Subtitled "The Life of Kate Reddy, Working Mother," this debut novel is hilariously frantic, like the female equivalent of an Arnold Schwarzenegger action-comedy film.The witty Kate is an observant narrator, whose attempts to reconcile all facets of her life reveal some poignant truisms about the guilt and elation that go hand in hand with being a working mom.Thankfully, author Allison Pearson doesn't assign a "right" or "wrong" label to the conflicting roles of uber-career woman or stay-at-home mom. The resolution was even-handed and managed to seem an individual decision that may or may not work for other women.
This pull-no-punches look at the demands placed on working women by society—and ourselves—can be slightly depressing (though I wondered if Kate's experiences would differ had she worked in a less male-dominated industry than finance). But it makes some important points, with plenty of humor, about life and work and being a woman.

Watch Kate pound some store-bought tarts into suitable homemade facsimiles for the kids' school bake sale. See her rise above borderline sexual harassment at work only to butt her head against the glass ceiling. Observe her twisting herself into knots because "having it all" is literally impossible.

Though she's dancing as fast as she can, her life starts spinning out of control, leading her to an eventual choice.

(Oct., 352 pp., $23.00)

Reviewed by: 
Tara Gelsomino