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Kate Reddy #2

How Hard Can It Be?

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Few sequels beat the original, but How Hard Can It Be? does so hands down.

Kate Reddy's comeback as a pushing-50 "Returner,” re-entering the workforce after a spell on the mommy track, is zesty, razor-sharp, and hilarious. With a robust absence of self-pity, she has defined the humiliating onset of "invisibility" that coincides with the onrushing pressures of parents, teenage kids, and a marriage gone flat, all while attempting to reinstate her perilous professional worth. It’s full of such quotable casual profundity on the female condition I couldn't read it without a pencil to underline the abundance of great lines. Get ready for Kate!” —Tina Brown

Allison Pearson's brilliant debut novel, I Don't Know How She Does It, was a New York Times bestseller with four million copies sold around the world. Called "the definitive social comedy of working motherhood" (The Washington Post) and "a hysterical look―in both the laughing and crying senses of the world―at the life of Supermom" (The New York Times), 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. Once again, Kate is scrambling to keep all the balls in the air in a juggling act that an early review from the U.K. Express hailed as "sparkling, funny, and poignant...a triumphant return for Pearson."

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?

352 pages, Hardcover

First published September 18, 2017

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About the author

Allison Pearson

13 books372 followers
Allison Pearson was born in South Wales. An award-winning journalist, she was named Newcomer of the Year at the British Book Awards for her first novel, I Don't Know How She Does It. Allison has written for many magazines and newspapers including the Daily Telegraph, the Independent, the Observer, the Sunday Times and the London Evening Standard. For four years she was the popular Wednesday columnist of the Daily Mail. Allison lives in Cambridge with her family.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,543 reviews
Profile Image for Maureen .
1,441 reviews7,063 followers
September 5, 2017
Kate Reddy is heading towards a significant birthday, and it's a birthday that she's not quite ready to embrace - it's the big 50!

She's living in a large rambling home that requires the constant services of Polish builder Piotr, together with the never ending amount of cash being thrown at it. She has a husband who she's unable to communicate with, two teenage kids who have problems similar to most teens across the Western world, and also ageing parents and all the relevant problems that come with entering the winter of ones lives. On top of all that, she now has to start searching for a job because hubby Rich has decided to opt out of the rat race in order to master the art of mindfulness! Someone has to pay all the bills, but the workplace isn't exactly crying out for women of a certain age, so she'll just have to lie about her forthcoming birthday! Add the menopause into the mix with its debilitating symptoms, and you've got one crazy lady, desperately trying to keep her head above water.

This is a story that will be familiar to many women, the act of juggling so many commitments while trying to hold down a full time job at the same time. For Kate though, it's also about reaching this important milestone and discovering who she really is - who she'd like to be if she wasn't so concerned with making everyone else happy.

Allison Pearson writes with great insight - the characters literally come to life in her hands. It's funny, it's sad, it's delightful, and as a woman it's easy for me to recognise the challenges and conflicts that Kate has to face. Loved it!

*Thank you to Netgalley and HarperCollins UK, HarperFiction for my ARC in exchange for an honest review*
Profile Image for Debra .
2,411 reviews35.2k followers
February 25, 2018
How Hard Can It Be? is a sequel to "I don't know how she does it". I did not read the first book and I did not feel that I was missing anything but not having read that book first. This book worked very well as a standalone novel for me.

Kate Ready is almost 50, she is returning to the workforce and finds herself having to lie about her age to be considered for employment. Her husband is distant and appears to be more into his self-help books and bike riding than he is in her or their marriage. Her daughter has taken an inappropriate picture of herself and it was posted on the internet, she has aging parents and is dealing with the onset of menopause. Kate has a lot going on in this book.

There are some zany moments of Kate getting caught, as in she is stuck and can't get out of it, in her spanx-like underwear and trying to host her daughter's Christmas party but overall the book this book failed to really blow me away. The main character is dealing with just about everything but the kitchen sink in this book, and although some of it feels cliched, the character is in the age range where she would be dealing with aging parents, teenager angst, pre-menopause, juggling a career with raising a family, etc. So, I can't really fault the Author for throwing all of those into this book. A lot of readers will also be able to relate to a lot of the issues brought up in this book. To add to Kate's woes, a man from her past comes into the picture and she feels those long-ago longing stirred up.

This book deals with a lot of issues: how social media can be used in bullying/sharing of inappropriate pictures, infidelity, the aging process, teenage angst, friendship, return to the workforce, and coping with change. This book does deal with some heavy issues but does so in a light manner. That does not mean that this book takes those issues lightly, it just chooses to deal with them in keeping with the characters personalities.

I liked this book, but I didn't love it. I would not go out of my way to recommend it to someone, but at the same time, if I saw someone reading the book, I would most likely say "Oh yeah, I read that. Good book". Good not great. There were parts that I felt went on a little too long. I know there will be readers who will pick up this book and love it, but when there are sections which I just want to skim so I get through them and back to the part of the book which I enjoyed. There were some things I found to be unrealistic in this book such as Kate not telling her husband about their daughter's issues with her picture being distributed on social media. Perhaps this was done to show the distance between them in the relationship, but I found it unrealistic that she would not have told her daughter's father about the incident and how this was impacting their child.

Thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

See more of my reviews at www.openbookpost.com
Profile Image for Melisa.
324 reviews514 followers
June 9, 2018
A rollicking good time!

I’ve never met a book so quotable and hilarious! If I
would have started highlighting while reading, my whole book would be glowing yellow right now.

Kate Reddy is quickly approaching 50 and is dealing with everything that comes with it - trying to re-enter the workforce after years at home, body and memory changes, and family matters that come with children maturing into teenagers.

For those of us who have aged with Bridget Jones, you will appreciate this tale equally.

This is a sequel to I Don’t Know How She Does It (there’s a film with the same title featuring a Sarah Jessica Parker) but it worked great as a stand-alone.

By the way: So glad that I now know what a “belfie” is - that’s one less term me and my old self has to look up in urban dictionary.

A giant thank you to Marissa at St. Martin’s Press for a copy of this book!
Profile Image for Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader.
2,180 reviews30.5k followers
May 28, 2018
4 fun and honest stars to How Hard Can It Be? ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

How Hard Can It Be is the sequel to Allison Pearson’s, I Don’t Know How She Does It, and while I have not read the latter, I felt there was enough backstory and character development here to read this as a standalone. I do plan to read IDKHSDI because it’s been acclaimed as the social comedy of working motherhood, and I already know I enjoy Pearson’s wit.

Kate Reddy is seven years older and about to turn the big 5-0. Her children are now teenagers with teenage baggage, she is now part of the sandwich generation because her mother and in-laws are aging, and her husband has picked this time of excess stress to have a midlife crisis. How in the world will Kate manage it all? The answer is with wry humor.

Kate’s story of juggling all of life’s challenges, especially this newly evolving sandwich generation, and feeling very much alone in doing so, is without question relatable. Kate (and Allison) truly get it, and I felt like giving her a few high fives while reading. Or fist bumps. Or the wave!

If you, too, are part of the sandwich generation, and you are looking for some laughs and commiseration, How Hard Can It Be is worth a read. While it was essentially lighthearted, it was the perfect read that left me with a smile on my face.

Thank you to Allison Pearson and St. Martin’s Press for the print ARC. How Hard Can It Be will be published on June 5, 2018.

My reviews can also be found on my blog: www.jennifertarheelreader.com
Profile Image for Liz.
2,135 reviews2,746 followers
May 6, 2018

Allison Pearson has written an “OMG, yes!” book. As in, she totally gets it. This book, about turning 50 and entering the age of invisibility, hits all the correct notes. It’s a real mix of comedy and drama, between dealing with perimenopause, teenagers, aging parents, a husband seeking to find himself at everyone else’s expense and the need to stay relevant in today’s business world. A book about needing to laugh so you don’t cry.

I have not read the first book in the series and didn’t feel like I was missing out by not having that background.

There are lots of chuckles here. But also lots of serious notes that resonate. Like how life as we know it can change in the blink of an eye, especially if teenagers or aging parents are involved. “We ended up crying with laughter. Only later did I wonder which was greater: the mirth or the tears.” It was as if she had a bird’s eye view on a lot of the things floating around in my brain.

“...each day it gets slightly harder to retrieve the things that I know. Correction. The things that I know that I knew. At forty nine years of age, the tip of my tongue becomes a very crowded place.” Or this...“Today is my seventh session at the gym this week. Even God got to rest on the seventh day, but God was only trying to create the world, not restore a middle-aged female body to a state of battle readiness.” I hate to tell her how bad it’ll be as the years go on!

I highly recommend this book, especially to all the women in the sandwich generation. I will be immediately seeking out Ms. Pearson’s first book.

My Thanks to netgalley and St. Martin’s Press for an advance copy of this book.

Profile Image for Berit Talks Books.
2,024 reviews15.7k followers
June 6, 2018
5 ”50 Is The New 30” Stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Kate! You are absolutely being added to my book BFF list! Not sure when the last time was I read a book with such a relatable character... Kate and I are almost the same age... our kids are about the same age going through the same things as are our parents.... such a wonderful book, filled with laughter, tears, and love...

Kate is quickly heading towards her 50th birthday... she also needs to reenter the workforce, because hubby Rich has decided to take a two year internship... rich seems to be more interested in his bike and mindfulness than Kate and the kids... Kate‘s kids Emily and Ben are typical teenagers dealing with typical teenage angst.... Ben is glued to his electronics never too far from his phone or his video games... Emily is concerned with what everybody else thinks.... and now with social media that adds an entire new level to this age old teenage dilemma.... cannot even tell you how many times I found myself agreeing with Kate‘s many insights on being the parent of a teenager today....
To add to the stress of being the only present parent and main breadwinner Kate is also going through menopause... i’m not quite to this point in my life yet (and if I am I am in complete denial about it) but nothing about it sounds all that fun.... but as Kate does with all aspects of her life she adds a splash of humor to it(Intentional or not) that I just absolutely loved in this book... this book is a sequel, but it absolutely can be read as a standalone, I don’t believe I lost anything having not read the first book... however I plan on eventually reading the first book so I can visit a younger Kate....

Absolutely recommend to women of all ages! Because even knew my friends in your 30s... someday you will be knocking on the door of 50! And the insights and humor in this book are perfect!

*** many thanks to St. Martin’s Press for my copy of this book ***
Profile Image for Holly  B .
849 reviews2,009 followers
April 8, 2018
This one is about Kate, who is about to turn fifty. It starts out with some hilarious scenes of her dealing with her teenage daughter, Emily’s “social media mishap”. I learned what a “belfie” is. Hmm…not sure if that’s helpful, but good to know!

She wants to return to work after being at home and that proves to be quite a hurdle to jump over. Her husband is going through a mid-life crisis of his own and is often seen biking around in lycra.

I enjoyed it for the most part. I felt it was a bit too long (just over 450 pgs.) Too many issues were covered, but without enough depth. I had plenty of laughs throughout the book and some sadness for Kate as she dealt with serious issues that seem to “pop” up in life. This one may have been trying a little “too hard.”
Thanks to St. Martin's Press for my advanced copy.
Profile Image for Kelly (and the Book Boar).
2,478 reviews7,773 followers
June 5, 2018
Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/

How Hard Can It Be? H.A.R.D. No one ever said being a mom was easy, but try being a mom pushing 50 who has been attempting to raise semi-functional humans and finds herself trying to re-enter the workplace thanks to a combination of a giant manchild of a husband who has decided riding his bicycle and taking classes is his new passion rather than going to a paying gig every day and an old “fixer upper” of a house that has morphed into something more like this . . . .

What’s a girl to do? The only thing she can. Blow the dust off her old CV, commit a little bit of white lying by knocking seven years off her age on all of her job applications and invest in some new undergarments . . . . .

Oh Kate, I have something I need to say to you . . . .

If you enjoyed Bridget Jones (well, you know, up to the point where she had some miracle baby at 50+ years old and the thing crapped the bed), this might be for you. I kept thinking this is how Bridget’s life would have turned out if she had married Daniel Cleaver. She would have remained a highly functioning dysfunctional crazyperson – he would have maybe pulled his act together up to the point where he had a midlife crisis and then everything would start to fall apart . . . hilariously. And if nothing else, we could ALL take a little comfort in the fact that . . .

"No matter how old I am, Madonna will always be older than me."

I’m pretty sure this is the summer of the “mom com” for me. I’ve read like three of them in the past couple of weeks and they have each been such a delight. I have not yet read I Don’t Know How She Does It (this book’s predecessor), but didn’t feel like I missed out on anything as this worked perfectly as a standalone. I am happy there’s more by Allison Pearson, however, because apparently smiling is now my favorite (well, and porn and stabby stuff, but whodathunk I’d like all this mommy shit, right?).

Many thanks to St. Martin’s Press for providing an advanced copy in exchange for my honest review.
Profile Image for Stacey.
881 reviews161 followers
June 5, 2018
Bloody brilliant! In 2002 Allison Pearson wrote I Don’t Know How She Does It and introduced Kate Reddy. A working mother with young children. I loved it so much because Kate Reddy was me. I identified with everything.

16 years later Kate Reddy is back! She is funny with a snappy wit. The kids are older and she has taken seven years off of work to care for them and aging parents and in laws. She and her husband, Rich have bought a house that needs a lot more fixing up than they realized. Rich is not working. He invests most of his time in biking, meditating, and going to counseling. He’s a douchebag. Bills are piling up so it’s up to Kate to get back to work. She is looking at her 50th birthday soon and isn’t confident about entering the workforce again.

If you’ve ever gone back to work after taking time off, for whatever reason, you’ll identify with the fears and obstacles that Kate faces. I laughed a lot and teared up at the end and as a parent when we can’t shield our kids from every kind of hurt, especially the kind we know little about as our kids dive in head first into the social media shark infested waters.

Thank you, NetGalley, St. Martin’s Press, and Allison Pearson for the opportunity to read an advanced copy.
Profile Image for Victoria.
412 reviews327 followers
September 9, 2018
Bridget Jones for the menopausal, married and harried.

“What are the words you’d use to describe the fact that women take care of the young and the old, year in, year out, and none of that work counts as skills or experience or even work? Because women are doing it for free it is literally worthless.”

A bit predictable and a tad long, but still relevant and often hilarious. Kate’s inner thoughts are zingers and I read on just to see what predicament she would get up to next. There is a scene in a bathroom during a presentation to a Russian oligarch that is as priceless as it is cringe inducing.

This book is for those women whose children find them annoying, whose husbands take them for granted, who feel their best years are behind them and whose workplace is filled with bros with more hair gel than acumen, but who forge on because what other choice is there? In other words…something for every woman.

It was a fun ride and as opposed to other lighter reads, the writing was pretty spiffy and I may actually remember some of this a year from now. Kate is a character I really enjoyed getting to know. How she faced seismic shifts in her life as she neared her fiftieth birthday, her feelings about her relevancy as a middle-aged woman and her penchant for saying or doing the wrong thing at the wrong time made for some thought-provoking reading in a genre that is often lacking in introspection.

This is 3.5 stars bumped up to 4 for elevating a women’s fiction title from the trite to the true and making me giggle along the way.
Profile Image for Mary.
1,563 reviews507 followers
June 7, 2018
⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 / 5 rounded up.

So, I have a confession to make. I didn't realize How Hard Can It Be? by Allison Pearson was a sequel to I Don't Know How She Does It when I started reading it. BUT, I don't think that mattered all that much.

I really hope this book becomes a movie starring SJP. I loved the movie I Don't Know How She Does It and I think this book would also make a great movie (maybe even a better movie than a book??). This book does seem like a good standalone, but maybe I shouldn't have watched the movie of the first book before I read this. The book and the movie of I Don't Know How She Does It definitely don't seem to match completely (from what I gathered from this book), so maybe don't watch the movie adaptation before reading this expecting it will make things more clear. I think it actually made things more confusing for me. Example: In the movie Kate only has eyes for her husband and no interest at all for Jack Abelhammer (who I literally can only picture as Pierce Brosnan now), but in this book it sounds like they were in love?? Very confusing.

How Hard Can It Be? expands upon the life of Kate Reddy who is now approaching the big 5-0. She needs to go back to work because her husband decides to take 2 years out of the workforce to train to become a counselor. Noble? Maybe, but he is no help to Kate financially or otherwise. Lets just say he won't be winning any husband or father of the year awards any time soon. Kate is dealing with hitting 50 soon, trying to find a job where everyone seems to be discriminating against her age and the time she took off to spend with her kids. Plus she is dealing with problems with her kids, her husband Richard's parents, her mom, her sister, and other random issues.

I think this book could have been a lot funnier than it ended up being. I thought it would make me laugh quite a bit, but there were only a few instances where I thought anything was particularly funny. I did love the short chapters though, and the fact that Kate calls her memory "Roy." All I could picture was this little old man shuffling around in her head finding her memories. She would often talk to "Roy" as well which was pretty funny.

How Hard Can It Be? was a little disappointing to me because the premise seemed better than the execution. But that was mostly because I was expecting lots of laughs, which I unfortunately didn't really get. I also think the book was a bit too long. I think it could have easily been around 300 pages and would have been perfect.

Final Thought: I think that lovers of (the book) I Don't Know How She Does It will be happy with how this one turns out. I do like Kate as a character and I thought there were a few very loveable characters in this book. Some of the lingo was a little confusing, but nothing I couldn't handle. I think this book would be much better in movie form though so I hope that happens. How Hard Can It Be? is a funny, interesting look at sexism/ageism in the workplace, turning 50, and dealing with everything life can throw at you.

How Hard Can It Be? in 3-ish words: Sweet, Honest, Insightful
Profile Image for Diane in Australia.
668 reviews791 followers
March 29, 2018
I don't normally read fiction, so, obviously, I am not in the target audience for this book, but I won this in a Goodreads Giveaway, so, here goes.

I felt it was just a piece of fluff. Kate is nearing her 50th birthday, and the book is built around watching her try to keep 'all her balls in the air'. It felt like the storyline just skated over the thinnest surface of each issue facing her. Not really any depth.

As an intelligent woman, Kate seems to have blinders on regarding the disturbing behaviour of her hubby, and daughter.

If you like fiction without much depth, just fluff, you'll probably enjoy this. If you prefer nonfiction, you may find it all a bit too fluffy, and be disappointed.

2 Stars = Blah. It didn't do anything for me.
Profile Image for Kristy.
1,068 reviews150 followers
June 16, 2018
Things have taken a bit of a turn for Kate Reddy--she's nearing 50, her husband has lost his job and spends most of his time cycling, and her kids are busy teenagers. With Richard out of work, Kate has to return to work. However, she finds that the financial community isn't welcoming to a woman on the cusp of fifty. When Kate decides to pretend she's seven years younger to enter the working world, she winds up working at the hedge fund she originally started. Once back at work, though, she finds herself overwhelmed dealing with everything: the unhelpful husband, the ungrateful kids, the demanding colleagues, and an unexpected appearance from an old flame.

This was a tough one for me. It was a slow read, although in its defense, I read it during a very busy time at work. I empathized with Kate's return to working motherhood--especially juggling kids and work and dealing with a male-driven workplace. I didn't enjoy the intense focus on how old Kate was, making her seem nearly decrepit at fifty. It's one thing to deal with turning the big 5-0 and its ramifications, but its another to make it seem like it's the end of the world. Even worse, while Kate could seem so strong in the workplace, she was such a pushover with her children. She was supposedly clueless with technology, unable to keep up with their exploits, and a complete doormat. (I also couldn't handle the endless endearments she used with her kids--there's only so many "sweeties" and "darlings" I can take.)

There are certainly humorous moments in the novel. This is a sequel to Pearson's first novel featuring Reddy and the parts I enjoyed here were the parts I liked about the first one: Kate's wit, her ability to take on the "big boys" at her fund, and the snippets of emails between her and her friend, Candy. There were definitely pieces of the novel that I found myself nodding along with--her moments of anxiety; her rants about how working moms are treated; some insights into kids and the social media era, etc. And Kate certainly doesn't have an easy go of it, with her clueless husband, helpless kids, crumbling house, aging parents, and stressful job.

That being said, I could see most of the plot twists coming a mile away, and you couldn't help but get frustrated that Kate couldn't see them too. Overall, while I found parts of this novel funny, refreshing, and quite apropos, I couldn't really get over Kate's obsession with her looks or her one-sided relationship with her children. In the end, 3.5 stars, probably bumped up a bit for a little Kate Reddy nostalgia.

I received a copy of this novel from the publisher and Netgalley in return for an unbiased review (thank you!).

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Profile Image for Joanne Robertson.
1,363 reviews556 followers
January 5, 2018
OMG I loved Kate Reddy the first time around but this time she really has become my absolute idol! I adored I Don’t Know How She Does It (NOT THE FILM! STAY WELL AWAY FROM THAT ONE!) and that iconic scene with the mince pies has always stayed with me. I can verify from personal experience that it was a very realistic reflection of the busy working mum. I once spent 6 months avoiding recipe requests for the “best brownies anyone had ever tasted” when I made them for the girls school Christmas Fair one year, unable to admit I had used a box mix from Costco! I think Kate spoke for a generation of stressed out mothers who were trying to prove that they could be all things to all people as an antithesis to that singleton life promoted by the Bridget Jones brigade. So I was delighted to see that Kate was coming back as an older, menopausal version of herself, her validity reflecting back at me as I also enter that particular phase of my own life, although Kate has yet to become a grandmother like me! Maybe there’s another book there for the future in fifteen years time!

Allison Pearson was able to bring out many conflicting emotions in me throughout How Hard Can It Be. I was mostly belly laughing out loud but just as quickly I would feel like bursting into tears with the poignant observations of a woman struggling to balance being one of the “sandwich generation”. Caring for elderly parents from both sides of the family whilst still having children is now much more common than it used to be and women are facing a pressure that can build up to a possible breakdown at a time when, once again, they have to be all things to all people. And they have to do this whilst facing the biological changes and stresses that come with middle age as they approach menopause. As Kate Reddy was born in the same year as me, I was able to relate to her character with much affection and understanding. I empathised completely with her life choices and the situations she found herself in whilst finding myself mentally cheering her along to the happy ending she deserved! And having tried to find employment recently myself at the grand old age of 52, I am used to being an “over qualified” candidate! Over qualified……..or “over the hill”?!

There were some very relevant observations here, revealed with an indulgent humour that captivates the reader from the very first page. I worshipped at the alter of the fabulous Kate before and I did so again here. I plan to re-read this one again in the near future as I loved it that much! It has shot straight onto my favourite books of 2017 so comes highly recommended by me!
Profile Image for Barbara**catching up!.
1,391 reviews806 followers
July 15, 2018
I didn’t read “I Don’t Know How She Does It”, and I didn’t realize that “How Hard Can it Be?” is an offshoot of the same characters, seven years later. That said, “How Hard Can it Be” could be read without reading “I Don’t Know How She Does It”.

Kate Reddy is a 49 and counting year old woman who has been out of the work force for years. Her husband gets laid off from his architecture job and decides that he wants to find himself and live in the here and now. Kate realizes she needs to gain professional employment to keep the family financially afloat. While Kate works to find employment, her husband checks out of total family responsibility, deciding he needs to bike and go to classes to find himself. They have two teenage children, a son Ben who spends 95% of his time playing computer games and a daughter Emily who opens the story with the drama of taking a cell phone picture of her tan line, that unintentionally also exposes her buttocks. This “belfie” which is a selfie of ones buttocks goes viral thanks to a friend.

Kate narrates the story and she speaks my language. I LOVED this novel. Poor Kate is going through menopause and suffering from all the menopausal afflictions. All women who are of that age will find Kate’s character hilariously funny. Kate, whose memory seems to be the most afflicted, almost is a character in itself. Kate names her memory Roy, and begs Roy throughout the book to give her the information she needs. As in life, Roy may provide the information that seemed to be at the tip of Kate’s tongue, but generally it’s a day or week late. Sound familiar?

Author Allison Pearson gives voice to women who attempt to juggle family and work. She gives voice to women going through menopause while running a family. This is a delightful read in that Pearson allows Kate to get into messes, but finds her way out. It’s a humorous look on the foils of midlife. It’s chick-lit for the soul. I highly recommend it for those in the throws of midlife, just trying to be a good Mom and wife.
Profile Image for Susan Kennedy.
271 reviews9 followers
May 27, 2018
This was a good book. I really enjoyed it and sadly, related to a lot of it. With menopause looming in the near future, it was really fun to have her perspective on menopause and reaching fifty years of age. And then with the unhappy marriage and the teenagers to deal with as well, I found myself laughing and wanting to cry all the way through.

I wasn't sure going in what I would think of this story. I laughed a whole lot through it and it was like I was one of her named nuances just along for the ride. It was humorous and touching, it was completely relative for anyone coming up on that looming age of fifty. She is forth coming with her fears and the struggles of being a woman and coming up on fifty when so many in society think it is all down hill for us now. She brings up fears that seem so irrational, but are so uncontrollable. You think, I never had anything like this when I was younger, what the heck is going on? I think its just getting older.

The failed marriage was almost like looking back at myself and the one true love a world away. Hers was in America; mine was in Australia. Now he's here with me and life is grand. The teenagers going through all the stuff they go through now with the constant access to everything online all the time. I've been there; still going through it with one more at home. We too will get through this. It's always great to know you aren't the only one out there dealing with it.

Yes, I am happy to have read this one.

Profile Image for Amanda.
72 reviews21 followers
November 18, 2017
What a brilliant story and a fabulous author! I absolutely loved this book. The main character, Kate Reddy is fast approaching 50 and has two teenagers, a lovable dog and a self-centred husband going through a midlife crisis. This was one of the funniest books I've ever had the pleasure of reading. The descriptiveness of the ageing process for a woman in her 40's is so accurate and oh my gosh, at times, so hilarious! Apart from wanting to give her husband Richard a swift kick up the backside, I loved all of the characters and really related to Kate. I highly recommend this book to every woman!

Thanks very much to HarperCollins Publishers and Allison Pearson for a copy of this book!
Profile Image for Abby Watson.
89 reviews2 followers
October 19, 2017
How Hard Can It Be? Turns out, very.

I just couldn't get in to this book at all, I found it really scatty! It has had such strong positive reviews so I imagine that perhaps the main reason I didn't like it / couldn't take to it is because I can't relate to it?

Side note, the voice of Roy really annoyed me. I skipped over those parts.

(2.5 stars - it's not bad, just not for me)

Thanks to Netgalley for my free copy in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for StMargarets.
2,835 reviews491 followers
July 14, 2019
Sequel to I Don't Know How She Does It

Kate Reddy is 49 now. Her children from book one are teenagers. Her husband is re-training as a therapist after he lost his job as an architect. Kate has been spending the last seven years raising her family and renovating a country house. To maintain their lifestyle, Kate must find a high-paying job since her hubby has two years to go in his training. She returns to her investment firm in the city after lying about her age (now 42) and accepting a junior position covering a maternity leave.

This was the most interesting part of the book, imo. The sexism and ageism at the firm was appalling, but it was great to see Kate use all the wisdom of her almost 50 years to keep, cajole, and reassure the firm’s important clients. She has a rock star moment where she reveals her true age and it’s the highlight of the story. She is an excellent financial adviser/investor and she deserves that job.

I would have happily read about her experiences at the firm along with her struggles with menopause, memory, transatlantic friendships and unexpected support from a new friend.
but this novel was more ambitious than that. Kate's two teenagers are in the mix as well.

The story opens with Kate’s daughter having a picture of her naked rear passed around on snapchat, much to her dismay and social ostracization. There are long conversations about social media and how different life is now. Parents wring hands about the pressures to excel. They worry about helicopter parenting, etc. .

I recognized all of it-

Although I think I disagreed with most of her parenting decisions. Kate misses the fact that her daughter is cutting and that she is depressed. Trying to help, she writes an essay on Twelfth Night (all those disguises) for her daughter’s homework, she allows a drunken party at their house, she gives her money they can’t afford for Taylor Swift tickets so she can keep up with the rich girls, etc. . . Same with her son who racks up credit card debt playing games on his phone. All 21st century problems that are well described but not well-handled, imo.

But that’s okay – this is a novel, not a how-to book.

Kate also has a mother-in-law with Alzheimer’s, a mother with a broken hip, a hostile sister and an indifferent husband.

As you can probably guess, it is revealed that the indifferent husband is having an affair - with a 26 year-old fellow student. But that’s okay, because Kate has reunited with a client she fell in love with seven years before. (She nobly broke it off before anything happened.) Fast-forward to present day: they have an affair this time (that Kate breaks off again) so the cheating becomes a goose/gander sort of equation.

That thread of a marriage crumbling and her new affair would have made a great story on his own. Affair guy was yummy and hubby was useless. (Even his kids didn’t miss him when he finally moved out). These stories where the ex-husband ends up with twins and endless sleepless nights are such a fun revenge for the now independent ex-wife who finally gets some freedom after raising her family.

So this novel has so much going on that I wish an editor had reigned her in more. I know the chaos and overlapping storylines are indicative of real life for the sandwich generation, but it’s exhausting to read. I was also disappointed in the rampant materialism, perfectionism and keeping up with the Joneses. Kate was supposed to have learned to deal with all that in the last book, but she’s still chasing those ideals.

Still, this is an interesting/amusing time capsule of a middle class society/family and all that ails it.
Profile Image for Clif Hostetler.
1,105 reviews748 followers
October 26, 2018
Early in this novel the story's protagonist/first-person-narrator is in a job interview and is told that she doesn't meet the job's "cohort parameters." In this context it means that she's too old at age 49 (going on 50). From that point the plot of this book involves her rejigging her resumé and her body to be 42.

She is subsequently successful at getting a job at an investment company of which she used to be the owner, but nobody recognizes her because there's been a complete turnover in personnel since she left seven years ago. From that point on it's a story of a woman sandwiched between problems and demands from her children and aging mother and in-laws dealing with incipient dementia. Also, her husband is less than helpful, and she's dealing with pressures from work and needing to remember that she's pretending to younger than her real age.

The pressures placed on this woman are extreme and can be interpreted as satire of the devaluing of women of a certain age. But the author portrays this woman as enthusiastically invested in this unrealistic game of trying to be young. There are occasional hints of resentment, but not what I would want for a protest of such an environment.

In the end the young clueless young guys at the investment firm are saved from their own fumbling of relations with an important client by our protagonist using her experience and cunning to save the firm. In the process of doing so she reveals her true age which is no longer a problem because she's now a hero.

Her triumph at work is perhaps too good to be true. Likewise, the story has a romance element involving an old fling. That part of the story also ends too happy to be true. But it is a novel so I shouldn't be complaining about realism.

I was first interested in this book because I thought it might be able to be used in a "Next Chapter" book group for newly retired persons. I've concluded it's a novel for someone in the midst of the work-a-day word, not someone opening a new chapter in their life.

Also, I found myself not matching the intended "cohort parameters" for the readers of this book. This book elaborated in considerable detail about the discomforts of perimenopause and unpredictable menstrual cycles. I can accept that these are realistic issues for women, but I am an older white male conditioned to feel uncomfortable with too much such information.

The following excerpt was selected because it shows how problems in the daughter's life parallel those of the mother. In the following quotation our protagonist is editing her daughter's school assignment to analyze Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night" and she considers the writing about Shakespeare also reflects the dilemmas of teenage life that her daughter faces. The irony is that the same can be said for Kate herself, our book's narrator.
Plenty of shrewd insights to make up for the dodgy spelling. She really should have more confidence in herself, but girls like Emily set themselves impossibly high standards so they never feel good about themselves. What was it she said to me? “I’m not the cleverest, I’m not the prettiest, I’m not the anythingest.” It’s the disease of the day. ... ...
Does my daughter know, or at any rate sense, that now she is hardly writing about Shakespeare at all? That she is, in fact, writing about her own desperate attempts to fit in, that all teenagers must put on “motley” to be in with the cool kids? That Emily’s daily makeup tutorial on Instagram is teaching her how contrive a Cateyed mask, to disguise herself and her gripping fear that she is not perfect. And making her think that being imperfect is somehow not OK, rather than a human condition. And what will future historians make of the fact that, at the start of the twenty-first century, when feminism seemed to have won the argument, girls like Emily tried their hardest to look like the courtesans of a previous age when women had almost no power except their looks and the ability to attract a man of status? (p158)
Profile Image for Laurie.
60 reviews11 followers
August 23, 2017
I received a copy of this book in a Goodreads Giveaway.

Although not my usual genre, I had heard many good things about Allison's previous book 'I Don't Know How She Does It', and so decided to enter the giveaway for 'How Hard Can It Be?'. I'm delighted I won as I loved this book! (I will now definitely be seeking out the first one to read too). Although this is a continuation of 'I Don't Know...', it stands by itself as well and I wasn't confused by the story at any point.
Even though I'm 22 years younger than the main character, I found I could relate to her on many levels in my hopes and fears for the future. I think any woman could find something in common with Kate Reddy. An extremely likeable character, the witty prose of this book swept me up in laughs, and at some points wrapped me in sorrow too. It's a novel about the juggling act women do on a daily basis when trying to manage kids, home and work, all while struggling with personal changes and finding little help from those around you.
Overall an engaging, poignant read that tackles so many issues we are facing today, and it has left me wanting more!
Profile Image for Rachel.
561 reviews36 followers
June 15, 2018
3.5 Stars

This chick-lit / contemporary fiction, the sequel to I Don’t Know How She Does It earned 3.5 Stars from me.

Kate Reddy is back! When I Don’t Know How She Does It left off, Kate had moved her family to Yorkshire and left her job to focus on her family. As How Hard Can It Be begins, her husband, Richard, has decided to have a mid life career change and has taken two years off work to train to be a counselor. In need of a steady income, the family moves back to London and Kate searches for a lucrative new full time job. But returning to work at age 50 is not as seamless as it would seem.

Having trouble finding a suitable job is just one of Kate’s many issues. She is starting menopause and is dealing with the symptoms this change is bringing into her life. Richard is changing more than just his career - he’s become obsessed with his bike, herbal tea, mindfulness and meditation. Kate and Richards adorable children from the last book are now teenagers and not exactly easy and of course, Richard is starting to become an absent husband and father, just when Kate needs him most. Just to throw in one more issue, Kate and Richard bought an old ‘fixer upper’ upon returning to London and of course, the remodel is turning out to be more complicated than expected. Kate spends the rest of the book trying to sort out these problems; some of its hilarious and some very heartfelt.

I was so happy to see Kate again! I LOVE her spunk and how her life looks so seamless to the outsider while in reality she is always struggling to hold it all together. She’s always one step away from a funny yet messy disaster.

Again with the Brit Lit. Can’t get enough of it.

Kate’s situation with managing a house, teenagers, an absent husband, a career and the changes happening in her body and feeling invisible are so relatable!!!

It’s not quite as funny as the first one. The first book opens with Kate taking a frozen pie and reworking the crust to make it look homemade for an event at her kids school and then she gets lice from her kids and gives it to a client. So darn funny! This book is funny but not as funny as the first one. I was hoping for less serious/ depressing problems and more fly by the seat of her pants funny.

I was appalled by the way Kate allowed her teenagers to talk to her and behave! She actually apologizes to her daughter for not allowing her to get a fake ID to get into bars!!!! She is their doormat! During a party her daughter hosted at her house she walks in to her bathroom and catches 2 teenagers having sex and actually let’s them finish instead of kicking them out!!! WTF???? It drove me nuts!!!!! The one time she actually put her foot down, took her sons phone away and yelled at her kids, she cried on the way to work and felt mean. Seriously???? I have a teenager and he is absolutely not allowed to act like that.

This is a good book. Definitely worth reading, especially if you are a woman nearing fifty. I liked it, I just didn’t love it as much as the first one.
Profile Image for Sherwood Smith.
Author 150 books37.5k followers
May 15, 2018
It turns out that this is a sequel to another book, which I’d never heard of, I Don't Know How She Does It. That’s a fact I discovered after I read this book, which functioned perfectly well as a standalone.

This one attracted me because there are so few books about older women that promise to be fun instead of dreary Problem Novels. I know what the problems of being old are, thank you. I don’t need to read fiction about it.

So Kate Ready is 49, almost fifty (which seems young to me, but still props to the author). She’s married with two teens, and an unemployed husband who has decided to become a mountain bike rider, and then a counselor of some sort, very New Age sounding. Right to the expensive cost.

So Kate has to give up freelancing and get a job. To prepare for it, she made her family move closer to London. While she’s gearing up for competing against much younger people in what seems to be to be hedge fund banking (getting rich people to invest to get richer), meanwhile her daughter’s toxic “best friend” somehow oopses the wrong sort of selfie of the daughter onto the Internet, and makes sure it goes viral. The daughter goes ballistic, of course.

Other weird stuff happens before and after Kate lands the job by whacking years off her life. Which she has to remember in the office, or she’ll be outed by her abusive boss and his toady. Because ageism is alive and well in hedge-fund land, especially for women.

So we get family as well as work disasters, as she tries to deal with her daughter’s emotional traumas with flagrant lack of success, her always-absent spouse, school expectations, and the issues of aging parents—bother her mother and her spouse’s parents, who never liked her.

The book was funny, but that first half tended to be a bit smug. Kate has opinions on everything, and at times some of the incidents seemed to be plot triggers for long opinions. For example, quite a few pages were dedicated to Kate analyzing her own face for flaws and pluses. Then, she has an inner voice she calls “Roy,” which I found distracting rather than entertaining.

When everything seems to be at its worst an amazing guy shows up in her life again—someone she had hit it off with so well that it spooked her, and she’d ended the friendship. But has not stopped thinking about him for several years.

Then he turns up, not just in email, but in person.

Meanwhile, dementia, class expectations, menopause, self-harming teens, and the stresses that can break a marriage get dealt with . . .and the book finds a balance between compassion, insight, and wish-fulfillment that finally pays off splendidly.

For a while in the first half I wasn’t sure I could finish, and it took me several days to plow through, but the second half I read in a single night.

I don’t know that I’d look out for the first book, but I finally enjoyed this one quite a bit.

Copy provided by NetGalley
Profile Image for Julie.
868 reviews76 followers
November 23, 2017
I do barely remember reading the original Kate Reddy novel by this author, many moons ago. Now Kate Reddy is back. Her kids are teenagers, her husband it busy riding his bike and ignoring her and the elderly parents are causing problems of their own. Her 50th birthday is fast approaching and so Kate finds herself shuffling all of her family round, as she has to head back into the workplace which is full of colleagues who are half her age.

Being the same age myself, I could understand her position, but I found it all terribly predictable and a bit smug and self important. I felt that if I knew Kate, I wouldn't like her much and felt like I had to trawl through this brick of a book.
Profile Image for Andrea.
737 reviews111 followers
August 19, 2018
This book spoke to me.
And had me spontaneously laughing, enough to get odd, uncomfortable stares from other customers in the coffee shop. I wished it would go on and on.
So now I must reread it immediately.

Bravo Allison Pearson! & the audiobook is FLAWLESS
Profile Image for Brooke (Brooke's Books and Brews).
88 reviews42 followers
July 8, 2018
As much as I love thrillers, I also really love books that make me laugh. This book made me laugh out loud multiple times. Kate Reddy’s take on raising a family, aging gracefully, and attempting to reenter the workforce is so realistic and full of humor. It’s a very dry humor though but I really enjoyed it.

The story is told from Kate’s point of view. She is older than me but I still found her to be very relatable. She is fast approaching 50 and has found herself the sole breadwinner for the family. I think Pearson nailed the issues that an older woman would face when trying to go back to work. I think she also nailed the body issues women have as they get older as well. I thought all of the supporting characters were pretty well developed as well.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. I think it’s a great book to read when you want to laugh a little. I would recommend this book to those who enjoy women’s fiction and enjoy a dry sense of humor.
Profile Image for Toni.
659 reviews202 followers
March 2, 2018
4.5 Strong, Smart Women STARS

Kate is currently 49, but will soon turn that "f-word" every woman dreads. Plus she's experiencing life's turmoils simultaneously it seems. An unemployed husband trying to re-find himself through cycling, therapy while ignoring his household duties. Two teenage children who delight at testing their independence boundaries while snickering at their Mom's technology naivete. Kids, you love them with all your heart while counting the minutes until they leave for college. Then there are the elderly parents: his, whom Kate loves and looks after but are now requiring more than assisted living; and her Mom, whose sweet but calls ten times a day. Combine this delightful bunch with her need to seek employment lest they lose their house and daily meals.
Kate has a decent resume, her problem is her age, and competing with all the twenty/thirty-somethings in the workforce. "Lie," say her friends. "Or at least twist the truth a little." (my paraphrasing) So she becomes 42, on paper.
That's all I can really tell you as a bit of an introduction, because the real story has too many events that takes Kate and her family on the Ups and Downs of LIFE. Told with humor and seriousness, at just the right time. She'll get the job and life will change, in many unexpected ways. But in the end you'll cheer for Kate and maybe even like her kids, a little. Enjoy!

4.5 Strong, Smart Women STARS! Thanks Netgalley, Allison Pearson and St. Martin's Press
Profile Image for Dale Harcombe.
Author 14 books316 followers
December 27, 2017
I received this as a Goodreads Giveaway and thought it would be an amusing tale of a woman nearing fifty, juggling demands of aging parents, teenagers, marriage and getting older. But in the end I am going to give up on this. I got to page 96 and cannot relate at all to Kate. I continually found myself getting annoyed with her and her teenage daughter. Every time I tried to pick the book up and start again I quickly put it back down and read something else. I am past the age of Kate and past having teenagers, so maybe that is the problem. While others may find it amusing, it was not for me. The problem could be that I am not the target audience. Or it could be just the voice and behaviour of these characters is too aggravating to continue. A shame as it is always nice to receive a Goodreads giveaway win and I thank the publisher for it, but I am beyond persisting with this one. In all fairness to the author and publisher I'm not going to rate this.
Profile Image for Amy.
1,939 reviews1,901 followers
June 10, 2018
How Hard Can it Be is the sequel to How Does She Do It and I haven’t read the first book, but had no problem jumping in. Kate Reddy is fast approaching fifty and she’s not happy about it. She’s about to renter the workforce after several years spent raising her kids (who are now teenagers) and she’s struggling to find a job where she’s not considered past her sell date. Even though Kate is older than me I found her to be super relatable, Pearson wrote about SO many issues females face from workplace woes to body image issues and raising kids in a digital age, and of course relationship issues. This was a funny read, sometimes laughing at the curveballs life throws your way is the only way to get through it and Kate provided plenty of opportunities for laughter. How Hard Can It Be? in three words: Witty, Sardonic and (surprisingly) Insightful. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Profile Image for Charleen.
169 reviews16 followers
April 28, 2019
I won an early ARC on a Goodreads Giveaway. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

This was a quick DNF.

Simple, extremely mediocre, and stirring up drama (in a simple life even-- you're a normal wife in a normal family doing normal shit and acting like it's a big deal) and writing about the absolute nothings on people that don't even matter much in the book, this book is straight up annoying. Super unimpressive, redundant, and so obvious about woes, worries, stretch marks, gained weight, may I go on? I didn't see anything positive in this... honestly only made up drama in a regular household. This woman's POV is very easy to disregard and is not likable because she acts as a slave to the rest of her family. Can you spell b-o-r-i-n-g?
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