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Showing 1-10 of 56 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 391 reviews
on April 8, 2012
I saw the film first. It's better and it's worse, depending on what you want out of the story.
1) If you're a woman who wants to suffer every little thought and problem of the 'heroine', and then suffer all the constant feelings of guilt, and finally suffer with others while they suffer, then you definitely need to read the book. It's full of it.
The book goes into absorbing detail of all her guilt and suffering and will probably take you most of a week to read. It simply isn't one of those stories you can fly through, there is far too much detailed suffering.
2) If you're a relatively normal person the book will become excruciating. It goes on and on and on, mostly about how guilty she is to be working and not looking after her children full time and partly about how she is 'shown up' because her pies for the school bake are shop-bought and not home made. Ad nauseum.
The film is the best way to view this story; however even the film is mostly downright stupid. Why did I buy the book after seeing the movie? Because of an abiding implausible belief that the book is usually better than the screenplay.
Sorry, this time it's not.
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on December 3, 2012
I watched the movie with SJP and Pierce Brosnan and thought it was cute. I was curious to read the book it was based on and I am glad I did because as usual, the movie left out not only important portions of the story, it really scaled back on the sometimes brutal but refreshing honesty of the author as she assesses her relationship to her husband, her father and her children. Probably the people involved in making the movie thought the audience would not relate to the main character if she was not totally likeable but in fact, I related to the character written in the book much more because it was so much more honest. As a mom/wife/career woman with similarly dysfinctional thorny love-hate relationships with my own parents, the book really resonated with me. And it helped that a lot of it was laugh out loud funny. I am already in the middle of my second reading. This is like Bridget Jones all grown up married with kids, but much more raw and honest.
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on December 16, 2002
I can already imagine the movie version of I DON'T KNOW HOW SHE DOES IT. Renee Zellwiger will be perfectly cast in the lead role. This book is funny, brilliant, exciting, and enjoyable. You have to like Kate Reddy and you have to laugh and commiserate with her as she faces all the problems of a talented executive as well as those of a wife and mother who is losing it fast. Even though this is the story of a working mom (mum), you will like this even if you aren't. My days of small children are long gone, but I still enjoyed this tremendously.
There's nothing particularly deep about this book. It's just good entertainment. If you have a few days off, a long week-end at the beach, or just want something to fill the time between important matters, pick this one up. It's quick and easy and will keep your interest.
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on July 24, 2014
Pearson's "I Don't Know How She Does It" is addicting! I had a hard time putting the book down. As a working mom myself (in a male dominated sector), I personally identified with all of her trials and tribulations as she so precariously tries to balance a career and kids (while also trying to be a good wife and friend). While Kate struggles to make everything work (i.e. turning chaos into serenity in both her home and professional lives), she realizes that she is starting to drop the proverbial ball. What she does is clever and inspirational. This is a great book that give a comical (and simultaneous real life-like) perspective about what it's like to be a working mother in today's era.
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on November 22, 2011
This is a hard review to write, because on many levels Allison Pearson really does hit the mark in terms of detailing what it is like to be a modern mother - the guilt, the messes, lack of time and sleep, the sense of being obliged to do too much and keep everyone happy. It is very close to the bone.

Although I did enjoy this aspect of the book and could strongly relate to it, I found myself increasingly aggitated by the main character Kate Reddy. There was no compromise or give and take with her, especially in regards to her husband. In fact most of the men described in the book were one-dimensional, and compared to my experience very old fashioned. Kate charges around like a bull at a gate, seemingly oblivious to what is really going on around her or bothering to have any real communication about what is going on or what can be done about it- she just takes charge. For me that is where she separates from my experience as a working mum.
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on July 7, 2013
This book is hilarious, serious, sensitive, and makes for delightful reading. Kate Reddy has a tough job in the financial world of London -- a man's world--and those men want to keep it that way. She's good at her job and loves it, but also wants to shine as the mother of a young daughter and toddler son. Her patient husband, with good reason, becomes less patient. All the characters are marvelously drawn. You will root for Kate to find a way to "win" in a world where the odds are stacked against her. The ending is clever and satisfying.
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on March 15, 2014
I love Allison Pearson as a writer and I love her humor. I have to say, though, that I'm a bit surprised at the sexual discrimination that she writes about in this day and age. I found that part disturbing. I must lead quite a sheltered work-life here in the US among the most decent of co-workers and managers that are mostly male. I couldn't relate that well to Kate and her ambition and choices until the end. But I suppose if I had worked that hard in such a sexist environment and were that good at my job that I may have taken more of the path that Kate did.
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on June 27, 2004
Superficially, this book is a testament to the heroic efforts of working mothers, struggling to maintain a career in a patriarchal society, while simultaneously living up to the June Cleaver image of the ideal parent. If you were to only read the first few chapters, or if you looked at the blithely superficial review quotes on the back of the dust jacket, you might think that this is all there is to this book.
At first, the book seems so wrapped up in its "I do everything and no one appreciates me" message, it's easy to see how men might dismiss it as "Geez, this sounds like my wife whining", and how women might embrace it as "Geez, finally someone is speaking up for me". In either case, such a simplistic rendering would be a pity, because it might mean missing the real message... which I won't reveal to you, lest I spoil the story's ending.
It would also be a shame to miss the truly brilliant literary aspects of this book. It is chock full of clever allusions and wordplay. You won't find technique like this in your typical Michael Crichton pulp novel.
But for everyone, there is no escaping the heart-wrenching emotion that Allison Pearson is able to convey. It seeps into the writing the way emotion seeps into your head: in a roundabout way, triggered by everyday observations, connected to thoughts and memories. It's sadness and joy mixed together, it's shades of grey, it's the complexity that burdens all of us.
There are a number of people to whom I won't recommend this book, because it's unlikely they would get it. (That includes Newsweek reviewer Cathleen McGuigan, quoted on the back cover as saying: "I don't know a man on the planet who would get this book--or a woman who wouldn't." Umm, Ms. McGuigan, apparently, you didn't get this book, because if you did, you'd appreciate why I did.) But for those who are willing to invest the brainpower and look beneath the surface, I'd say it's well worth the effort.
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on July 6, 2004
This book is truly one of the funniest tales of a working mom yet...albeit to the "n-th degree", Kate Reddy sums up the ambition, guilt, passivity, aggression, levelheadedness, and disorganization that we all experience while trying to "have it all". As a working mom-of-one myself with a second child on the way, I found this book to be a satirical look of what it might be like if everything in a working mom's life goes either extraordinarily well or extraordinarily badly!
If you keep in mind that this book is intended to amplify the successes as well as the failures that working moms face both personally and professionally, you'll likely see a little of yourself in every situation she goes through...from finding the time to actually cross items off of her ever-present "Must Remember" list, to confronting the nannny and chickening out, to overlooking an incompetent cleaning lady instead of expending the energy to find another one *right now*, to dealing with sexist comments in a male-dominated industry...you will come away with a finer understanding of all that you do that goes largely unappreciated.
Taking that into acocunt, working moms will find this book and it's cynical tongue-in-cheek commentary a welcome change to the moms-that-have-it-all-and-do-it-well "fiction" available in the self-help section!
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on February 6, 2012
I happen to love all movies Pierce Brosnan is in & loved watching him interact with Sara Jessica Parker who was wonderful with Greg Kinnear another winner in my book. The movie just made me feel sorry for her little girl who missed her mommy but mommy vindicated herself at the end. Very enjoyable. Pierce, as usual, did a crackerjack job. The seller, through Amazon , is very professional & I would go through him again. The video arrived a day early. thanks.
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