Kate Reddy is turning 50. You remember Kate. Oh, unless you, too, suffer from "Perry memory-pause." Allison Pearson introduced Kate in 2002's I Don't Know How She Does It, and readers cheered as she juggled a demanding job, two young kids and marriage. Now, she's wondering how hard can it be? when, after a seven-year hiatus, she has to go back to work.
Taking inventory of her life at 49, Kate ticks off the components: husband Richard loses his job and "tunes into his inner Dalai Lama"; kids enter "the twister of adolescence"; parents are aging precariously. "I worried I was losing my mind, but it was probably just hiding in the same place as the car keys and the reading glasses." With the recently purchased "charming period gem" of a house requiring a full-time handyman and Richard demanding two years of "retraining," Kate polishes her CV, confessing to no one that her résumé shaves seven years off her age. Landing a job at her old financial advisement firm (with a new, very young, staff), she restarts the balancing act of home and work. Kate keeps her sense of humor, with "Roy," her imaginary memory aide, on-call. ("Roy, number of calories in a flat white? Roy?")
Kate tackles sandwich generation issues with determination, and readers may wish they could help her. When daughter Emily is cyber-bullied, Kate seems too stressed to do the obvious and ask her more details. She's overly kind to Richard, missing signs of infidelity; yoga lessons aren't that long. The first-person perspective lends immediacy to Kate's circumstances as readers cheer alongside her. --Cheryl Krocker McKeon, manager, Book Passage, San Francisco