‘A lot of women gave the last book to their boss’

The Daily Telegraph - Review - - Cover Story -

Allison Pear­son’s first Kate Reddy novel changed how we see work­ing moth­ers. Can the se­quel do the same for the ‘sand­wich gen­er­a­tion’, asks El­iz­a­beth Day

End­ings,” says Allison Pear­son, “are not my thing.” We are sit­ting in the snug tele­vi­sion room of her Cam­bridgeshire home, and Pear­son, the best­selling au­thor and Tele­graph colum­nist, has just slipped off her black high heels to make her­self more com­fort­able. Through the legs of a cof­fee ta­ble, I can see her bare feet, small and pale, pressed against the car­pet.

Pear­son, who is 56, ap­pears more vul­ner­a­ble than I’d ex­pected: she is re­cov­er­ing from a bout of pneu­mo­nia, and is brac­ing her­self for the pub­li­ca­tion of her third novel, which she fin­ished “against the clock” last month af­ter a year and a half ’s work.

“I just go back and back and back, work­ing, work­ing, work­ing and re-work­ing para­graphs,” she ex­plains. “And it’s hope­less re­ally. At some point you’ve just got to fin­ish the damn thing, don’t you? And I never think it’s fin­ished. I find it very hard to end… I feel like a great wave has swept me up on to a peb­bled shore. You know that thing where it slaps you and that’s it, you’re just ab­so­lutely spent?”

There’s a lot rid­ing on this par­tic­u­lar book. It’s s called How Hard Can It Be? and is the se­quel, 15 years later, to her first novel, I Don’t Know How She Does It. That book told the story of Kate Reddy, a ha­rassed hedge fund man­ager and mother of two whose daily ex­is­tence con­sistedd

Fam­ily: with hus­bandd An­thony Lane and their chil­dren in 2011 1

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