almost everyone knows by now, this book is a diary of Kate Reddy,
who holds down a power job in London while trying to have a life.
The writing is magnificent: lots of little gems, some of which might
get censored in an online review. Don't miss her description of
hanging out in the kitchen with her inlaws at Christmas.
This book can be read on several levels. I must admit I was
exhausted at first, just reading about Kate's efforts to juggle her
life. Being single and childless, I can only admire the fortitude of
working mothers who really do try to "do everything." And I was
disappointed in the ending, where Kate does seem to walk away from a
part of herself.
I couldn't help wishing this couple would
go to marriage counseling! Kate and her husband seem to have
different values and her abrasiveness can be annoying, even to the
reader who is rooting for her. Marriages like this one -- very
strong wife, kind supportive husband -- usually do not last without
I also wanted to encourage Kate to hire a
coach to help her set priorities and develop some assertiveness. Her
friend and colleague at work, Candy, even teases her about being too
quick to say yes and to accept tough jobs with no compensation. When
Kate says, "Nobody got bonuses," Candy says, "And you believe that?"
Either Candy is a saboteur rather than a true friend, or Kate has
contributed to her own powerlessness.
While some women (and
men) will be appalled at the crudity of Kate's boss, I think the
author is just being realistic. The securities industry was always
known for its machismo, as described in Michael Lewis's Liar's
Poker. A senior woman like Kate will have less access to legalistic
harassment remedies than a clerk-typist -- and Kate makes this point
herself. She has to choose: a job or a lawsuit. The fact that her
boss is an Australian adds to the realism: the author understands
the male-female dynamic of "down under."
Even if you get
frustrated, it will be hard to stop turning the pages. There is
suspense created by the author ("How will Kate get out of this
mess?") but, more important, the underlying theme: How much of
Kate's stress is created by her dual roles -- and how much by her
own assertiveness and coping skills?
Do Not repost without permission
from the author, CATHY