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What Kate Did Next

February 3, 2010

What Kate Did Next

by Lisa Heidke

As most of you already know (and are probably already sick of hearing about!) I am a working mom. That means that when I get home from work I exhaustedly stumble from one task to the next – cooking, cleaning, and pretending to be a good mom – until I collapse in bed at 9:30. And then I wake up the next morning and do it all over again.

As as I rush around every day, trying to cross things off my To-Do List, I often wonder how much easier life would be if I could just give up one of the many things I feel so compelled to tackle every day. Would it be a tragedy if I left my wet towel on the bathroom floor? No. Would I get fired if I stopped checking emails 24/7 and shut my computer down at a decent hour? Probably not. Would the world come to a grinding halt if I put aside my cookbooks and ordered a pizza instead? Of course not. And yet I can’t stop myself from trying to be perfect at everything – home life, work life, and family life. Why? Because my worst nightmare is that I will wake up in 10 years and be no closer to my goals and aspirations than I am today. And seriously, what is more frustrating and less productive than regretting the things you haven’t accomplished?

In What Kate Did Next, Kate Cavendish is a 36-year-old mother and wife who wakes up one day regretting that she traded in her promising career as a photographer for marriage and motherhood. Her kids don’t appreciate her, her husband is never around, and Kate hates that she lacks the energy and self-confidence to kick-start her career and her life again.

But Kate’s life changes forever when an old colleague offers her a temporary position as a food photographer at a prominent magazine. Kate surprises herself and her family by taking the job and quickly finds herself struggling to juggle her kids needs, an ill-tempered boss, her crumbling marriage, and the temptation of her son’s soccer coach. She manages to get by with no major catastrophes until her rebellious 13-year-old daughter Lexie’s growing pains turn into something much worse, and through a haze of guilt Kate wonders if the grass is ever really greener on the other side.

Author Lisa Heidke, a mother and successful writer herself, does a fabulous job of making Kate human. Kate is so very relatable, not only as a mother but also as a daughter, a sister, and a wife. She isn’t perfect and doesn’t pretend to be, which is very refreshing. I love that the author takes on taboo topics that few people discuss but many struggle with – work/life balance, selflessness, infidelity, and getting older.

I highly recommend this light, funny account of a suburban housewife who not only finds peace and happiness but who eventually finds her place in the world without losing herself or the people she loves the most.

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