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Meet Kate Reddy, fund manager and mother of two. She can juggle nine different currencies in five different time zones and get herself and two children washed and dressed and out of the house in half an hour. A victim of time famine, Kate counts seconds like other women count calories. As she hurtles between appointments, through her head spools the crazy tape-loop of the working mother's life: must remember client reports, bouncy castles, transatlantic phone call, nativity play, check Dow Jones, cancel hygienist, squeeze sagging pelvic floor, make time for sex. Factor in a manipulative nanny, an Australian boss who looks at Kate's breasts as if they're on special offer, a long suffering husband, her quietly aghast in-laws, two needy children and an e-mail lover, and you have a woman juggling so many balls that some day soon something's going to hit the ground. In an uproariously funny and achingly sad novel, Allison Pearson captures the guilty secret lives of working mothers, the self-recriminations, comic deceptions, forgeries, giddy exhaustion and despair as no other writer has ever done. With fierce irony and a sparkling style, she brilliantly dramatises the dilemma of working motherhood at the start of the 21st century.