Home ContentBook Review: What Women Want Next, by Susan Mausart

Book Review: What Women Want Next, by Susan Mausart

Published : August 31, 2015

The question of the century for women all over the world is posed by Susan Maushart in her fourth book, What Women Want Next. What do they want? What will make everything ‘better’ for women?

Reviewed by Serena Nathan


“When I was a teenager I thought love would solve everything. In my early twenties I thought sex would solve everything. By my late twenties I thought a career would solve everything.


“At age thirty I thought marriage would solve everything, and then—when it didn’t—I was sure motherhood would. By my late thirties, following a brief period of certainty that therapy would solve everything, I became convinced that divorce would solve everything. At forty I saw how absurd this all was, and decided to renovate,” writes author Susan Maushart, who has lived in Perth now for almost twenty years since moving from New York.


Susan doesn’t exactly answer the big questions, but she looks very closely at what ‘happiness’ means for women (and men) and makes some fascinating points about our expectations is what it means to be happy and fulfilled.


“In trying to understand why greater quality for women has not necessarily translated into greater happiness for women, it is necessary to look at what we mean by…’happiness’.”


She explains that unhappiness is an essential component of happiness – you can’t have one without knowing the other:


“The happiest people in the world are also the most dissatisfied. That’s what intensity is all about: intensity across the entire range of emotions… Feeling authentically happy,” Maushart writes “isn’’t just about having good feelings. It’s about being entitled to those feelings.”


What Women Want Next also looks closely at that old chestnut for women: Guilt. All the ideas examined are drawn together in a simple and intelligent discussion that makes a lot of sense.


It’s an intensely interesting book, and having been written in the chatty, funny style that Susan Maushart is known for in her Australian Magazine columns makes is an enjoyable, easy to read book. Those of us who are stressed, busy, juggling motherhood and jobs, or juggling one or the other, will get a great deal from this book.


Susan's books include Sort of a Place Like Home (1993), which won the Festival Prize for Non-Fiction at the Adelaide Writer's Festival in 1994; The Mask of Motherhood (1997), described by The Sunday Times of London as "a feminist classic" and Wifework (2001), "fast, funny and 100% honest", according to US Publishers Weekly.



Available at all major bookshops in Australia

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