I Think I Love You: Q&A with Allison Pearson

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Peer Pressure

I remember, I was so pleased when I got to the second half of the book, and Petra was still playing her cello, because you get the feeling at the beginning that her friends are going to make her want to give it up, like it's not cool enough.

It was very vivid to me how treacherous those teenage girl friendships can feel -- the unexploded mine field of "are you going to be in today, are you going to be cool, will you have someone to have lunch with?" And then I thought about how vital female friendships are to me in my life now. I wanted to write something of a hymn to female friendship, and the support and laughs that women get from each other -- Petra and her friend Sharon are one the love stories in the book.

Do you think Petra and Kate Reddy, the protagonist in I Don't Know How She Does It, have any affinities? They're both modern women at least partly modeled after your life.

They both come from my heart, though Petra is closer to me in background. They both have a quality of yearning and are pretty sensitive people. They're both dealing with work, home, and kids, though Kate's got younger children. When I Don't Know How She Does It came out I got lots of letters from women who said, "You think that's bad? Wait until she has teenagers!" And, of course, adult Petra has a teenager as I do now. It was an inspiration for me seeing my daughter Evie and the crushes she has. It's so touching hearing her say, "No, Robert Pattinson really does eat this cereal!" She read it in a magazine! I just think, oh here we go again.

I heard you're working on a musical version of I Think Love You.

Yes, it's my first attempt at writing a musical, and I'm really loving it. And it won't only have David Cassidy songs, but also many of the wonderful songs from that era. It's amazing how just a couple bars or a single line from these songs can take you back -- they have this time-traveling quality that's very powerful. There are some lovely scenes where Sharon and Petra are on stage with their younger selves. In one part they sing the "The Way We Were" to each other.

And David Cassidy has been such a great hero for me and he absolutely adores the book, so maybe if the musical comes to Broadway he can come out of the smoke and be him again! At Petra's age it was all I wanted for David Cassidy to come to me, but now it's like I can come full circle. To write a musical in which David Cassidy would appear, I would die happy.


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