cover image How Hard Can It Be?

How Hard Can It Be?

Allison Pearson. St. Martin’s, $27.99 (352p) ISBN 978-1-250-08608-2

The winning follow-up to Pearson’s bestselling I Don’t Know How She Does It is anchored by heroine Kate Reddy’s authentic, intelligent, and consistently funny British voice. When Kate’s architect husband is laid off and begins training as a therapist, the 49-year-old stay-at-home mother of two tries to return to the workforce. After a disastrous job interview confirms she has aged out of her field—she was formerly a jet-setting power player at an influential London brokerage firm—Kate starts lying about her age and is hired to market the very hedge fund she created years ago. Meanwhile, her daughter just texted a belfie (a “selfie of your bum”) to a friend, who posted it on Facebook; her son won’t look up from his phone; and she hasn’t had sex with her husband in months. Further muddying the waters is a man from her past, who reasserts himself in her life just as her marriage stagnates. Pearson maintains a humorous tone throughout, wresting laughs from her lead’s lowest moments and greatest triumphs. Pearson also hits the right notes in conveying the cluelessness and powerlessness parents feel raising teens obsessed by gaming and social media. Readers will cheer on Kate as she becomes a kick-butt woman of a certain age. 250,000-copy announced first printing. (June)