I Don't Know How She Does It by Allison Person
THE IDEA that women can “have it all” has seen better days.
Each season seems to bring forth some new and ominous study, pointing to the deficiencies of day- care or the alarming incidence of childlessness among women in the top ranks of business and the pro- fessions. Making matters worse, sev- eral high-profile role models-pres- idential adviser Karen Hughes, ABC News commentator Cokie Roberts, Massachusetts Governor Jane Swift-have lately thrown in the professional towel, declaring (as Roberts put it), “I want a life.” Allison Pearson’s best-selling novel, I Don’t Know How She Does It, is yet another contribution to the deflation of career mothers, but of a decidedly different sort. An award- winning columnist for London’s Evening Standard, Pearson has writ- ten a sympathetic send-up, or what reviewers, alluding to another re- cent comic import from Britain, have described as a Bridget Jones’s Diary for grown-ups. Both books share a hyperactive, pastiche style, their pages festooned with e-mails, to-do lists, diary entries, and sen- tence fragments too frenzied to mention their subjects. But Pearson has given us something deeper than the meditations of the self-con- sciously single Bridget Jones, and her book’s popularity, I suspect, has to do with more than its obvious pleasures as entertainment.
About the Author
Kay S. Hymowitz, a contributing editor of City Journal, writes frequently for COMMENTARY on social and cultural issues.