We all have our favorite authors. One of mine happens to be the British columnist, Allison Pearson, who, in 2002, wrote the penultimate way-we-everywomen-live-now novel, I Don't Know How She Does It.
If you haven't read it, well shame on you. It is a witty, subversive book in which the heroine, Kate, is, by all societal measures, "has it all": a high-falutin' job in international finance, a loving husband who's willing to pick up the slack whenever she has to fly around the world to cut a deal, children who only want more of their loving mom at their side–
And yet…and yet… she knows something is missing from her life . . .
Ah, yes: balance.
Perhaps that would allow her to appreciate her guy both in and out of the sack; and to be there for her kids; and to quit all those dirty little political one-ups-manship games we play at work in order to appease inconsiderate bosses who play favorites and forget all we've done for them.
A textfest with an American client tempts Kate to stray. But Pearson's heroine is no Madame Bovary. Suffice it to say that I Don't Know How She Does It is a book you won't be able to put down–
And it will leave you asking the same question I did, eight years ago: "What's next, Allison?"
Floating around Facebook one day, I found my answer. Allison has a fan page there. Lo and behold, her second novel came out recently, in England. Called I THINK I LOVE YOU, it chronicles the tale of a woman whose life has been less than she'd hoped–all because of a missed opportunity involving her teen crush on the pop singer, David Cassidy.
In other words, Allison's new book channels my youth.
Okay, yeah, I'll admit it: I too papered the walls of my bedroom with pages from Tiger Beat that bore David's dimpled smile.
There on Facebook, someone else, also from the US, commented that they'd just discovered I DON'T KNOW HOW SHE DOES IT, and had tremendously enjoyed it. I ditto'd that–and bemoaned the fact that I THINK I LOVE YOU would not be released here in the States until February 2011.
Low and behold, a few days later I got a sweet message from Allison, offering to send me an copy of the book from her personal stash.
It arrived on Friday, and I can't wait to dig in.
As it happens, I did a library fundraiser last week with Jane Smiley, Joshilyn Jackson, Tatjana Soli and Eileen Goudge. During dinner, Jane casually asked what we were reading. I'm in the middle of Tatjana's book, THE LOTUS EATERS, which has gotten rave reviews. Then I added (a bit guiltily, because it seems that "serious" books are bandied about more than those that make us laugh) "–and I'll soon have Allison Pearson's latest. It's not released here, but she's sending me a copy. I so loved her first book."
"Oh, yes, 'I Don't Know How She Does It'. I liked it too," said Jane.
"I don't know her," Joshilyn responded.
Both Jane and I strongly recommended Allison's novel. The discussion then shifted to why funny books get overlooked for awards and accolades (shades of Franzenfruede!), and other female British authors who write with a satiric wit, like Nancy Mitford. Joshilyn named another whose name I now forget, but she sounded like an excellent read. (Joss: please email it to me, so that I may look her up!)
Allison, you'll be happy to know you're in good company.
I don't know how she does it, but I'm glad she does,
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