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 21st 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.