Look, I was doing OK. I got through the oil spill on the road that is turning forty. Lost a little control, but I drove into the skid just like the driving instructors tell you to and afterwards things were fine again, no, really, they were better than fine.
Kate Reddy had it all: a nice home, two adorable kids, a good husband. Then her kids became teenagers (read: monsters). Richard, her husband, quit his job, taking up bicycling and therapeutic counseling: drinking green potions, dressing head to toe in Lycra, and spending his time and their money on his own therapy. Since Richard no longer sees a regular income as part of the path to enlightenment, it s left to Kate to go back to work.
Companies aren t necessarily keen on hiring 49-year-old mothers, so Kate does what she must: knocks a few years off her age, hires a trainer, joins a Women Returners group, and prepares a new resume that has a shot at a literary prize for experimental fiction.
When Kate manages to secure a job at the very hedge fund she founded, she finds herself in an impossible juggling act: proving herself (again) at work, dealing with teen drama, and trying to look after increasingly frail parents as the clock keeps ticking toward her 50th birthday. Then, of course, an old flame shows up out of the blue, and Kate finds herself facing off with everyone from Russian mobsters to a literal stallion.
Surely it will all work out in the end. After all, how hard can it be?
Hilarious and poignant, How Hard Can It Be? brings us the new adventures of Kate Reddy, the beleaguered heroine of Allison Pearson's groundbreaking New York Times Bestseller I Don't Know How She Does It.
|Publisher:||Gale, A Cengage Company|
|Edition description:||Large Prin|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.30(d)|
About the Author
Allison Pearson is the author of the New York Times Notable Book and bestseller I Don't Know How She Does It and I Think I Love You. Named Newcomer of the Year at the British Book Awards for her first novel, Pearson has won numerous awards for her journalism. She is a columnist for The Telegraph (UK) and has also written for many other publications, including Time, The New York Times, Vogue, and Woman & Home. She lives in Cambridge, England, with the New Yorker film critic Anthony Lane and their two children.
You can find her on Twitter at @allisonpearson.
Read an Excerpt
Bats in the Belfie
Monday, 1:37A.M. Such a weird dream. Emily is crying, she's really upset. Something about a belfry. A boy wants to come round to our house because of her belfry. She keeps saying she's sorry, it was a mistake, she didn't mean to do it. Strange. Most of my nightmares lately feature me on my unmentionable birthday having become totally invisible and talking to people who can't hear me or see me.
"But we haven't got a belfry," I say, and the moment I speak the words aloud I know that I'm awake.
Emily is by my side of the bed, bent over as if in prayer or protecting a wound. "Please don't tell Daddy," she pleads. "You can't tell him, Mummy."
"What? Tell him what?"
I fumble blindly on the bedside table and my baffled hand finds reading glasses, distance glasses, a pot of moisturizer and three foil sheets of pills before I locate my phone. Its small window of milky, metallic light reveals that my daughter is dressed in the Victoria's Secret candy-pink shorty shorts and camisole I foolishly agreed to buy her after one of our horrible rows.
"What is it, Em? Don't tell Daddy what?"
No need to look over to check that Richard's still asleep. I can hear that he's asleep. With every year of our marriage, my husband's snoring has got louder. What began as piglet snufflings twenty years ago is now a nightly Hog Symphony, complete with wind section. Sometimes, at the snore's crescendo, it gets so loud that Rich wakes himself up with a start, rolls over and starts the symphony's first movement again. Otherwise, he is harder to wake than a saint on a tomb.
Richard had the same talent for Selective Nocturnal Deafness when Emily was a baby, so it was me who got up two or three times in the night to respond to her cries, locate her blankie, change her nappy, soothe and settle her, only for that penitential playlet to begin all over again. Maternal sonar doesn't come with an off switch, worse luck.
"Mum," Emily pleads, clutching my wrist.
I feel drugged. I am drugged. I took an antihistamine before bed because
I've been waking up most nights between two and three, bathed in sweat, and it helps me sleep through. The pill did its work all too well, and now a thought, any thought at all, struggles to break the surface of dense, clotted sleep. No part of me wants to move. I feel like my limbs are being pressed down on the bed by weights.
God, I am too old for this.
"Sorry, give me a minute, love. Just coming."
I get out of bed onto stiff, protesting feet and put one hand around my daughter's slender frame. With the other, I check her forehead. No temperature, but her face is damp with tears. So many tears that they have dripped onto her camisole. I feel its humid wetness — a mix of warm skin and sadness — through my cotton nightie and I flinch. In the darkness, I plant a kiss on Em's forehead and get her nose instead. Emily is taller than me now. Each time I see her it takes a few seconds to adjust to this incredible fact. I want her to be taller than me, because in the world of women, tall is good, leggy is good, but I also want her to be four years old and really small so I can pick her up and make a safe world for her in my arms.
"Is it your period, darling?"
She shakes her head and I smell my conditioner on her hair, the expensive one I specifically told her not to use.
"No, I did something really ba-aa-aa-aad. He says he's coming here." Emily starts crying again.
"Don't worry, sweetheart. It's OK," I say, maneuvering us both awkwardly toward the door, guided by the chink of light from the landing. "Whatever it is, we can fix it, I promise. It'll be fine."
And, you know, I really thought it would be fine, because what could be so bad in the life of a teenage girl that her mother couldn't make it better?
* * *
2:11A.M. "You sent. A picture. Of your naked bottom. To a boy. Or boys. You've never met?"
Emily nods miserably. She sits in her place at the kitchen table, clutching her phone in one hand and a Simpsons D'OH mug of hot milk in the other, while I inhale green tea and wish it were Scotch. Or cyanide. Think, Kate, THINK.
The problem is I don't even understand what it is I don't understand. Emily may as well be talking in a foreign language. I mean, I'm on Facebook, I'm in a family group on WhatsApp that the kids set up for us and I've tweeted all of eight times (once, embarrassingly, about Pasha on Strictly Come Dancing after a couple of glasses of wine), but the rest of social media has passed me by. Until now, my ignorance has been funny — a family joke, something the kids could tease me about. "Are you from the past?" That was the punch line Emily and Ben would chorus in a singsong Irish lilt; they had learned it from a favorite sitcom. "Are you from the past, Mum?"
They simply could not believe it when, for years, I remained stubbornly loyal to my first mobile: a small, grayish-green object that shuddered in my pocket like a baby gerbil. It could barely send a text message — not that I ever imagined I would be sending those on an hourly basis — and you had to hold down a number to get a letter to appear. Three letters allocated to each number. It took twenty minutes to type "Hello." The screen was the size of a thumbnail and you only needed to charge it once a week. Mum's Flintstone Phone, that's what the kids called it. I was happy to collude with their mockery; it made me feel momentarily lighthearted, like the relaxed, laid-back parent I knew I never really could be. I suppose I was proud that these beings I had given life to, recently so small and helpless, had become so enviably proficient, such experts in this new tongue that was Mandarin to me. I probably thought it was a harmless way for Emily and Ben to feel superior to their control-freak(ish) mother, who was still boss when it came to all the important things like safety and decency, right?
Wrong. Boy, did I get that wrong. In the half hour we have been sitting at the kitchen table, Emily, through hiccups of shock, has managed to tell me that she sent a picture of her bare backside to her friend Lizzy Knowles on Snapchat because Lizzy told Em that the girls in their group were all going to compare tan lines after the summer holidays.
"What's a Snapchat?"
"Mum, it's like a photo that disappears after like ten seconds."
"Great, it's gone. So what's the problem?"
"Lizzy took a screenshot of the Snapchat and she said she meant to put it in our Facebook group chat, but she put it on her wall by mistake so now it's there like forever." She pronounces the word "forever" so it rhymes with her favorite, "whatevah"— lately further abbreviated to the intolerable "whatevs."
"Fu'evah," Emily says again. At the thought of this unwanted immortality, her mouth collapses into an anguished O — a popped balloon of grief.
It takes a few moments for me to translate what she has said into English. I may be wrong (and I'm hoping I am), but I think it means that my beloved daughter has taken a photo of her own bare bum. Through the magic of social media and the wickedness of another girl, this image has now been disseminated — if that's the word I want, which I'm very much afraid it is — to everyone in the school, the street, the universe. Everyone, in fact, but her own father, who is upstairs snoring for England.
"People think it's like really funny," Emily says, "because my back is still a bit burned from Greece so it's like really red and my bum's like really white so I look like a flag. Lizzy says she tried to delete it, but loads of people have shared it already."
"Slow down, slow down, sweetheart. When did this happen?"
"It was like seven thirty but I didn't notice for ages. You told me to put my phone away when we were having dinner, remember? My name was at the top of the screenshot so everyone knows it's me. Lizzy says she's tried to take it down but it's gone viral. And Lizzy's like, 'Em, I thought it was funny. I'm so sorry.' And I don't want to seem like I'm upset about it because everyone thinks it's really hilarious. But now all these people have got my like Facebook and I'm getting these creepy messages." All of that comes out in one big sobbing blurt.
I get up and go to the counter to fetch some kitchen roll for Em to blow her nose because I have stopped buying tissues as part of recent family budget cuts. The chill wind of austerity blowing across the country, and specifically through our household, means that fancy pastel boxes of paper softened with aloe vera are off the shopping list. I silently curse Richard's decision to use being made redundant by his architecture firm as "an opportunity to retrain in something more meaningful"— or "something more unpaid and self-indulgent" if you were being harsh, which, sorry, but I am at this precise moment because I don't have any Kleenex to soak up our daughter's tears. Only when I make a mess of ripping the kitchen paper along its serrated edge do I notice that my hand is shaking, quite badly actually. I place the trembling right hand in my left hand and interlink the fingers in a way I haven't done for years. "Here is the church. Here is the steeple. Look inside and see all the people." Em used to make me do that little rhyme over and over because she loved to see the fingers waggling in the church.
"'Gain, Mummy. Do it 'gain."
What was she then? Three? Four? It seems so near yet, at the same time, impossibly far. My baby. I'm still trying to get my bearings in this strange new country my child has taken me to, but the feelings won't stay still. Disbelief, disgust, a tincture of fear.
"Sharing a picture of your bottom on a phone? Oh, Emily, how could you be so bloody stupid?" (That's the fear flaring into anger right there.)
She trumpets her nose on the kitchen roll, screws up the paper and hands it back to me.
"It's a belfie, Mum."
"What's a belfie, for heaven's sake?"
"It's a selfie of your bum," Emily says. She talks as though this were a normal part of life, like a loaf of bread or a bar of soap.
"You know, a BELFIE." She says it louder this time, like an Englishman abroad raising his voice so the dumb foreigner will understand.
Ah, a belfie, not a belfry. In my dream, I thought she said belfry. A selfie I know about. Once, when my phone flipped to selfie mode and I found myself looking at my own face, I recoiled. It was unnatural. I sympathized with that tribe which refused to be photographed for fear the camera would steal their souls. I know girls like Em constantly take selfies. But a belfie?
"Rihanna does it. Kim Kardashian. Everyone does it," Emily says flatly, a familiar note of sullenness creeping into her voice.
This is my daughter's stock response lately. Getting into a nightclub with fake ID? "Don't be shocked, Mum, everyone does it." Sleeping over at the house of a "best friend" I've never met, whose parents seem weirdly unconcerned about their child's nocturnal movements? Perfectly normal behavior, apparently. Whatever it is I am so preposterously objecting to, I need to chill out, basically, because Everyone Does It. Am I so out of touch that distributing pictures of one's naked arse has become socially acceptable?
"Emily, stop texting, will you? Give me that phone. You're in enough trouble as it is." I snatch the wretched thing out of her hands and she lunges across the table to grab it back, but not before I see a message from someone called Tyler: "Ur ass is well fit make me big lol!!! "
Christ, the village idiot is talking dirty to my baby. And "Ur" instead of "Your"? The boy is not just lewd but illiterate. My Inner Grammarian clutches her pearls and shudders. Come off it, Kate. What kind of warped avoidance strategy is this? Some drooling lout is sending your sixteen-year-old daughter pornographic texts and you're worried about his spelling?L
"Look, darling, I think I'd better call Lizzy's mum to talk about wha —"
"Nooooooo." Emily's howl is so piercing that Lenny springs from his basket and starts barking to see off whoever has hurt her.
"You can't," she wails. "Lizzy's my best friend. You can't get her in trouble."
I look at her swollen face, the bottom lip raw and bloody from chewing. Does she really think Lizzy is her best friend? Manipulative little witch, more like. I haven't trusted Lizzy Knowles since the time she announced to Emily that she was allowed to take two friends to see Justin Bieber at the O2 for her birthday. Emily was so excited; then Lizzy broke the news that she was first reserve. I bought Em a ticket for the concert myself, at catastrophic expense, to protect her from that slow hemorrhage of exclusion, that internal bleed of self-confidence which only girls can do to girls. Boys are such amateurs when it comes to spite.
All of this I think, but do not say. For my daughter cannot be expected to deal with public humiliation and private treachery in the same night.
"Lenny, back in your basket, there's a good boy. It's not getting-up time yet. Lie down. There, good boy. Good boy."
I settle and reassure the dog — this feels more manageable than settling and reassuring the girl — and Emily comes across and lies next to him, burying her head in his neck. With a complete lack of self-consciousness, she sticks her bottom in the air. The pink Victoria's Secret shorts offer no more cover than a thong and I get the double full-moon effect of both bum cheeks — that same pert little posterior which, God help us, is now preserved for posterity in a billion pixels. Emily's body may be that of a young woman, but she has the total trustingness of the child she was not long ago. Still is in so many ways. Here we are, Em and me, safe in our kitchen, warmed by a cranky old Aga, cuddled up to our beloved dog, yet outside these walls forces have been unleashed that are beyond our control. How am I supposed to protect her from things I can't see or hear? Tell me that. Lenny is just delighted that the two girls in his life are up at this late hour; he turns his head and starts to lick Em's ear with his long, startlingly pink tongue.
The puppy, purchase of which was strictly forbidden by Richard, is my proxy third child, also strictly forbidden by Richard. (The two, I admit, are not unrelated.) I brought this jumble of soft limbs and big brown eyes home just after we moved into this ancient, crumbling-down house. A little light incontinence could hardly hurt the place, I reasoned. The carpets we inherited from the previous owners were filthy and sent up smoke signals of dust as you walked across a room. They would have to be replaced, though only after the kitchen and the bathroom and all the other things that needed replacing first. I knew Rich would be pissed off for the reasons above, but I didn't care. The house move had been unsettling for all of us and Ben had been begging for a puppy for so long — he'd sent me birthday cards every single year featuring a sequence of adorable, beseeching hounds. And now that he was old enough not to want his mother to hug him, I figured out that Ben would cuddle the puppy and I would cuddle the puppy, and, somehow, somewhere in the middle, I would get to touch my son.
The strategy was a bit fluffy and not fully formed, rather like the new arrival, but it worked beautifully. Whatever the opposite of a punch bag is, that's Lenny's role in our family. He soaks up all the children's cares. To a teenager, whose daily lot is to discover how unlovable and misshapen they are, the dog's gift is complete and uncomplicated adoration. And I love Lenny too, really love him with such a tender devotion I am embarrassed to admit it. He probably fills some gap in my life I don't even want to think about.
"Lizzy said it was an accident," says Em, stretching out a hand for me to pull her up. "The belfie was only supposed to be for the girls in our group, but she like posted it where all of her other friends could see it by mistake. She took it down as soon as she realized, but it was too late 'cos loads of people had already saved it and reposted it."
"What about that boy you said was coming round? Um, Tyler?" I close and open my eyes quickly to wipe the boy's lewd text.
"He saw it on Facebook. Lizzy tagged my bum #FlagBum and now everyone on Facebook can see it and knows it's like mine, so now everyone thinks I'm like just one of those girls who takes her clothes off for nothing."
"No they don't, love." I pull Em into my arms. She lays her head on my shoulder and we stand in the middle of the kitchen, half hugging, half slow-dancing. "People will talk about it for a day or two then it'll blow over, you'll see."
I want to believe that, I really do. But it's like an infectious disease, isn't it? Immunologists would have a field day researching the viral spread of compromising photographs on social media. I'd venture that the Spanish flu and Ebola combined couldn't touch the speed of photographic mortification spreading through cyberspace.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "How Hard Can It Be?"
Copyright © 2017 Allison Pearson.
Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
1. Bats in the Belfie,
2. The Has-been,
3. The Bottom Line,
5. Five More Minutes,
6. Of Mice and Menopause,
7. Back to the Future,
8. Old and New,
9. Genuine Fake,
10. Rebirth of a Saleswoman,
11. Twelfth Night (or What You Won't),
13. Those Stubborn Areas,
14. The College Reunion,
15. Calamity Girl,
17. The Rock Widow,
18. The Office Party,
19. Coitus Interruptus,
20. The Mere Idea of You,
21. Madonna and Mum,
22. Never Can Say Good-bye,
23. For Whom the Belfie Tolls,
24. Cut to the Quick,
26. Guilty Secret,
27. March 11,
28. After All,
Also by Allison Pearson,
About the Author,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Kate Reddy is not my kind of heroine. I found her vain, facile and self absorbed and could not take a liking to this woman at all. She routinely misses what is under her nose because her mind is constantly full of herself - whilst she is busy narrating the story that shows her as a bit of a martyr. You see Kate is nearly 50 and has 2 teenage children and a husband that is having a mid-life crisis all of his own. So, she worries about her appearance (almost to obsession as far as I can tell), she worries about her children but misses glaringly obvious clues to what is happening in their lives, she tolerates her husband and is oblivious to what may be happening in his life. Kate is a mess. Kate is also going through the perimenopause and, she decides, this is the source of all her woes. No Kate, the source of most of your woes is your self-absorption. The only reason I gave this book 3 Stars is the description it gives of the menopause and the humour that is doled out alongside it is actually rather good. If you are a woman that has started or completed the journey you will recognise some, if not all, of the symptoms described here. I even did a little mental cheer at the long list of possible symptoms - nice to see the hair in strange places and disappearing from others get mentions. It is also brutally honest about the psychological fallout of hormonal ebbing and likening to Emily's teenage hormonal surges is actually quite shrewd. Why did the main character have to be so unpleasant? I know I'm harping on about it but she did spoil the book for me. Would I read another Allison Pearson book? Yes, yes I would but if that heroine is decidedly unpalatable then it will only be one more.
How Hard Can It Be? Quite hard … to get into this book or get through it. This is the sequel to “I Don’t Know How She Does It” where we meet a 35 year old Kate Reddy with a 2/3 year old son Ben, and 5/6 year old Emily. This book picks up seven (7) years later (as stated in the novel when Kate meets with a "headhunter") – now, as of this book "How Hard Can It Be?", Kate is 49/50 (she should be 42), Ben is now 14 (should be 9/10) and Emily is 16 (as opposed to 12/13). And, that’s just one of the problems right off – the continuity in ages. Also, Kate recalls a memory of the World Trade Center which was destroyed in 2001, however she recalls it 10 years from this book (set in 2014, so incident was in 2004) – it couldn’t have happened. This story drags on for at least half (½) to two-thirds (2/3) of the book then has a rapid slide to the finish. It reads as more of a daily/hourly diary of the main character Kate Reddy – like a glimpse into someone’s day planner with no real plot. Kate seems more interested in buying her children’s affection as opposed to disciplining them. This is evident when she hosts a party for her daughter that results in far too many kids, alcohol use, and disturbing the peace (ends at 3am). Kate’s husband is content to do his thing – and working isn’t part of that. He's only seen as he arrives home or leaves. The writer doesn't give the reader a reason as to where he goes, what he does, why this happened. I received an ARC in March 2018 from the publisher (St. Martin's Press) to review, forgetting to post here on Barnes & Noble. I have reviewed it on Amazon and GoodReads though. I would say that this is better geared for the 30+ crowd, and not for anyone under 18. I’m in my 40’s and I didn’t even relate to it. I personally found Kate to be almost OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) about her appearance, sex, and memory. Hasn’t this woman heard of a day planner? For a professional woman, I would deem a planner as crucial equipment – even if it was a spiral notebook. With regard to her technology issues, I found that a bit preposterous which diminished my respect for the character, especially given her business industry. Despite the writer trying to make the woman seem “smart” (which Kate probably is in her field) – Kate comes off a bit ignorant in life skills/management. She simply cannot manage her life outside of work. Kate also comes across as ungrateful and quite the complainer and quite pathetic especially with such a focus on sex, her age, and attractiveness. This is not making her sympathetic but more shallow and vapid. By the time the reader reaches chapter thirteen (13) – it takes the writer twelve (12) chapters to get through only two (2) months. That’s roughly six (6) chapters per month. Kate is about four (4) months away from the 50th birthday. The story finally picks up by chapters 17/18 and speeds towards the end. The fate of Kate and Richard’s marriage is revealed, Kate’s origins of her history with the company are revealed which results in a permanent position there, and she finally hits the millstone milestone with little fanfare. Kate also finds romance with a returning character. I gave two stars due to the lack of continuity, the issues with her husband and his lack of involvement towards anyone in the family, and the bad parenting. I’m glad there was some resolution with Kate’s life; however I’m not interested in another installment.
How Hard Can It Be? If you are a woman approaching any milestone in age, HOW HARD CAN IT BE? is a “must listen to” audio (or read). Having said that, if you are a woman or man - no matter your age – this audio will provide hours of entertainment. Granted, women will probably appreciate the humor more than men. Poppy Miller does a delightful job of bringing the various characters to life. Her mannerisms and dialect enhance the story. Miller hits the target with her timing and tones as the narrator of this story. This is a hilarious story that will have you crying from laughter one minute and from heart wrenching events the next. It explores the highs and lows of life with zany outlooks. The author amusingly tackles raising kids, menopause, trying to recall events and names you know you should know but can’t, and getting bogged down with maintaining status quo in life. After listening to this quirky tale, if you don’t relate to at least one or two moments, I’ll be amazed. The author takes you on a journey of family life, loving, living and accepting one’s self. This is truly a captivating story that will amuse and inspire. FTC Full Disclosure – A copy of this audio book was sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review. The thoughts are completely my own and given honestly and freely.
This was one of the books I had a chance to read during bouts of caring for my ailing Mom and what a godsend! I’d often wondered how I will handle turning 50. I always prided myself on viewing getting older as a chance to continue to be the woman I’d so carefully cultivated through the years. But as I’ve gotten older, I laugh at how I have become so many of the things I swore I would never be - and I laugh even harder at the reality that I no longer care about all the things that were once so important to me. Given all that, the antics and adventures of Kate approaching the big 5-0 are absolutely on point. Everything she faces I could relate to and I questioned were it me how would I handle it? The big bonus of “How Hard Can It Be” is how absolutely hysterically funny this read is. If you want a read to warm your heart, this is it!
This book does an excellent job at describing what women are going through. So many laugh out load moments! I totally love Roy. He is my new best friend. Women do so many things that they are never given credit for and this book touches on this. With laughter and tears. Kate takes what she is dealt and makes the best of it. You will see she has some of the same thoughts that you have been having. And maybe even going through some of the things you are going through. I highly recommend reading this book! It will not disappoint.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book courtesy of NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own. I wanted to read this book because I thought it would be relatable reading about a 49-year-old woman whose life changes when her kids become teenagers. The description also says it is hilarious and a need a laugh. I was disappointed in this book. I did not find it very humorous. I actually thought it was condescending and depressing. None of the characters were likable. I would not recommend this book. If this review was helpful to you please click the link below.
A Lilac Wolf and Stuff Review **Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for a digital AND physical copy of this book!** This book really hit home for me in the beginning. And it was uncomfortable. But I loved Kate Reddy, she is one strong cookie. She is in this big house that needs to be redone and her husband has lost his job and decided to retrain as a counselor. So, it is up to Kate to get back to work. I couldn't get enough of this one. She's starting with the life change - which is a nice change of pace for a main character. She's trying to reenter the workforce (I'm living that nightmare now), and she is dealing with children who are full-on-teenagers, aging parents who need more and more care, and a husband who doesn't seem to be of much help. But hey, how hard can it be?
Sometimes hilarious, sometimes sad this was an interesting read for me. Not the type of literature I'm used to, but I enjoyed it. It's mainly about a woman approaching fifty and freaking out - a major midlife crisis going on. She'd been staying at home with her children, but when her husband decided to stop working and enrolls in some kind of mindfulness education, she goes looking for a job in a culture that doesn't really want to hire anyone her age. Her marriage is not what it used to be and her children are having their own crises. This book deals with everything that happens to a woman in mid-life - teenagers, husbands, peri-menopause, age discrimination, ageing parents, body changes. You name it, Pearson deals with it with hilarity and an in-depth understanding of the things women feel at this age. This is my first book by Pearson and I was surprised by the writing style and the author's understanding of all the issues facing a woman near fifty years old. I was totally immersed. Thanks to Allison Pearson and St. Martin's Press through Netgalley for an advance copy of this book.
Middle-age is a difficult time for many women, and the heroine of this story is no exception. Part of the sandwich generation, she has to deal with aging parents and adolescents among many, many other things. Told with a great sense of humor, it had me laughing out loud quite a lot. Everyone could use a mental archivist like “Roy” to help remember all the stuff you know you know, but are having trouble retrieving. Highly recommend for anyone looking for a light hearted observation of mid-life.
It is not hard at all to return to Kate Reddy's world. One of the most powerful and indelible heroines in recent fiction, Kate used her brains, beauty, determination, but most of all her huge heart to land herself in a small village in a magnificent old wreck of a house with a garden, with small children and a renewed bond with her husband. Now, on the verge of 50, Kate once again is challenged with returning to the world of work after years away from the job, coping with dramatic, lost teenagers, a husband out of work and obsessed with living healthy, and aging parents. Kate's story of how she copes with the tsunami of turning 50 in the middle of the chaos of her life is by turns hilarious, moving, heartbreaking; ultimately the story of how she comes to terms with her life and her world is memorable, authentic, genuine, Her voice is powerful and wonderfully well-wrought and it feels as if you are truly inside her head and her heart living her days of doing her best. Challenged on every front, Kate moves forward and we're cheering her on, imagining ourselves in her pumps making her own way in a very different world from the one she left. I profoundly enjoyed my time with Kate and her adventures in this exceptionally well-written, well-wrought tale.
Well, I didn't get quite the laughs that I'm sure other people did with this book due to the fact that I lived a lot of it (still am, with a late 20 something still acting like a teenager). Well, at least I didn't have the "belfie" to contend with. Thank the Lord for that!!! However, I did enjoy the book. The scenes with boy toy (was it boy or toy? Ha!!) I found especially funny. Kate's mother-in-law definitely gave her son the correct name. I certainly would not have put up with his crap!! My last line he would hear from me would be "Don't let the door hit ya, where the good Lord slit ya". Ha!! I didn't read this author's first book, "I Don't Know How She Does It", but I did see the quasi good movie. And after reading this book, I am sure that the first book was a good one. Why can't Hollywood get it right? Is it really that hard? I did learn something that I really needed to know from reading this book though. I NEED HRT!!!! I said yes to most of her questions. (shocked face!) A very entertaining book that I did enjoy after I got through the teen angst. I especially loved the career side of the story. I could definitely relate to that working in a mostly men's industry of natural gas for so many years. I may have had a few up in the air fist pumps (well okay, several) while reading this part. And yes, there were a few tears at the end (see I need that HRT). I'm really wishing now that I had read the first book, however, I can't read a book after I've seen the movie. I am, however, looking forward to the next one! Thanks to St. Martin's Press and Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.
A sequel to her first novel "I Don't Know How She Does It", "How Hard Can It Be?" from Allison Pearson is completely stand along and hits on some truths that make you laugh - and cry - and thank goodness that we women of all ages have one another to help us get through the days. Men are fine - necessary - but though they may not be from Mars, many men certainly don't spend a lot of time on the same Earth women are tied to by love and responsibility for the children, the older generations, the rest of woman and mankind. I think you will love these ladies, as did I. Kate of course, her 16 year old daughter Emily, her mother-in-law Barbara, her mother Jean, her sister Julie, her old American Friend Candy, her new best friend Sally - new co-worker Alice - this is the world we are invited into on these pages. I received a free electronic copy of this novel from Netgalley, Allison Pearson, and St. Martin's Press, General Fiction, Women's Fiction in exchange for an honest review. Thank you all for sharing your hard work with me.
Title: How Hard Can It Be? Author: Allison Pearson Publisher: St. Martin's Press Series: Kate Reddy, #2 Reviewed By: Arlena Dean Rating: Five Review: "How Hard Can It Be?" by Allison Pearson My Thoughts.... Well how 'How Hard Can It Be" for Kate Reddy who is close to her 50th birthday? Let's see just what all she has before her: having to lie about her age as she is returning to the workforce due to the fact that her husband [Richard] is out there where he has distant [self-centered], into self help books and bike riding [midlife crisis]. Along with this Kate's daughter has gone on internet and posted a 'inappropriate photos' of herself, then we go on to aging parents [his parents and her mom] and lastly having to deal with menopause. So, just from all of this the reader can see that a lots has been thrown on Kate. Oh, I don't want to forget to add more to Kate's woes, a person [Jack Abelhammer] from her past has come into the scene so what will that bring to this story? So, will this story be a 'recipe for disaster, laughs and some heartwarming moment? "How Hard Can It Be?" was quite a engaging, poignant read where a lots of what Kate Reddy had to go through was very relatable for many who have tackled many of these issues. I thought this novel was a good read that was not only well written, , clever and yes very real' that I would recommend as a good read.
How Hard Can It Be? Is the second book in Alison Pearson’s Kate Reddy series. I haven’t read the first book, I Don’t Know How She Does It, and I had no problem diving right into How Hard Can It Be?; this book can definitely be read as a standalone novel. I say novel, but it had so, so many truths in it for me. At times, I thought I was reading my biography! Whether your next significant birthday is 30, 40, or 50, you’ll appreciate Kate Reddy’s take on life and all of its inconveniences. Her teenagers’ issues may not be exactly what you or your children experienced, but their problems are universal enough that everyone can relate to them. If that isn’t enough fodder for sarcastic satire, Kate Reddy’s husband is out of work and possibly having a midlife crisis. He chooses a major shift in careers, and that requires Kate to return to the workforce and become the primary breadwinner. No problem, she was brilliant and successful pre-children, so how hard could it be to do it again? In a rather light-hearted way, Ms. Pearson presents a wide range of issues that middle-aged women are truly dealing with. Lest you think the author has haphazardly thrown in the kitchen sink, I felt that Kate Reddy’s challenges were incredibly realistic. Trying to do it all, make everyone happy, putting your needs last, and constantly feeling like you just can’t catch a break sounds a lot like daily life to many a working mom or over-achieving-used-to-work mom. When growing up, my mother read Erma Bombeck. Her hilarious take on life and parenting was fun, sweet, and sentimental. Reading Ms. Pearson’s version of life and parenting reminded me of my mother’s affinity for Ms. Bombeck’s books. Ms. Pearson’s book hit home for me. I enjoyed her humorous take on the daily challenges of the sandwich generation. 4.5 stars
3.5 stars Kate Reddy's husband is having a midlife crisis which puts the pressure on her to return to the workforce after spending years away raising her children. She knows she is facing an uphill battle finding a job given the fact she is almost 50 and companies typically shy away from older applicants. With a distant husband, teenagers acting like teenagers, in-laws in poor health, and an old flame reentering her life, Kate has a lot on her plate. But hey, how hard can it be? This is the second book in a series featuring Kate Reddy. Normally, I don't find it too difficult to jump into the middle of a series but in this case I wish I had read the previous book first. It took me a long time to warm up to Kate and feel invested in her story line. However, eventually the story seemed to pick up and it turned out to be a pretty decent book about a woman dealing with motherhood, going back to the workplace, and relationships. I won a free copy of this book in a giveaway but was under no obligation to post a review. All views expressed are my honest opinion.
Kate Reddy is approaching 50. Her husband, Rich, has lost his job and spends his time taking “mindfulness" classes and riding his expensive bike for miles. He is rarely at home and takes on no responsibility. In addition, their sex life has become totally nonexistant. They have two teenage kids, Emily and Ben. For years, Kate had started and run a successful financial investment firm until she decided some seven years ago to leave it all behind to focus on her family. Now, with Rich out of work, she needs to get a job. She takes a course to help her prepare her CV for returning to work where she makes some good friends. The biggest thing she knows she has against her is her age, so she says she is 42 instead of 49. She has also worked hard to try and diet to get back into shape. She applies at the very firm where she previously worked which is now staffed by a number of fresh-out-of-college people. She tries to downplay her knowledge somewhat but also proves that she knows her stuff. Shortly, after starting back, she hears from Jack, a guy she met not long before she quit work. He is an American, hot, and rich. But, she pushed all that aside to be at home. At home, she has a large, old house that is constantly in need of repair. Her kids are typical teenagers who push her every button. She is also worried about her mother who lives alone and her husband’s aging parents. We see Kate handle all the awful things that the pre-menopausal time of life can bring. She is juggling so many things that it’s almost impossible to keep up with it all. There are lots of laughs and some tears as the reader nods their head in understanding of what Kate is going through. So, when Jack pops back into her life, will she be able to push him away a second time? This is a great book. I had a difficult time getting into it, but it really began to grow on me. I did not read the author’s first book about Kate Reddy. so I’m sure this can easily serve as a stand-alone novel. Copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
"How Hard Can It Be?" follows Kate Reddy as she nears 50 years of age. She is managing a bunch of moving pieces including her extended family, immediate family, and all the fun of almost being 50- oh yeah, and trying to land a job after being out of the field to take care of her children. It's not easy to deal with her husband's midlife crisis or her daughter's puberty. Against all obstacles flying her way, Kate handles it all with compassion and humor. The book begins with her daughter's crisis over a belfie (selfie of her rear) that has been shared around the internet by a "friend" and continues on in this vein of unpleasant events that are handled with humor. I actually found the book to be a bit dark and sad- Kate's life isn't easy and it feels wrong to laugh at some of it (like all the jokes about therapy, which is something needed for many people, not to mention the explicit photograph of her daughter going around on the internet). I will say that some lines made me laugh out loud and some of it in so incredibly relatable- Kate is very real and very three-dimensional. I just found it a little more of a downer than I expected. Please note that I received an ARC from the publisher. All opinions are my own.
Can it Be?” by Allison Pearson St. Martin’s Press June 5, 2018 “How Hard Can it Be” by Allison Pearson is the book that follows the bestselling book by Allison Pearson “I Don’t Know How She Does It”. This can be read as a stand alone. The genres for this book are Fiction, and Women’s Fiction. This novel also has some humorous parts, and some parts where you want to laugh and cry at the same time. The colorful cast of characters are complex and complicated. In this sequel, it is seven years later and Kate Reddy is now a “Returner”. Kate is approaching fifty, and has to re-enter the job market. She is in the sandwich generation, with teenage children, and parents that are needy. Kate’s husband is going through some kind of mid-live crisis, after losing his job, and trying to find himself. Kudos to Allison Pearson for discussing such contemporary subjects as abuse of the media for teenagers, Alzheimers, menopause and other related female issues, being part of the sandwich generation, peer pressure and cutting, mid-life crisis, inequality in the workplace between men and women, and problems with youth and aging. The author mentions the importance of self- worth, growth, family support, love and hope, forgiveness and acceptance. I would highly recommend this intriguing and captivating novel for readers of Women’s Fiction. I received an ARC from NetGalley for my honest review. Edit
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