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