Book Review: I Don’t Know How She Does It


I was interested to read this book because it directly applies to my life now, and because I always try to read books that are adapted into films before I see the movie (have not seen the film).

Let me save you some suspense: I was disappointed.

Where to even start?? Kate Reddy (the protagonist) is not likeable. Not even a little bit. Yeah, I related to her because she’s a working mom, but that’s it. She’s whiny, selfish, mean-spirited and even though she keeps stating how her kids tug at her heartstrings, I saw no evidence of that in the way she treated them.

I could tell the book was aiming to take some sort of feminist view by the way it showed women at a disadvantage in the workplace, but instead of making a valid point about inequality, it just portrayed all men as bumbling idiots who just want to jump into the pants of anything that moves, killing its credibility. All of the “good guys” in the book are female; all of the “bad guys” are male. Awesome.

The prose isn’t imaginative at all. Kate just lays everything out on the table, instead of allowing situations to speak for themselves. I hate this! As a reader, I want to discover things along with the protagonist, not have her tell me everything that’s going on. Writer rule #1: show, don’t tell.

 —Spoiler Follows—

The very worst thing about this book: Kate acts on a split decision to give up her career and stay at home. This did it for me…if I wasn’t reading the book on my $200 Kindle Fire, I would have chucked it across the room. There are two reasons this conclusion sucks royal ass:

  1. Come on, the book seems like it’s supposed to carry a message for working moms, and that message is supposed to be “you’ll never make it in a career, so you should just give up and stay at home”?! Is that really what a bunch of moms who love their children and their jobs (and happen to be pretty good at them) really need to hear? Didn’t think so.
  2. There isn’t even a very valid reason Kate decides to stay home. It certainly isn’t because she has a passion for raising her children and managing her home full time. When things get tough, there’s no attempt at compromise whatsoever.

I can’t even go on with my review at this point…I’m just so tired of Kate Reddy and her strange world. I’m just ready to wash my hands of her!

Note: I’m sorry my first two book reviews were negative! I promise I really do love some books. In fact, I’m in the process of reading one right now. I promise to share soon…


2 thoughts on “Book Review: I Don’t Know How She Does It

  1. A says:

    I did see the movie, and it must’ve stayed pretty true to the book because I came away with the same impression (except I didn’t feel quite so negatively toward Kate herself — instead, she seemed more like just someone caught in a tricky situation). But I definitely agree that books like this do nothing for feminism. If she’d discovered that baking was her passion and she didn’t want to miss a single moment of her kids’ childhoods, it would make sense for her to give up her career. Another thing, in the movie her husband was extremely forgettable. Was he like this in the book too? I would’ve loved to have seen a strong, competent, helpful husband character but I don’t remember him at all.

    • Ugh. I don’t think I’ll be seeing the movie, despite my generally positive feelings toward SJP.
      In the beginning of the book, I couldn’t help but like the husband, since I disliked Kate so much, but then toward the middle and through the ending, he was just so wishy-washy and blah that I couldn’t bring myself to “like” him, officially.
      I guess I am just shocked that such drivel could have made a bestseller list AND film rights.
      Again, I say Ugh.

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