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How Hard Can It Be?: A Novel de Allison…
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How Hard Can It Be?: A Novel (edició 2019)

de Allison Pearson (Autor)

Sèrie: Kate Reddy (2)

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2703474,782 (3.76)1
"Allison Pearson's brilliant debut novel, I Don't Know How She Does It, was a New York Times bestseller with four million copies sold around the world. Called "the definitive social comedy of working motherhood" (The Washington Post) and "a hysterical look--in both the laughing and crying senses of the world--at the life of Supermom" (The New York Times), I Don't Know How She Does It introduced Kate Reddy, a woman as sharp as she was funny. As Oprah Winfrey put it, Kate's story became "the national anthem for working mothers." Seven years later, Kate Reddy is facing her 50th birthday. Her children have turned into impossible teenagers; her mother and in-laws are in precarious health; and her husband is having a midlife crisis that leaves her desperate to restart her career after years away from the workplace. Once again, Kate is scrambling to keep all the balls in the air in a juggling act that an early review from the U.K. Express hailed as "sparkling, funny, and poignant...a triumphant return for Pearson." Will Kate reclaim her rightful place at the very hedge fund she founded, or will she strangle in her new "shaping" underwear? Will she rekindle an old flame, or will her house burn to the ground when a rowdy mob shows up for her daughter's surprise (to her parents) Christmas party? Surely it will all work out in the end. After all, how hard can it be?"--… (més)
Membre:mekdem
Títol:How Hard Can It Be?: A Novel
Autors:Allison Pearson (Autor)
Informació:St. Martin's Griffin (2019), Edition: Reprint, 384 pages
Col·leccions:La teva biblioteca
Valoració:
Etiquetes:No n'hi ha cap

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How Hard Can It Be? de Allison Pearson

Afegit fa poc perArina42, WXC89
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Es mostren 1-5 de 34 (següent | mostra-les totes)
This is another book that landed on my doorstep as an ARC without me having realized it was a sequel.

Overall, I think this particular book was a mismatch for me (ask me again in sixteen years). I just didn't find Kate's life all that interesting, and while I appreciate having a narrative about a middle aged mother returning to the high-pressure business world, I couldn't really relate to her. ( )
  resoundingjoy | Jan 1, 2021 |
I'm sooooooo bored! Bailing at 26% (3:35:29).
  joyblue | Oct 30, 2020 |
If this were a movie or tv show, I would call it a tragicomedy. It is about very serious things in the life of Kate, a working mother of two teenagers (spoiled, rude teenagers), whose husband quit his job to focus on bicycling(!), and becoming a therapeutic counselor, told in often hilariously funny detail. She lies about her age in order to get a job at the very firm where she was once the top performer (of course, no one she knew still works there, so no one knows that.) She juggles menopause, clueless coworkers and clients, devil-children, ailing parents (and parents-in-law), a checked out husband (these are just for starters). Of course, in true chick lit fashion, it all ends happily ever after. A good, fun, read.
It reminds me so much of "The Knockoff", I kept checking to make sure it wasn't by the same author. It isn't.
  cherybear | Mar 29, 2020 |
“How Hard Can It Be?”

As some reviewers have noted – quite hard … to get into this book that is, or get through it. And, this review – like the book, is quite a long read. The book is quite complicated so that makes a thorough review with few words, quite challenging.

It’s not that this book is a sequel (and no, I didn’t get a chance to read the first book “I Don’t Know How She Does It”) that makes the book hard to get into (well, for me). It’s just that the book drags on for at least half (½) to two-thirds (2/3), and then has a rapid slide to the finish. There is also some questionable conduct throughout it – and not from just the children – the parents as well.

As I haven’t read the first book, I cannot compare it to the first, nor do I know the background of the characters. I don’t know if that is a good thing or a bad thing. I have read the reviews but will keep my conclusion for the end of this review.

According to other reviewers of this book there are some “timeline” continuity issues with regard to the children’s ages between the two novels. I did find a huge and glaring continuity issue in the book which I will address later in the review.

There will be triggers about:

** Negative Body Image
** Low self-esteem
** Lying about age
** Infidelity
** Ageism
** Sexual Harassment
** Sexism
** Memory Issues
** Graphic sexual language
** Peri-menopause/menopause
** Self-Harm
** Underage drinking
** Underage drug use

The first edition of “How Hard Can it Be” was published in the UK (United Kingdom) in January 2017. I received an ARC of the soon-to-be published US (United States) version (still with the UK “lingo”) in March 2018 from the publisher (St. Martin's Press) in exchange for an honest review.

Honestly?

I would say that this is best for the 21 crowd, and not for anyone under 18. I’m in my 40’s and I didn’t even relate to it.

This review MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS.

The book reads as more of a daily/hourly diary of the main character Kate Reddy – it’s like a glimpse into someone’s day planner with no real plot. I was more than halfway through the book before the action or rather story picked up and took off.

In the beginning, I found Kate to be almost OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) about her appearance, sex, and memory. I get that one wants to look good, be satisfied, and cognizant of their life. She took it to what I feel was an unnecessary extreme.

Kate is nearing 50. As the book begins in September, she’s six months shy of the milestone “millstone”. Kate is technologically clueless, has two rude teenage children, and an aimless as well as unemployed husband. She’s also approaching menopause (thus “Perry” and the peri-menopause talk). And, she’s trying to re-enter the workforce as her husband is “studying” (he's out of work).

I’m nowhere near 50 (I’m less than a decade away), but I do find Kate’s assumption about the age as preposterous. Even in my 40’s I don’t feel like I’m getting that OLD. Yes, I have a few memory issues – it’s not the end of the world. I also don’t need to keep calling an imaginary “custodian” for retrieval of key information either. Knowing I might have a “lot on my plate” – I usually write down a list of places I am going for a day (if more than two) and with “things to do” – I write them down as well.

Hasn’t this woman heard of a day planner? I’ve picked up a cheap $4 January to December planner (with month/day blocks) from Walmart. Some are less than $10 here on Amazon. Target has some as well. That helps quite a bit in staying organized. Something this woman has clear issues with. Keeping a spiral notebook or even a composition book for notes is helpful – hasn’t Kate heard of these things? For a professional woman, I would deem a planner as crucial equipment.

Addressing the appearance factor – I know a lot of women in their 50’s and their appearance is not near what Kate is referring to – sagging old gals who could benefit from plastic surgery (that’s how I read it). The women are just as beautiful in their 50’s as they were in their 40’s. Even my 40 body isn’t that far gone from the 30’s body I had – just a little less weight (thank goodness). TMI, but I’m sure some of us can relate to not being THAT different or old looking.

With regard to her technology issues, I found that a bit preposterous which diminished my respect for the character. While not a technical savant, I’m not exactly an imbecile either. I have had a smartphone for over six (6) years (late 30’s), been on social media since 2006. I started with MySpace, even dressing up my page with graphics and background images. I went to Facebook in 2008, Twitter 2009, and Instagram in 2012. I did so without any issues or needing assistance from family or friends. I’m basically the tech support of my family (phone, network, computer, or printer issues).

Kate is not that much older than I am, so I’m pretty stunned by her lack of technological awareness. I don’t know if that is a UK (where this takes place) vs. US difference or just her. I know women in their 50’s and 60’s who manage Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook accounts, even instant messaging. I would think having technological skills would be beneficial to her, especially in finance. She does utilize email services though.

The story takes place in 2014 since we learn Kate is approaching 50 sometime in the New Year – so she was born around 1965 (her date of birth is given in the book). This presents another story issues – continuity which I will get to.

So, that is where this starts for me – disdain and disgust with this Kate, who the book is about. Despite the writer trying to make the woman seem “smart” (which Kate probably is in her field) – she comes off a bit ignorant in life skills/management. It’s like she cannot manage her life outside of work – wait, she cannot manage her life outside of work.

The only time the other characters (kids, husband, in-laws, friends are mentioned is when they contact her, usually interrupting her at work or in search of work. Admittedly there are some ageism (and sexism) tones with regard to the workplace.

Richard, her husband, is a passing blurb – only there as the day begins or ends. We never know where he is going or what he is doing. We don’t even get a glimpse into Emily’s day at school or with her friends. As far as Kate’s son, he’s barely mentioned.

By about chapter 15, I wanted to stop reading. This was a chore to read from the first pages to that moment. I continued on, unlike some readers. I cannot blame them for stopping wherever they did. For me, I did it more or less to finish my review (as promised) and to see the conclusion of the book. For those who didn’t finish it – here’s the review :)

Kate decides (with encouragement) to lie about her age to get a job and lands one at the former company she worked for (now under a new name and staff). Kate left her job (about seven years ago) because she felt her kids were suffering and she felt bad about missing a ballet recital.

Kate also comes across as ungrateful and quite the complainer. Yes, her kids are nothing more than ungrateful brats, but rather than discipline them – she tends to want to be their friend and “buy their affection”. I was a teen once. I didn’t act like Emily does. I was respectful and my mother was a parent first, friend second.

There are also continuity issues that are a bit distracting. I don’t know if the writer forgot her notes on this or there was a lack of editing.

At one point in the book, Kate is recalling a “swashbuckling presentation” standing on a desk at the World Trade Center (105th floor). She referred to the incident as being “a decade ago”. If the current timeline in this book is 2014, a decade (10 years) would be 2004. The WTC was destroyed on 9/11/2001. The new One World Trade Center was opened November 2014 (the time of the story – roughly Chapter 13) and only has 94 actual stories. Thus it opened two months after this story begins.

Since I had gotten an ARC, I thought the blunder would be caught and removed prior to actual US publication. After seeing it in a book preview on Amazon – it is still in there.

Moving on …

Kate is still obsessing over her age and attractiveness. If anything, this is not making her sympathetic to me but more shallow and vapid. And, there is a wrinkle – some guy from her past pops up asking about her.

By the time the reader reaches chapter thirteen (13) – the character is only into November. It has taken the writer twelve (12) chapters to get through only two (2) months. That’s roughly six (6) chapters per month. We’re about four (4) months away from the 50th birthday.

The reader is treated to Kate’s college reunion, when she was 21 (in 1985 – wouldn’t she then be 50 already?). There is a reference to 1985 being 30 years, so that would again cause an issue with continuity and age. 1985 – 21 = 1964.

There is, in her new job, a remark that her assistant overhears which is blatant sexual harassment (directed to/about Kate). The assistant is moved to tears by it, but Kate presses on. She doesn’t report it, doesn’t act on it – and nothing more is really made of it except around the Christmas party, which is a passing blurb.

Up until about chapter 14-16, this was a boring and monotonous read. There is really nothing (in my opinion), interesting at this point. Same boring daily routine.

We finally reach the “Christmas Party” that Kate agrees to throw for her daughter –
HUGE SPOILER: [Don’t say I didn’t warn you!!]

WHAT SANE PARENT ALLOWS CONTINUED ALCOHOL, DRUG USE, AND SEX in their home with 16-17 year olds past 11pm? (It didn’t end until 3am).

This is where I’ve lost respect for Kate and quite honestly don’t have any sympathy for her anymore. The party is an unbelievable mess. Even worse? Kate, despite the complaints and cost, would gladly do it again so her daughter didn’t feel left out. The
father is almost window dressing as he is just standing there watching this scene unfold.

While I didn’t have a strict, puritanical mother (my father was absent from my life) – I also didn’t have one that would’ve allowed such a party to begin with. This is prime example of how NOT to be a parent.
Some of the business talk is boring if you don’t know what hedge funds are or companies that handle that sort of thing. In fact, it can be confusing.

At one point, Emily asks her mother for a fake ID so she can get into clubs. Most kids I know would get it without their parents knowing. Thankfully Kate says no.

A man from Kate’s past shows up. They almost have sex, yes Kate is STILL married to Richard.

By chapter nineteen (19) we’re only to Christmas Eve in Kate’s world. I’m sure some readers by now would be saying “hurry this along” (either my review or the story, perhaps both). Within one page we jump from Christmas to New Year’s Eve and Kate mentions she’s gone a whole year without sex. Again, her preoccupation with sex is a bit annoying.

Of course Kate and her daughter are having issues while Kate is also dealing with her aging in-laws (husband’s parents – one with dementia) and her own mother’s problems. Despite repeated requests, Richard does not assist with anything relating to his children, the house, or even his own parents. He is still not employed.

It’s only chapter 20 (view spoiler). The story gets even weirder. Jack proposes to Kate, who is – yes, still married. Jack then leaves for a quick period of time. This might be a trigger for some people.

Kate’s New Year isn’t off to a great start – her mother has an accident, Kate finds out her sister has been taking money to keep her son safe due to his gambling debts, and Richard is now absent so much that even the dog is turning against him. Again, Kate has NO help from anyone around her.

The reader then learns why “Joely” (a woman Richard has mentioned a few times) shows up looking for Richard around Christmas. If you didn’t guess it, sorry for the spoiler - Joely is pregnant, with twins and almost thought she was going to miscarry. Kate is upset because, from her rant, she seemingly wanted a third child but her husband didn’t. This is learned when Kate informs Richard about Emily’s “belfie” (butt selfie) from the beginning of the story. This “belfie” plays a part down the road.

Kate then finds out what the source of her daughter’s accidents and attitude are – she has been self-harming because of a boy band. And, as you might have guessed – Kate and Richard’s marriage has suffered irreparable harm.

The kids love their dad, but don’t have a high opinion of him – this doesn’t seem resolved by the end of the book though. With his absence through most of the book, it’s almost to be expected.

As the book draws to the end, more rapidly than the story began (I don’t know if that is a blessing or a curse), a major client is about to leave the firm causing Kate to confess about her age and origins of her history with the company – she ran the fund before leaving under its previous incarnation EMF. Her boss is surprised and asks her to handle the issue, which she does because of her experience, keeping the client and “saving the day”.

As this is the sequel to a book – that isn’t exactly a spoiler.

Kate, in a slightly unresolved plot, figures out why her credit score has been dropping – a series of charges her son has racked up. He is not remorseful at all, although he ends up repaying her. Of course, despite the warnings about her credit, she can’t seem to manage to check it.

As of note – I’ll be honest, I have bad credit – even I check my credit once a month though. I have CreditWise (through Capital One) and keep an eye on my credit. I cannot believe a woman of her age, and in her industry (finance/hedge funds), can’t/won’t check her credit. Again, she fails to make a real list (with a planner or notebook) to remind herself of such things.

Kate finally hits the millstone milestone with little fanfare – but a small party with her kids and friends.

With the novel’s end – she travels to see Jack, and her mother-in-law dies. Richard is apologetic about what has transpired, but is now with his new family. His father seemingly finds a new life outside of caring for his late wife. Even Kate’s mother seems to be faring better.

Kate’s gambling nephew has a job and Kate is given a permanent senior position at her old firm. Emily takes to Jack and makes a cute remark that at least her mom didn’t send him a picture of her (Kate’s) bum (butt) - the only line from the book worthy of a chuckle.

The story started picking up around chapters 17/18. From then on, it seems to move as rapidly towards the end as it crept at the beginning.

I gave two stars to be fair. I can’t just give it one star as that seems cruel.

It lost three stars based on the following criteria:

#1 – The continuity errors: WTC error as well as the years and ages mentioned. I’m hoping the editor just overlooked it. But, they were quite glaring, for me. There was a lot of detail in the book – but some of it was adding up incorrectly.

In researching the first novel “I Don’t Know How She Does It”, Kate’s kids are around 2/3 (Ben) and 5/6 (Emily) when she leaves her job (EMF). Since we know it’s been seven (7) years since she left her job (as referenced by Kerslaw, the headhunter “there is simply nothing you have done in the seven years since you left Edwin Morgan Forster”) – Ben would be 9/10 and Emily 12/13 when this novel starts – not 14 and 16 as depicted in the second novel.

If Emily (born say 1998 as one reference in this novel alludes to); in 2003 is 5, but Kate born in 1965 is 38. Seven (7) years puts Kate at 45, again, not 49. But, that would make Emily 16 in 2014; still, Kate’s age is an issue. As the first novel begins, Kate is 35. Taking the seven (7) year reference – she’d be 42/43 not 49/50 – which would negate the premise of this book.

(Head hurt from that? I know – my apologies. But, you can see how incredibly distracting that is.)

#2 – The lack of Richard’s involvement with the family – even his own parents, thus burdening his already stressed wife with working (becoming the “breadwinner), parenting two difficult teens, and handling her very old (and even senile) in-laws (HIS parents), along with her own elderly mother. That’s enough stress to try anyone’s patience.

While I get the book was about Kate, we don’t know what led Richard to what he was doing, going, etc. He also lacked an interest in his children. When was Richard going to break the news, was he even going to? When was Kate going to break the news, was she? For some this won’t be a big deal, for others it might be a huge one, perhaps even a “trigger”. The first book did allude to a relationship between Jack and Kate.

#3 – The extremely bad parenting, more specifically Kate and Richard’s conduct during the party. This is where I almost stopped reading. I couldn’t even fathom the logic behind not one, but both complicit parents.

I don’t know about the UK and their laws, but in the US there would be several “contributing to the delinquency of a minor” charges due to the alcohol and drug consumption being permitted, each child being a “count” (these were 16/17 year olds).

In addition there would be numerous “disturbing the peace” charges (over the loud music) – here (the US) midnight is pushing it; sometimes 10pm is the limit – nothing past. The saddest thing? The mother had no remorse over it and would do it again. That’s what I have a hard time accepting – the mother’s willful acceptance of this behavior!

That’s my “honest” review.

After reading the book, and once was enough, I’m glad there was some resolution with things. I don’t think I would like to see a third (3rd) Kate Reddy story.

For me, the “cons” outweighed any “pros” for me on this book. There was nothing for me to connect to – no character to connect with. The only redeeming quality was the cute “belfie” quip by the daughter at the end – ending where the story began.

This is not a book I’d read again – and it’s not one I’d recommend to my family or friends either.

Also, having read some reviews for the first one, along with previews – I think I’ll pass on it “I Don’t Know How She Does It” as well. ( )
  medwards429 | Feb 9, 2020 |
Ok, technically I haven’t finished this book. I’ve bailed. It’s so indescribably bad, I can not bear to continue it. Billed as a story that any menopausal woman could relate to, it is, in fact, the story of an over-privileged woman so self-absorbed that she can’t see the obvious truths around her. I just couldn’t put up with her whining anymore. This isn’t even worthy of a single star.
  TheEllieMo | Jan 18, 2020 |
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"Allison Pearson's brilliant debut novel, I Don't Know How She Does It, was a New York Times bestseller with four million copies sold around the world. Called "the definitive social comedy of working motherhood" (The Washington Post) and "a hysterical look--in both the laughing and crying senses of the world--at the life of Supermom" (The New York Times), I Don't Know How She Does It introduced Kate Reddy, a woman as sharp as she was funny. As Oprah Winfrey put it, Kate's story became "the national anthem for working mothers." Seven years later, Kate Reddy is facing her 50th birthday. Her children have turned into impossible teenagers; her mother and in-laws are in precarious health; and her husband is having a midlife crisis that leaves her desperate to restart her career after years away from the workplace. Once again, Kate is scrambling to keep all the balls in the air in a juggling act that an early review from the U.K. Express hailed as "sparkling, funny, and poignant...a triumphant return for Pearson." Will Kate reclaim her rightful place at the very hedge fund she founded, or will she strangle in her new "shaping" underwear? Will she rekindle an old flame, or will her house burn to the ground when a rowdy mob shows up for her daughter's surprise (to her parents) Christmas party? Surely it will all work out in the end. After all, how hard can it be?"--

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