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Download I Don't Know How She Does It: The Life of Kate Reddy, Working Mother Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample I Dont Know How She Does It: The Life of Kate Reddy, Working Mother Audiobook, by Allison Pearson Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (10,466 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Allison Pearson Narrator: Emma Fielding Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: October 2002 ISBN: 9780739301739
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For every woman trying to strike that impossible balance between work and home—and pretending that she has—and for every woman who has wanted to hurl the acquaintance who coos admiringly, “Honestly, I just don’t know how you do it,” out a window, here’s a novel to make you cringe with recognition and laugh out loud. With fierce, unsentimental irony, Allison Pearson’s novel brilliantly dramatizes the dilemma of working motherhood at the start of the twenty-first century.

Meet Kate Reddy, hedge-fund manager and mother of two. She can juggle nine different currencies in five different time zones and get herself and two children washed and dressed and out of the house in half an hour. In Kate’s life, Everything Goes Perfectly as long as Everything Goes Perfectly. She lies to her own mother about how much time she spends with her kids; practices pelvic floor squeezes in the boardroom; applies tips from Toddler Taming to soothe her irascible boss; uses her cell phone in the office bathroom to procure a hamster for her daughter’s birthday (“Any working mother who says she doesn’t bribe her kids can add Liar to her résumé”); and cries into the laundry hamper when she misses her children’s bedtime.

In a novel that is at once uproariously funny and achingly sad, Allison Pearson captures the guilty secret lives of working women—the self-recrimination, the comic deceptions, the giddy exhaustion, the despair—as no other writer has. Kate Reddy’s conflict—how are we meant to pass our days? How are we to reconcile the two passions, work and motherhood, that divide our lives?—gets at the private absurdities of working motherhood as only a novel could: with humor, drama, and bracing wisdom.

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Quotes & Awards

  • If you could buy stock in a book, I would stake all my savings on the success of Allison Pearson's new novel, I Don't Know How She Does It. Here, at last, is the definitive social comedy of working motherhood. Marjorie Williams, Washinton Post
  • A sparkling novel about juggling marriage, kids, and job (and getting some sleep) . . . Nearly every female lucky enough to have both a child and a byline . . . has strip-mined Pearson's theme: how to squeeze babies, marriage and a high-powered job into a day that cannot be stretched beyond 24 hours. But Pearson's Kate, a brisk, sardonic, loving world beater, has made it all fresh again. Margaret Carlson, Time
  • . . . Heartbreaking . . . Anyone who has pumped breast milk in the back of a taxi, or wept quietly into the laundry hamper after arriving home too late for a good-night kiss, will recognize herself in this sharply observed, sometimes painfully sad story about the sordid disparity between the ideal and the reality of 'having it all.' Kate Betts, New York Times Book Review
  • What makes [Kate's] tale such a hoot are the spot-on details that crowd her life and her brain–and will be familiar to any woman who's ever tried to dress a squirming toddler while calling the office to explain why she's late . . . Pearson has an effortlessly smart style . . . I don't know a man on the planet who would get this book–or a woman who wouldn't. Cathleen McGuigan, Newsweek
  • The fraught lives of modern women, especially those with children, is a classic theme of the age…But Pearson's book is refreshingly engaging because of the high quality of the prose and her uncanny ability to move from farce to pathos in the course of a single paragraph. Sarah Lyall, Vogue
  • One of the 2002 New York Times Book Review 100 Notable Books for Fiction

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jelaine | 2/15/2014

    " funny read for the working mother. sometimes I think that we all wonder how WE do it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nicolas Shump | 2/13/2014

    " Bridget Jones if she were married and had a child. Funny, poignant and well-written. I taught this in an intro American Studies class and the students responded well to it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tinker | 2/10/2014

    " This is not just the anthem for working mom's but women in every situation ! Right on! "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Emily | 2/2/2014

    " I found Kate annoying. I think juggling a family, a career, and a social life is one of the hardest things to do but I know plenty of men and women who do it successfully. Unfortunately, Kate sacrificed her marriage and her kids for her job (not so successfully juggling.) She barely has time to talk to her husband but can find time for an affair? Gross. I think the author tried to portray Kate as a feminist but failed miserably. Feminists don't have to hate men and blame all of their shortcomings on them which is what Kate was constantly doing. I wasn't a huge fan of the movie but it was actually better than the man-hater of a book that this is. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Missy Stelmach | 1/20/2014

    " Just in time for the movie! :) "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 P | 1/10/2014

    " not so great....how this woman stays married and stays employed is beyond me...but I've yet to finish this little ditty that reminds me (in format especially) of Bridget Jones. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Clare218 | 12/11/2013

    " Good, but rather depressing to read as someone who wants to work and be a mom. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Julie Jones | 12/6/2013

    " This book made me seriously think about my plans to work full-time while having children - is it unrealistic? This book, while often depressing and anxiety ridden, gave me much to think about and made numerous good points about motherhood, marriage, and life in general. Maybe I should've read this in ten years and not now while I am still optimistic about being able to do it all. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Courtney Sieloff | 11/30/2013

    " It started out scary for this currently preggers reader, but the ending was a bit of a bummer. It's probably more realistic than am ending in which the working mom can have it all, but I think I'd rather believe that it's possible and read books that will help me agree with that fantasy. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sarah Cunningham | 11/16/2013

    " Read this many, many years ago. It was funny, and in a way, relatable. Thought my life might follow a similar path. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Ana | 4/23/2013

    " This was supposed to be my "fun" book after reading A Thousand Splendid Suns. It started off fun and light but then ended up more serious and less funny by the middle. Really struggled to get to the end as I feel it got a bit preachy. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Heather | 11/29/2012

    " This book exhausted me just reading it. No wonder it took me so long to read it. Just reading the life of Katy Reddy was exhausting. Sheesh..... I really dont know how she does it ; ) "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nancy | 11/12/2012

    " felt like someone had taped the running monologue in my head. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Vicki Chen | 10/19/2012

    " Really not very thrilling. Good enough to finish, but may be because it's an easy read ... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Maggie | 5/2/2012

    " Great fun with a rather obvious message. Read this when it was first released, before it became 'famous' and have kept it to re read. Will be interesting to see how I feel about it now. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Stefanie | 3/17/2012

    " Laughed out loud a lot but overall the plot felt kind of disjointed and the ending seemed like a rush job. I'm curious to see how they'll adapt this book for the movie. I just can't see Sarah J. Parker doing anything other than Carrie, which is unlike the main character of this novel. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Beth Pratt | 3/11/2012

    " It's hard to pick a rating for this one, because the first 285 pages of this book repeatedly made me want to throw it across the room, but the last 50 pages were great. The writing was very good, with lots of pithy sayings and clever turns of phrase. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Maegan Blackwell | 2/25/2012

    " Another great Chick Lit read from Jasmin. The dilemma of the working mother and finding balance in her life. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Gretchen | 11/20/2011

    " I had a hard time getting this book to stick at first, it gets good about halfway through, then I couldn't put it down. Maybe it was just the british thing, glad the movie wasn't british, no offense, movie was just ok, too. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Melanie | 10/30/2011

    " read it before, since the movie is out I thought I would indulge in a chick book..it's not my favorite. Perhaps the movie will be better? "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Karen | 9/5/2011

    " Short review, not as good as I had hoped. Pushed my way through some if it. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Molly | 8/16/2011

    " She doesn't "do it,"....life. She misses her whole life with her family while at her job. This book was frustrating for me to read. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Marie | 7/27/2011

    " I had to force myself to finish this book. I might try again now that I'm a mom. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Luci | 6/28/2011

    " At first I was laughing out loud and thought I had stumbled into a real gem. . . then it got to be too much and I was actually depressed by Kate's life and marital problems.
    "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lori | 6/25/2011

    " not as good as i think i love you but very enjoyable "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Ari | 5/31/2011

    " I couldn't finish this one. It made me feel alternately stressed out about my own to-do list and job, and guilty for working at all. *spoiler alert* When she started having the affair that did me in. I actually still want to see the movie, but I wasn't going to waste precious reading time. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Carolyn | 5/31/2011

    " Gave me a headache to read! She was so darn busy, it was hard to keep up with her in the book. I will be seeing the movie, still though. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Allison | 5/20/2011

    " A sad tribute to working mothers. Pathetic. Some mildly humorous parts were the only redeeming feature of this book. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Rebecca | 5/18/2011

    " Wish there was a try to read button...After hearing the author on NPR I thought I would really enjoy this book. However, only 25 pages in all that registered was blah, blah, blah, blah. What a disappointment. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Natasha | 5/10/2011

    " a good read, but a little sexist towards both men and women in different ways. "

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About the Author
Author Allison Pearson

Allison Pearson, an award-winning journalist and author, is a staff writer for the London Daily Telegraph. Her first novel, I Don’t Know How She Does It, became an international bestseller and was made into a movie starring Sarah Jessica Parker. Pearson is a patron of Camfed, a charity that supports the education of thousands of African girls. She lives in Cambridge with her husband and their two children.

About the Narrator

Emma Fielding has narrated numerous audiobooks and earned two AudioFile Earphones Awards. She is an award-winning actress who has appeared in numerous television shows, films, and plays. A graduate of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, she has worked for the Royal National Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company. She has also appeared on Broadway, in Private Lives, and in the West End, in Rock ’n’ Roll.