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Book Review: "Fair Play" by Eve Rodsky

Updated: 6 days ago




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Late last year, I wrote a review on the Fair Play Game, an innovative tool designed to help couples redistribute household responsibilities more equitably. However, my curiosity didn't end there. I discovered that the creator of the game, Eve Rodsky, also authored a book titled "Fair Play." With an impressive 4.4 rating on Amazon, I couldn't resist picking up a copy to delve deeper into her insights.


Who is Eve Rodsky?


Eve Rodsky is a Harvard-trained lawyer, organizational management expert, and New York Times bestselling author. Her work focuses on helping couples create a more balanced 21st-century partnership at home by achieving greater fairness in their relationships through modern-day solutions.


Eve Rodsky


What do I think of this book?


Having already played the game before diving into the book, I found Rodsky's writing engaging. Her conversational tone made me feel as though I was sitting right beside her, absorbing her own and other stories through her research. I believe many working moms, regardless if you have ADHD or not, will resonate with the challenges depicted in the book, as they mirror common struggles faced by married couples everywhere. Overall, "Fair Play" serves as an good companion to the game, offering further insights and guidance for couples striving to create harmony in their households.


3 Reasons Why I Recommend This Book


1. Normal couples have the same problems too, just like ADHD couples


Rodsky's approach acknowledges that the challenges of household management are not exclusive to couples affected by ADHD. By highlighting common issues faced by all couples, such as the devaluation of female partners' time, the internalization of outdated beliefs, and the pressure on women to meet higher standards, Rodsky makes her strategies accessible to a broader audience. Through multiple examples shared throughout her book, it helps non-ADHD spouses, like me, understand that the grass is not greener for "normal" couples. Every marriage, regardless of whether you are with an ADHD spouse or not, faces challenges. Here are a couple of examples that spoke to me:


  • For example, on page 72 and 73, Rodsky shared the schedules of her friends, Scott and Michelle, who are a couple with kids, own and work in the company together. As you can see, Michelle's schedule is much longer, but the bold in the schedule are never really written down, so it is invisible to Scott. For me, while I don't have kids, I still was expected to make dinner, regardless of how busy I am. Sometimes, I would come home late due to a large workload and find my ADHD spouse just made himself a meal, with nothing for me.


Schedule differences in the Fair Play book Page 72 and 73

  • Another example is on page 29, where Rodsky talks about the cost to women in a marriage.


The cost to your partnership or marriage, in the form of exhaustions, resentment and resignation to feeling alone and isolated in you relationship.

This is what non-ADHD spouses, including myself, feel from time to time. We all thought that it is ADHD that is costing our relationship, but in reality, all relationships, even when ADHD is not a factor, could experience exhaustion, resentment, feeling alone, and isolated. Rodsky does a great job of highlighting many of these common toxic messages (a.k.a. boundaries that we might have let other crossed) and provides her perspective by reframing the toxic messages to provide a new perspective that we, ourselves, could change the narrative.


2. Detailed explanation of each card in the game


While playing the Fair Play Game, both my spouse and I often questioned what some of the cards meant. While the Fair Play Game website does provide definitions for each card, having the definition in the book minimizes distractions for the ADHD spouse, since jumping online could be a distraction for them.


3. Moving away from shared tasks


When we think of equality, many of us automatically associate it with splitting tasks down the middle. However, this approach often leads to accountability issues and dissatisfaction because partners have different expectations or standards. Rodsky advocates for one partner to take ownership of an entire task and for couples to discuss the minimal standard of care (i.e., mutually agreed expectations or standards). This approach eliminates the blame game and makes it easier for non-ADHD spouses to provide praise and recognition. Having played and followed the division of tasks from the game ourselves, it is a much better system for us, especially myself, than having shared responsibility on a task because expectations are set up front, instead of waiting for the spouse to perform the task WITHOUT knowing the expectations.


Conclusion


"Fair Play" by Eve Rodsky is a great read for non-ADHD spouses seeking to cultivate a more balanced and harmonious partnership. I strongly recommend this book to other non-ADHD spouses to read if they are at the top of their rollercoaster because the stories that Rodsky tells help reframe many of our assumptions. While it is tailored more for women, I believe male spouses could also benefit from the book by understanding the societal, peer, and partner expectations placed on women. Whether you're navigating the challenges of ADHD or simply striving for greater equity in your relationship, this book offers valuable insights and practical strategies to help you achieve your goals.



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