Book Review: How Hard Can It Be? by Allison Pearson

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Publish Date: June 5, 2018

Age is something that doesn’t matter, unless you are a cheese.  – Luis Bunuel

I received an advance copy of this book from St. Martin’s Press through NetGalley. 

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I Don’t Know How She Does It introduced Kate Reddy, a woman as sharp as she was funny. As Oprah Winfrey put it, Kate’s story became “the national anthem for working mothers.”

Seven years later, Kate Reddy is facing her 50th birthday. Her children have turned into impossible teenagers; her mother and in-laws are in precarious health; and her husband is having a midlife crisis that leaves her desperate to restart her career after years away from the workplace.

Will Kate reclaim her rightful place at the very hedge fund she founded, or will she strangle in her new “shaping” underwear? Will she rekindle an old flame, or will her house burn to the ground when a rowdy mob shows up for her daughter’s surprise (to her parents) Christmas party? Surely it will all work out in the end. After all, how hard can it be?Hard 3

How Hard Can It Be? is the sequel to I Don’t Know How She Does It. I read the first book when I went back to work after I had my first child and it was like therapy for me. Everything that Kate Reddy faced in that first book was exactly what I was thinking and feeling. I was so excited to read this book – I was thinking that it would be a perfect match for me the second time around.

In How Hard Can It Be?, we join Kate as she reenters the workforce and her kids are teenagers. Kate represents modern motherhood – trying to juggle it all without losing her mind – which is also very relatable for me because I am a working mom with teens.

Allison Pearson brings humor and thoughtful insights into this very funny book about mid-life disasters, long term marriage, angsty teens, social media, re-entering the workforce, parental senility, and fighting the aging process.

Age is a case of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it don’t matter.” – Satchel Paige

There are so many relatable and hilarious moments in this book! It’s uncanny how accurately this reflects real life situations and feelings, like –

Long-term marriage challenges. Kate and Richard have been married for 17+ years and the heat is gone, baby. Couples can easily slip into this pattern of a stale marriage if they don’t work to keep the romance up.

Work issues. Kate’s new job and dealing with a younger workforce are definitely real.

Raising teens in the social media age. I learned what a belfie is, and how a belfie can go viral!

Aging. Kate’s trials and tribulation with perimenopausal aging made me laugh out loud… and educated me. The author definitely has experienced this firsthand and understands the challenges of women in the aging process.

The writing was so British that I could practically hear the charming Brit accent as I read this book. It was so lovely.

But…. the book didn’t work for me completely. All of the male characters in the book were portrayed in a very bad light with hardly any redeeming qualities. That might have been intentional, but I didn’t like that.

There were many funny moments and I enjoyed those, but the book lacked the ability to engage me consistently. It dragged in between the humorous parts. The pace was so up and down for me – alternating between funny and boring for the entire book. The boring parts literally put me to sleep. The book is 480 pages and I think that it could have been 100 pages less.

I think that women audiences in their fifties will really enjoy this story and will relate to it. Younger women get a sneak peak into the life that awaits them in their middle age.

My rating: 3 of 5 stars 3 Stars

Even though this book wasn’t a great fit for me, it’s perfect for someone wanting to pass the time with a light, funny, and entertaining book.

This quote sums up this book perfectly:

“Just remember, once you’re over the hill you begin to pick up speed.” – Arthur Schopenhauer

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