The Wife Drought Annabel CrabbTHE VERDICT:

This book will have you jumping up and down, and shouting ‘let’s get this revolution started!’

Who’s it for:

Anyone who’s ever pondered why Australian women still aren’t smashing the glass ceiling

It’ll take you:

About five hours. Easy reading.

The bottom line:

When you’ve finished, you’ll feel like waving this book in the air and shouting ‘Yes. Yes. Let’s get this revolution started!’

What the back cover says:

The Wife Drought is about women, men, family and work. Written in Annabel Crabb’s inimitable style, it’s full of candid and funny stories from the author’s work in and around politics and the media, historical nuggets about the role of ‘The Wife’ in Australia, and intriguing research about the attitudes that pulse beneath the surface of egalitarian Australia.

What I say:

Ever played that ‘fantasy dinner party’ game where you get to pick six people you’d most like to have dinner with? Well, Annabel Crabb absolutely tops my list. Sorry, darling husband.

Whip smart, witty, hilariously funny, stylish and a fabulous cook to boot (you may have seen the delights she cooks up in ABC TV’s Kitchen Cabinet) – what’s not to love? Thankfully, all of these qualities (minus the cooking) translate beautifully to the page.

The Wife Drought: Why women need a wife and men need a life is a thoughtful, entertaining and intelligent contribution to the ongoing discussion about how women and men juggle work and family life – a conversation which, as politicians would say, is a BBQ stopper.

Have we really got the balance right? As Crabb says, ‘In focusing so hard on encouraging women to lean in, we’ve neglected to convince men of their entitlement to lean out once in a while.’ As demonstrated by study after study, and statistic after statistic (which Crabb cites), the male breadwinner is a powerful model to which Australians seem desperately attached. Why do we discuss women and work, in isolation from men and family life? It makes no sense, and as Crabb argues, as long as we continue to do this, little progress will be made.

While the book has solid, researched foundations, they are balanced by the sheer entertainment of the read. There are laugh out loud moments, and you will get a sore neck from nodding in recognition at so many of her anecdotes. Her writing voice is as funny and articulate as her actual voice, and it is free of judgement. This is not a book to fuel gender wars, it’s a book designed to bring genders closer together.

Now, all that’s left to do is for me to find a wife, become a politician, and hope that Annabel might one day invite me onto Kitchen Cabinet so we can have that dinner after all.

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