridget's warmth but also the ability to laugh at herself. Kate Reddy is an investment banker with two kids and a husband, and her strident excuses for not having enough time for them just grated on my nerves. She envies the stay-at-home moms who go out of their way to make her feel guilty, but at the same time she knows that her job is where she finds her fulfillment. She's jealous of the relationship her nanny, Paula, has with her children, while at the same time realizing her total dependence on Paula. The bottom line is that Kate is weak. Everyone takes advantage of her—her boss, her nanny, her decrepit housekeeper, and especially her children, since she caves in to their ever-changing whims. It's no wonder that she can't catch up—on sleep, on what's happening in her daughter's school, on keeping her marriage intact. Her long suffering architect husband doesn't have enough clout to persuade Kate that she needs to reevaluate her priorities and stop wasting energy on the wrong things. For example, why on earth is she wasting time trying to pass off various foodstuffs as homemade? To me, this book was more infuriating than funny, because I know that there are many Kates out there, putting the emphasis on form rather than function.

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