12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An utterly convincing, very readable and important book
Shattered is non-fiction at its best, well researched and well referenced but humanised by first-hand accounts and enlivened by Asher's very convincing argument that the division of parenting in the UK leaves a lot to be desired. Asher's premise is that in the UK the vast majority of day to day parenting is still left to women and that, as a result, mothers tend to...
Published on 26 Jun. 2011 by Fleur
6 of 51 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Unvanquished, Communism returns to be welcomed by idiots who never learn
Communism wasn't much of a success and led to much human misery. Feminism is a similar destructive invention from Central Europe that promises to yield as much grief. The result is reflected in the comments of the fanaticized readers who have given this cunning neo-communist concoction 5 stars. The thousands of similar books and magazines that preceded it, have created...
Published on 7 Jun. 2012 by Gordon Logan
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An utterly convincing, very readable and important book,
Shattered is non-fiction at its best, well researched and well referenced but humanised by first-hand accounts and enlivened by Asher's very convincing argument that the division of parenting in the UK leaves a lot to be desired. Asher's premise is that in the UK the vast majority of day to day parenting is still left to women and that, as a result, mothers tend to become marginalised in the work place while fathers are sidelined at home and children short-changed.
In the UK girls outperform boys at school and enter the workforce with an expectation that they can get as far as men. Following the birth of their first child however a huge number of women find, if they return to work at all, that their careers have to adapt to fit around childcare and household management. In contrast, few fathers in the UK change their working patterns in any significant way. On the contrary, if anything, they often increase their effort at work to provide for their families. This, argues Asher, is a situation implicitly supported by government and employer attitudes from the moment a woman becomes pregnant.
While maternity leave in the UK has become more generous over recent years, paternity leave and paternity pay remain laughably inadequate. As dads are forced back to work, it is the mother who gets to really understand the child and who typically becomes more expert at addressing its needs. When maternity leave ends it then seems natural to many families that it is the mother who considers reducing her hours or stopping work altogether. Asher acknowledges that this suits some women but argues that the impact for many and for society as a whole is strongly disadvantageous, reducing financial independence and the opportunities for self expression and professional fulfilment. Even where women continue to work full time, they often continue to bear primary responsibility for childcare and home management.
From April this year, paternity leave rights have been extended in the UK but Asher is pessimistic that the policy change will have much effect without better remuneration of parental leave and stronger incentives for men to take time off work. The book explores parental leave and employment policy across Europe and the US and makes recommendations for improving the situation in which we find ourselves here in the UK.
Asher is critical of the media, advertisers and the huge industry that peddles parenting advice and equipment to families in the UK. Advertising reinforces the idea that it is mothers who are the primary carers of children while the media fetishises parenting and demonises mothers. Mothers themselves are not let off the hook entirely by this book. I winced as Asher pointed out how quick we can be to hover over our partners' attempts to get involved with parenting and housework, intervening when things aren't done exactly as we want.
I was utterly convinced by this book's case that both women and men are being short changed by current practice. It has inspired me to look again at the expectations I have of my own partners' involvement at home and my own hours at work. I have urged all my friends to read it and I hope somewhere out there policy makers are reading it too.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Awesome!!!!!!!!!,
I guess the title I gave this review sums it up really. I have read a few Feminist books but a number of these were written some time ago and were therefore somewhat out-dated in their views or were written by American authors focussing on the US (not a bad thing of course, but there are differences between the situation in the UK and that of women in the US).
I picked this book up and thought it looked interesting- not only is it fairly recent but it is also written with a focus on the situation of women in the UK. Rebecca is a good writer who keeps the reader engaged throughout, she also provides sound evidence for her arguments with no shortage of references.
The topic of modern motherhood is an exceptionally important one as it effects all of us, whether we are parents or not. This is an area where we must continue pushing for equality for men and women. This book makes a solid argument for an equal society (NB: she does not man bash at all - which is great as I would have binned the book if she did!)and is an excellent contribution to an important discussion that we as a society need to engage in.
This is a great book, I cannot recommend it enough!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Changed the way my partner and I do things,
Very motivating book, albeit a bit ranting at times. It is really well researched, at the same time as it was quite emotional as I recognised myself so well. But it gave my partner and I some fantastic ideas on how we can make our relationship more equal in the face of being parents, without sending our child to nursery full time. My partner is handing in his application for flexible working today, and I hope to increase my hours at work. I hope more people read this book and realise the value of work and childcare for both parents.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading for all new parents!,
Since having my first child five years ago, the most frequent topic of conversation with other new mums has been the disparity between our own roles and those of our partners. Why did we suddenly transform from being equals to living lives that were poles apart? How could life not have moved on from the 1950s? This insightful book gives voice to women's frustrations about their place within the family and society at large. Alongside the often amusing, sometimes heartbreaking testimony of hundreds of mums and dads, Rebecca Asher looks at the root causes of this inequality and, more importantly, puts forward practical steps that the government, employers and individuals can take to help redress the balance. I would urge all new mums and dads to read this book if they care about creating a fairer society for their children.
22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars witty & insightful,
I loved this book (and stayed up late into the night reading it)!
Having read a couple of reviews, I expected it to be fairly insightful but what surprised me was how readable it was. Actually, it was pretty funny in parts and I loved the bits where the author explains her own conflicted feelings and experiences. It helped me make sense of the disconnect between my expectations as a proffessional woman and my experience as a new mother. As a thirty-something, my own mother's generation fought to ensure I had choices beyond her own horizons and I worked bloody hard to reach a level in my profession where I could realise my own ambitions before starting a family (which proffession, incidentally, is legal so I knew my rights and shouldn't be worried about telling my boss I wanted 12 months maternity leave, right? Ha!). So, this book really resonated with my personal experience.
I was interested, on a proffessional and personal level, in how other countries handle these issues (how come our German and Scandinavian neighbours always seem to have a more balanced perspective on these things than us Brits?) and there were lots of really useful comparisons with other European countries. It wasn't just the bald facts and figures or legal rights (interesting though this was); the author recorded the personal experiences of various mothers and fathers in her case studies. Actually, that was one of things that I really liked about the book; it wasn't some "woe is me" female diatribe but very balanced; she considered the male perspective and experience just as much as the female one (so much so that my husband is now reading this book!).
I don't know whether to be depressed by the book's compelling argument that inequality is alive and well (to the detriment of men as well as women) or encouraged by the fact that there are writers out there who are not afraid to confront this issue with wit and refreshing honesty.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT book,
I loved this book! I just couldn't put it down. At first I thought "every mother should read this!" but as I read on, I thought "every father should read this too!" Inequality that impacts mainly on mothers in the workplace divides fathers from their children at home. RA shows how everyone (including the children) lose out - women because their careers suffer; men because they spend less time with their children. The first hand accounts and interviews underline her points and illustrate how difficult it can be for parents to balance their lives.
Ultimately this is an inspiring book. Having painted rather a gloomy picture (in an authoritative and interesting way), the author shows how there could be a dramatic turnaround in Britain today. Citing examples from other countries, and looking closely at attitudes to parenting in Britain, she shows that change is possible. This book points the way to the logical next step for equality in this country - we've looked at the workplace, but equality begins at home.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well Written and Interesting,
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This book is well written in a journalistic, story-telling style. It was a good read and deals with the issues that real mothers face today when they become a mother for the first or second time etc. It deals with working versus staying at home, changes in social life, changes in relationships... I used this book as a reference for my own research into the difficulties mothers face in the United Kingdom.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for book groups!,
This review is from: Shattered: Modern Motherhood and the Illusion of Equality (Paperback)
We read this excellent book for our book group and it provided 8 women with very different family/ work dynamics with excellent food for thought for a 3 hour plus discussion. Very thought-provoking and refreshing. The fight for equality is far from over and this book shows us why.
5.0 out of 5 stars You are not alone...,
This book is a joy to read. It won't necessarily sort out some of your worries about returning to work, being back at work or even staying at home after maternity leave - but it really reassures you that you are not alone. The book has been put together through extensive interviewing of mothers and fathers - it speaks so much truth, and for that I praise it. It does not patronise a mother at work, at home or whatever route you decide to take. So many books do patronise you with hollow words that do not sound like they come from anyone who knows how the motherhood/work combo feels. It covers foreign policy, and how other governments deal with maternity/paternity leave which is really interesting - but I found it really relevant as it is based on the practicalities of the UK. High praise for a very informative and comforting book. Great to hear that so many others have the same thoughts.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read!,
This is a must read - whether you're contemplating starting a family or already raising one, a mum or a dad.
It is the first book that I've read that has really identified the challenges I have felt trying to juggle motherhood and a career. It is hugely insightful with not only comments from a wide range of other parents about their experiences of these multi-faceted challenges, but also analysis of the policy approaches of other countries to try to address these. This leads to a compelling final chapter which sets out a framework for greater equality in parenthood. It suggests a number of policy changes needed, but perhaps more importantly sets out a number of steps we can take ourselves as parents (both mum and dad) to try to improve the parenting experience - definite food for thought and action!
This is an uplifting and engaging read, a book you can easily pick up once the kids are in bed, dishes done and bags packed for tomorrow...
Shattered: Modern Motherhood and the Illusion of Equality
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Shattered: Modern Motherhood and the Illusion of Equality by Rebecca Asher (Paperback - 5 April 2012)