How Hard Can It Be? by Allison Pearson

This was just super. In both of her other books that I’ve read (I Think I Love You and I Don’t Know How She Does It) I had the same feelings as I was reading: “This book is so funny, what a romp” “hm..actually this is quite well written”  and then sometime later “wait a minute, there’s a lot going on here and I’m emotionally invested in this character and everything isn’t just hilarious” “wow, this book is really good.”

It’s been quite a while since I read the first book about Kate Reddy (a book I resisted reading because of it’s popularity, but then I read it and loved it) and I honestly didn’t really remember anything about it. That was fine, though, because she referred sufficiently enough to events of the past if you wanted to enjoy this as a sequel, but honestly it could just be a standalone book. And how refreshing to have your sequel be a long time after the first one and checking in with your character to see what they’re doing in a new phase of their life. And this phase was one I could definitely relate to, even though I am not quite yet where Kate is and not yet into perimenopause (which, after reading this, I am now not looking forward to.)

Kate now has teenage children and is ready to re-enter the workforce. In book one she was a powerhouse financial whiz success, but now she finds that nearing fifty makes her ancient and unemployable in the business world. When she does get a job (at her old fund!) she lies about her age. I don’t recall what I thought of her husband in the first book, but he’s a real drip in this one. So Kate has professional anxieties, marital woes, physical ailments galore, and so much worry about her children, one of whom is really suffering and at the mercy of mean girls and social media drama.

Stray things I liked most? Referring to Roy, her helpful imaginary memory helper to retrieve bits of info she can’t quite recall. I assumed he was Roy from the IT Crowd, especially because there is a lovely bit of her children saying “are you from the past?” just like Roy does on the show, which is something my husband and I do as well.

All in all, a really great read.

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