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Tuesday, July 3, 2018

How Hard Can It Be? by Allison Peasron

Title:  How Hard Can It Be?
Author: Allison Pearson
Publisher: 5th June 2018 by St Martin’s Press
Pages: 352 pages
How I Read It: ARC book
Genre: women’s fiction
My Rating: 4 crowns

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?
My Thoughts

‘Here I am, at half-time. At best, fifty is half-time, isn’t it? And the need to feel alive, to be reminded one is still alive, not merely chauffeuring one’s kids to their own lives, is suddenly intense.’

How Hard Can It Be? (Kate Reddy, #2)  is a sequel to I Don't Know How She Does It (Kate Reddy, #1 - there is even a film of it with Sarah Jessica Parker). Having not read the first book, I was not at any disadvantage as the current story can very much be read as a standalone. If you are a woman who has experienced any of the following - marriage, bringing up kids, have aging parents whilst trying to hold down a job - then this is the book for you. If you are in your 40s, maybe approaching 50, then go grab your copy now!

‘So yesterday, I Googled “Perimenopause.” If you’re thinking of doing it, one word of advice. Don’t.’

Allison Pearson has most definitely written a book for what she calls the ‘sandwich’ generation - she totally gets what many of us are trying to get through day in, day out. The main female leads story will be one that is all too familiar to many of us, juggling so many things and trying to keep everyone happy whilst trying to assess exactly where you are personally with such a milestone as 50 years approaching. Pearson will have you laughing, crying and nodding your head in agreement; with a perfect mix of comedy and drama where everything from teenage hormones, to ‘Perry’ perimenopause, to partner’s midlife crisis and parent senility will confront you. Laugh or cry, you will easily recognise the challenges and conflicts faced by the most engaging characters.

‘Once, when my phone flipped to selfie mode and I found myself looking at my own face, I recoiled. It was unnatural.’

Underlying it all, truthfully speaking, is a study of some serious contemporary issues. Yes, they may be dealt with in a light fashion given the nature of the read, however, there is always that element of truth even in the joking. eg. infidelity, social media sharing, online bullying, aging and medical conditions tied together with openness, honesty and truth. The one thing I did not like was the appalling way Kate’s children spoke and treated her - should not be okay in anyone’s book, really.

‘Take away a teenager’s phone and you remove the threat of dangers which are invisible to the maternal eye, plus the constant pressure on a girl to peacock herself for the peer group, then get crushed when she doesn’t get enough Likes. Unfortunately, you also take away their life, or the only part of their life they care about.’

So, if you are a female of the ‘sandwich’ generation and would like to take a break and have a few laughs (or commiserations) then this is a most worthwhile read.

‘As the plane begins its descent, the thought still isn’t quite formed. Something like, if I have to save everyone else, I need to start by saving myself first. How hard can it be?’

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The quoted material may have changed in the final release

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