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How Hard Can It Be? Paperback
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“Few sequels beat the original, but How Hard Can It Be? does so hands down. Kate Reddy's comeback as a pushing-50 "Returner,” re-entering the workforce after a spell on the mommy track, is zesty, razor-sharp, and hilarious. With a robust absence of self-pity, she has defined the humiliating onset of "invisibility" that coincides with the onrushing pressures of parents, teenage kids, and a marriage gone flat, all while attempting to reinstate her perilous professional worth. It’s full of such quotable casual profundity on the female condition I couldn't read it without a pencil to underline the abundance of great lines. Get ready for Kate!” ―Tina Brown
"Funny and unflinching."―Elizabeth Day, author of The Party
"Perceptive and funny....Allison Pearson has a gift for comedy, but the best bits of How Hard Can It Be? are her sharp asides about modern life." ―The Times (U.K.)
"Sparkling, funny and poignant." ―Express--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
ALLISON PEARSON is the author of the hugely bestselling I Don't Know How She Does It, which became a major motion picture starring Sarah Jessica Parker, and I Think I Love You. Pearson was named Newcomer of the Year at the British Book Awards for her first book. She has written for The Daily Telegraph, The Times (UK), The Daily Mail, Time, The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Observer and countless other publications. Pearson has won many awards including Columnist of the Year, Critic of the Year and Interviewer of the Year. She lives in Cambridge, England, with the New Yorker film critic Anthony Lane, and their two children. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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"Soz lol xx"
And who cuts their 14 year old son's toenails? Yuck.
Richard went from quiet but loving and supportive to a horrible cheating self-centered drip which suited the (obvious) happy ending but was a complete and unbelievable character turn around.
But I have the most issue with the inconsistencies between the two books. (These immediately take you out of the story and remind you that this is a book written by someone else. Exactly what readers don't want.) In the first Kate left her job when Emily was six and Ben was two. Now seven years have apparently passed and Emily is suddenly sixteen and Ben has caught her up and is now only two years younger at fourteen. A good editor should have picked this up or the author herself since she knows the characters so well. Also when we left Kate in the first book she was planning a new venture which is never mentioned and are we supposed to believe a go-getter like Kate has mainly pottered around the house for the last several years, content with doing a bit of work for the local church when her kids were in school all day? Overall a disappointing read and nowhere near up to the standard of the first wonderful book.
If any of the above touches a chord with you, there is plenty more to produce a nod of recognition: Allison Pearson’s story is full of familiar tropes for fifty-somethings. The difficulty of prizing children away from their smartphones. The waning marital libido. The physical and mental trauma of menopause. The patronising attitude of recruitment companies to women returning to work. The problem of organising decent home care for the older generation. The sagging skin, the deepening wrinkles, the thinning hair – it’s all here and it’s all told with great empathy as well as humour.
My problem with this book is that Allison Pearson forces her narrator into unconvincing views to suit her narrative arc. For instance, a character of Kate’s intelligence would immediately have realised that her daughter was self-harming; the author should have known this or should have resisted the temptation to flag it up quite so obviously. Ditto Rich’s infidelity. The reader is hard pushed to believe that Kate would put up with her selfish husband for as long as she does. Had she strangled him, I reckon a sympathetic jury would have let her off. Lastly, the book goes on for far too long – a tighter read would have been a better read, in my view. Nevertheless, for women ‘of a certain age’ much of this enjoyable novel will ring only too true.