Tuesday, 1 November 2011
A Review of a book that is not new: I don't know how she does it by Allison Pearson
I recently had a bibliotherapy session (via the The School of Life) which was very enlightening. Via the process of writing about my favourite books and thinking about books that have made an impression on my life- and those that haven't- I realised several things. Firstly that I have a terrible habit of loving one book by a writer and then being scared that the next one won't be so good and not reading anymore (unless they are George Orwell who I trust absolutely). Secondly that I don't tend to read the current 'thing' and thirdly that when I read the current 'thing' a few years later I tend to like it.
So I come to I don't know how she does it. A book I had never read- partly because I avoid pink covers (which I also realised I should not) and partly because I am not a working Mother of two and didn't necessarily think I would relate.
I was completely wrong, I really liked the character of Kate Reddy. As I say I am not married, do not have children and do not run a house but I completely relate to the feeling of being exhausted, not quite doing everything properly and also the need and want to make a wage. As I say although Kate was more successful than I am in terms of her career and arguable her personal life she seemed like friend not foe. I particularly liked the affirmation that she wanted to be a successful woman partly to give her daughter an example but also for herself.
Now of course success doesn't have to mean being in the boardroom and Kate goes on a journey in the book that I think is quite realistic- because you can't have it all. In the film I think the journey is far less believable, it would be wonderful if we really could be amazing at our careers and work 9-5 with a lunch break and time to have our hair done and go to sports days but it doesn't happen on my planet. More and more as I get older I think it is going to extremely difficult for women to have a career and a family and do both well- it's difficult for men too, of course, but not as difficult.
On that subject I loved that the men in Kate's life were real and well drawn. There is the standard city idiot but also a boss who makes the right decisions for his company and member of staff in the end. Her husband is a great man but he's not perfect because no one is- and her business partner is also an interesting and believable person.
So if like me you sometimes live under a rock when it comes to best sellers and if like me you sometimes wonder how on earth we might approach being women today then I actually recommend this book- it's light but it's good, it became my great friend.
Finally I wondered, as I always do, what perfume Kate Reddy might wear- because busy as she is I think Kate would find time to spritz- I decided she would wear Coco Chanel- classic, proper and improper, seductive but ok with a suit- a perfume for all occasions which she needs and a perfume you dream of owning when you're young.