Ads Banner
Hot Best Seller

Three Women

Availability: Ready to download

Desire as we’ve never seen it before: a riveting true story about the sex lives of three real American women, based on nearly a decade of reporting. It thrills us and torments us. It controls our thoughts and destroys our lives. It’s all we live for. Yet we almost never speak of it. And as a buried force in our lives, desire remains largely unexplored—until now. Over the pas Desire as we’ve never seen it before: a riveting true story about the sex lives of three real American women, based on nearly a decade of reporting. It thrills us and torments us. It controls our thoughts and destroys our lives. It’s all we live for. Yet we almost never speak of it. And as a buried force in our lives, desire remains largely unexplored—until now. Over the past eight years, journalist Lisa Taddeo has driven across the country six times to embed herself with ordinary women from different regions and backgrounds. The result, Three Women, is the deepest nonfiction portrait of desire ever written. We begin in suburban Indiana with Lina, a homemaker and mother of two whose marriage, after a decade, has lost its passion. She passes her days cooking and cleaning for a man who refuses to kiss her on the mouth, protesting that “the sensation offends” him. To Lina’s horror, even her marriage counselor says her husband’s position is valid. Starved for affection, Lina battles daily panic attacks. When she reconnects with an old flame through social media, she embarks on an affair that quickly becomes all-consuming. In North Dakota we meet Maggie, a seventeen-year-old high school student who finds a confidant in her handsome, married English teacher. By Maggie’s account, supportive nightly texts and phone calls evolve into a clandestine physical relationship, with plans to skip school on her eighteenth birthday and make love all day; instead, he breaks up with her on the morning he turns thirty. A few years later, Maggie has no degree, no career, and no dreams to live for. When she learns that this man has been named North Dakota’s Teacher of the Year, she steps forward with her story—and is met with disbelief by former schoolmates and the jury that hears her case. The trial will turn their quiet community upside down. Finally, in an exclusive enclave of the Northeast, we meet Sloane—a gorgeous, successful, and refined restaurant owner—who is happily married to a man who likes to watch her have sex with other men and women. He picks out partners for her alone or for a threesome, and she ensures that everyone’s needs are satisfied. For years, Sloane has been asking herself where her husband’s desire ends and hers begins. One day, they invite a new man into their bed—but he brings a secret with him that will finally force Sloane to confront the uneven power dynamics that fuel their lifestyle. Based on years of immersive reporting, and told with astonishing frankness and immediacy, Three Women is a groundbreaking portrait of erotic longing in today’s America, exposing the fragility, complexity, and inequality of female desire with unprecedented depth and emotional power. It is both a feat of journalism and a triumph of storytelling, brimming with nuance and empathy, that introduces us to three unforgettable women—and one remarkable writer—whose experiences remind us that we are not alone.


Compare
Ads Banner

Desire as we’ve never seen it before: a riveting true story about the sex lives of three real American women, based on nearly a decade of reporting. It thrills us and torments us. It controls our thoughts and destroys our lives. It’s all we live for. Yet we almost never speak of it. And as a buried force in our lives, desire remains largely unexplored—until now. Over the pas Desire as we’ve never seen it before: a riveting true story about the sex lives of three real American women, based on nearly a decade of reporting. It thrills us and torments us. It controls our thoughts and destroys our lives. It’s all we live for. Yet we almost never speak of it. And as a buried force in our lives, desire remains largely unexplored—until now. Over the past eight years, journalist Lisa Taddeo has driven across the country six times to embed herself with ordinary women from different regions and backgrounds. The result, Three Women, is the deepest nonfiction portrait of desire ever written. We begin in suburban Indiana with Lina, a homemaker and mother of two whose marriage, after a decade, has lost its passion. She passes her days cooking and cleaning for a man who refuses to kiss her on the mouth, protesting that “the sensation offends” him. To Lina’s horror, even her marriage counselor says her husband’s position is valid. Starved for affection, Lina battles daily panic attacks. When she reconnects with an old flame through social media, she embarks on an affair that quickly becomes all-consuming. In North Dakota we meet Maggie, a seventeen-year-old high school student who finds a confidant in her handsome, married English teacher. By Maggie’s account, supportive nightly texts and phone calls evolve into a clandestine physical relationship, with plans to skip school on her eighteenth birthday and make love all day; instead, he breaks up with her on the morning he turns thirty. A few years later, Maggie has no degree, no career, and no dreams to live for. When she learns that this man has been named North Dakota’s Teacher of the Year, she steps forward with her story—and is met with disbelief by former schoolmates and the jury that hears her case. The trial will turn their quiet community upside down. Finally, in an exclusive enclave of the Northeast, we meet Sloane—a gorgeous, successful, and refined restaurant owner—who is happily married to a man who likes to watch her have sex with other men and women. He picks out partners for her alone or for a threesome, and she ensures that everyone’s needs are satisfied. For years, Sloane has been asking herself where her husband’s desire ends and hers begins. One day, they invite a new man into their bed—but he brings a secret with him that will finally force Sloane to confront the uneven power dynamics that fuel their lifestyle. Based on years of immersive reporting, and told with astonishing frankness and immediacy, Three Women is a groundbreaking portrait of erotic longing in today’s America, exposing the fragility, complexity, and inequality of female desire with unprecedented depth and emotional power. It is both a feat of journalism and a triumph of storytelling, brimming with nuance and empathy, that introduces us to three unforgettable women—and one remarkable writer—whose experiences remind us that we are not alone.

30 review for Three Women

  1. 4 out of 5

    Roxane

    What even is this book? Broadly, it follows the desires and sex lives of three women but... it feels like a novelization more than reportage. Ten years of following these women went into this book but the author seems more concerned with transcription than any sort of thoughtful analysis. She draws no significant conclusions on the nature of women’s desires. Also, the title could be “Three White Women,” as all three women chronicled here are white. There is nothing wrong with that but it is such What even is this book? Broadly, it follows the desires and sex lives of three women but... it feels like a novelization more than reportage. Ten years of following these women went into this book but the author seems more concerned with transcription than any sort of thoughtful analysis. She draws no significant conclusions on the nature of women’s desires. Also, the title could be “Three White Women,” as all three women chronicled here are white. There is nothing wrong with that but it is such a narrow sample. How are you going to write about women’s desires and only look at one kind of woman? I kept expecting more than transcription and so when I got to the end and there was no there there I was quite angry.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Emily May

    It wasn't regular, what you did, and now here I am. Look at me. I put this war paint on, but underneath I'm scarred and scared and horny and tired and love you. I can understand why many readers were disappointed with this book. Luckily for me, it was recommended to me the right way: by a friend who painted it as a juicy and compelling portrait of three women's sex lives. Not as some amazing non-fiction project that contains the secrets of female desire. If you came for the latter, I thi It wasn't regular, what you did, and now here I am. Look at me. I put this war paint on, but underneath I'm scarred and scared and horny and tired and love you. I can understand why many readers were disappointed with this book. Luckily for me, it was recommended to me the right way: by a friend who painted it as a juicy and compelling portrait of three women's sex lives. Not as some amazing non-fiction project that contains the secrets of female desire. If you came for the latter, I think disappointment awaits. Three Women is delicious and gossipy. It has its heartbreaking moments, too, but it is mostly a book full of scandalous thrills that narrates far more than it analyzes. So many of my friends read this expecting Taddeo's eight years of research to culminate in something more eye-opening, more diverse and representative of women as a whole. But the title really says it all: this is a book about THREE women. Nothing more. It worked well for me, honestly. I knew what I was getting. It reads like a novelization of these women's experiences - in fact, I suspect some parts were embellished for better reading - but I found it very entertaining. The book follows - you guessed it - three women and their sex lives. Maggie had a relationship with her married teacher in high school and still bears the scars, Lina is having a passionate affair behind her emotionally-detached husband's back, and Sloane has sex with lots of different people because her husband likes to watch. Judge me all you want, but I couldn't look away! One criticism I read was of how this wasn't a very feminist book because all the women's sex lives were influenced or controlled by men. This is true to some extent, and yet Taddeo didn't seem to portray any of the women's stories as necessarily positive or healthy. Through the women's experiences, Taddeo touches upon how gender inequality punishes women for their desire, whether it is a young girl being taken advantage of by an adult man or a married woman feeling trapped in a passionless relationship. It is, of course, very limited in its scope, and I find it frustrating that someone saw fit to market this book as some kind of desire manifesto for American women, especially when it's sample - as the title outright admits - is ridiculously tiny. The book itself is very engaging, the three women's stores are interesting, but how anyone could read this and imagine it is representative of most American women, never mind all, is beyond my comprehension. If you like novels, genre fiction, scandals and being nosy, I recommend it. If you are in search of an in-depth study of desire, I would look elsewhere. Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube

  3. 4 out of 5

    Elyse (retired from reviewing/semi hiatus) Walters

    Audiobook... read by Tara Lynne Barr, Marin Ireland, Mena Suvari, and Lisa Taddeo I’ve listened to 3 hours so far - of the 11 hours and 24 minutes. Dave Eggers said: “I can’t imagine a scenario where this isn’t one of the more important - and breathlessly debated - books of the year”. 🤔 Well... let the debates begin!!! I don’t feel this book is worth the praise it’s getting - at all. My thoughts so far.... Honest thoughts? I think very little of it!! The concept might have b Audiobook... read by Tara Lynne Barr, Marin Ireland, Mena Suvari, and Lisa Taddeo I’ve listened to 3 hours so far - of the 11 hours and 24 minutes. Dave Eggers said: “I can’t imagine a scenario where this isn’t one of the more important - and breathlessly debated - books of the year”. 🤔 Well... let the debates begin!!! I don’t feel this book is worth the praise it’s getting - at all. My thoughts so far.... Honest thoughts? I think very little of it!! The concept might have been a great idea.... But 8 YEARS of research about women’s sexual desires -resulted in THIS??? Its soooooo boring mixed with sappy flowery prose. After the prologue... and basic information about Lisa - her mother - and Lisa’s purpose -its been downhill for me. Maybe??? I’ll climb the hill again - but so far.....it’s a crappy disappointment!! The sample read on Audiobook was great. It’s from the prologue... BECAUSE ITS THE BEST PART! The narrators voice who represents Maggie’s story has such a high pitch voice - she sounds like a child... it doesn’t fit the dialogue. Honestly... my emotions are high - but not ‘for’ the book... I’m kinda appalled - its triggered anger in me. I feel manipulated by the writing...( hate that feeling).. We can intellectualize all we want about the “importance” - ha - of this book... but personally - I think it’s dramatic-dullness is too full of itself. I’m sorry for being so ‘mean’ ... I just don’t get the hype - the value - and MOST... I’m not ‘feeling’ anything ... beyond the prologue. Lina’s and Sloan’s story is at least read better than Maggie’s story. Nothing has surprised me - Nothing has moved me. I’m going to stay with it, though - see the book to the end. Hoping it improves. The writing - although skillful - feels pretentious to me.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Roman Clodia

    This is quite a perplexing book as I'm not sure what Taddeo's intentions were. She takes three American women and tells their stories of failed love, disappointing marriages, unmet or unfulfilled sexual and emotional needs. In some ways the stories are different and, almost deliberately (?) echo themes covered in recent fiction: Lina, in a sexless marriage, falls into an affair with her high-school boyfriend; Maggie is 'groomed' into a sexual relationship with her high-school teacher; Sloane fin This is quite a perplexing book as I'm not sure what Taddeo's intentions were. She takes three American women and tells their stories of failed love, disappointing marriages, unmet or unfulfilled sexual and emotional needs. In some ways the stories are different and, almost deliberately (?) echo themes covered in recent fiction: Lina, in a sexless marriage, falls into an affair with her high-school boyfriend; Maggie is 'groomed' into a sexual relationship with her high-school teacher; Sloane finds herself introduced to open marriage built around a ménage theme, and recognises herself as a submissive after reading 'Fifty Shades of Grey'. And yet, all three have commonalities: all three women are essentially unfulfilled; all are, to greater or lesser extents, exploited by men. Lina and Maggie are desperately pleading for love from married men who call them up when they choose. Sloane has a troubled history of anorexia/bulimia and despite her seeming assurance, traces early examples of male familial disapproval which affected her adolescence. What I found disturbing about the book is a seeming gender essentialism which shows us abject women in thrall to powerful men who control their relationships whether through being unavailable emotionally and physically, sometimes because they're married, or, in the case of Sloane, by a voyeurism which makes her the sexualised object beneath a dual male gaze. The overall tone is one of dysfunctional masochism, especially in the cases of Lina and Maggie. It's fascinating to see other women's inner lives but it's also frustrating to see how much pain, misery and lack of agency inhabit these (love) lives. The implication seems to be that whatever happens to level the playing field for women publicly and professionally, there's still an underground struggle for some women who want to be loved in ways that their men and their own choices seem to preclude. Thanks to Bloomsbury for an ARC via NetGalley.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    “If you have a husband who barely touches you. If you have a husband who touches you too much, who grabs your hand and puts it on his penis when you’re trying to read about electric fences for golden retrievers. If you have a husband who plays video games more than he touches your arm. If you have a husband who eats the bun off your plate when you’ve left it but you aren’t one hundred percent done with it. If you don’t have a husband at all. If your husband died. If your wife died. If your wife “If you have a husband who barely touches you. If you have a husband who touches you too much, who grabs your hand and puts it on his penis when you’re trying to read about electric fences for golden retrievers. If you have a husband who plays video games more than he touches your arm. If you have a husband who eats the bun off your plate when you’ve left it but you aren’t one hundred percent done with it. If you don’t have a husband at all. If your husband died. If your wife died. If your wife looks at your penis like a leftover piece of meat loaf she doesn’t want to eat but also refuses to throw out. If your wife miscarried late into her term and isn’t the same person and she turns her back to you, or she turns her emails to someone else. It’s impossible to be with Lina and not think about everything in your own life that is missing, or whatever you think is missing because you don’t feel whole on your own…” - Lisa Taddeo, Three Women It is hard to know where to start with Lisa Taddeo’s fascinating, frustrating, and utterly absorbing Three Women. So, let’s start with her thesis statement. This project began with Taddeo’s yearning to write “a book about human desire.” Perhaps something along the lines of Thy Neighbor’s Wife, Gay Talese’s classic of the sexual revolution. As Taddeo explains in a brief forward, however, she soon ran into some obstacles. First, after talking with three different men, she decided that all male desire “began to bleed together.” This is a rather vague way of writing-off literally half the human population, but no big deal. Male desire (in its infinite variations, I might add) has been covered before. It is entirely legitimate to focus solely on women. Accordingly, Taddeo readjusted her focus to encompass only female desire. To gather research, she crossed the country six times, putting up fliers and loitering in coffee shops, to find women willing to have a frank (as in open-your-diary frank) discussion. She gives no indication as to what neighborhoods she entered, or what neighborhoods she avoided, or where she put up her fliers, but suffice to say, she did not gather a statistically valid random sample. Instead, she ran into the second obstacle, to wit: finding willing participants. Taddeo was clearly looking to do a soul-deep dive, to attain a level of detail that is shocking, even in this era of oversharing. It’s a big ask, and it is not surprising that many potential subjects eventually balked and withdrew. Thus, Taddeo’s original project was whittled down once more. No longer a book about female desire, it transformed into a book about the desires (however that is defined) of three women. The three women are Maggie, Lina, and Sloane. (Maggie, due to her circumstances, is the only one not afforded a pseudonym). All three are white. All are straight. This might seem circumscribed, but I can accept it as being in the nature of this kind of book, which relies on a certain kind of willing participant. Obviously, this is a self-selected group, made up of individuals who are – I venture to say – different from most of the rest of us by sheer dint of the fact that they were willing to respond to Taddeo’s initial query, and later willing to see this through to the end. These are unique humans in that they are willing to say aloud, to a writer, things most people hesitate to say to themselves. Maggie is a sixteen-year old raised by parents who seem to be functioning alcoholics. (It is stated that her family is somehow unstable, but that instability is not defined). Shortly after meeting her, she has sex with a thirty-something soldier while visiting Hawaii. This troubling event is only the beginning, as the bulk of Maggie’s tale is her affair (which includes sexual activity, though not intercourse) with married North Dakota Teacher of the Year Aaron Knodel. (The trial was highly publicized, hence the use of Maggie’s and Knodel’s real names). Lina is introduced via a women’s group session at the Kinsey Institute. She is an Indiana housewife married to a postal worker who refuses to kiss her. As in: literally refuses to kiss her ever. Eventually, Lina hooks up with an old high-school flame who provides great sex, though only on his timetable, and only on his terms. Her affair is a doomed and passionate thing. Finally, there is Sloane, who comes from wealth, lives near the sea, is married to a chef, and owns a restaurant with her husband. She is also a swinger whose husband likes to watch her with other men. She is not sure if she likes this and is not sure if she does not like it. Sloane is the most opaque, the most unknowable. She sleeps with women, for instance, yet she never identifies as bisexual. Of the three, Sloane’s story seems the least vital; I appreciated her chapters mainly as a respite from the visceral, oft-excruciating, oft-heartbreaking Maggie and Lina chapters. Taddeo’s writing is consistently amazing. Not in the sense that she is a wonderful prose stylist (though at times the prose is wonderful), but in the way that she inhabits each of her three subjects. Each woman has their own distinctive voice, and the narrative unfolds from each of their individual points of view. Taddeo almost becomes more of a conduit than an author. It makes for gripping reading. Like many talented persons, Taddeo tends to show off, meaning that she occasionally delivers a clunker of a line. For example, while describing Lina’s women’s group, she observes that: “The wine tastes like cold sneezes.” First, ew. Second, what? The things I do not know about female desire can fill the infinite void of outer space. Bad wine, on the other hand, is my expertise. I live on the bottom shelf, with the five-dollar liter-and-a-halfs of chardonnay, and I have never tasted wine that resembles a “wet sneeze.” It’s a description too clever by half. (I’m sure that Taddeo wants nothing to do with a Norman Mailer comparison, but Mailer did this very thing in The Executioner’s Song. Like Mailer in his opus, she attempts to subsume herself into the lexicon of her characters, speaking through them. Like Mailer, she proves unable to resist delivering a polished phrase or two that could only have come from her). Three Women is getting a lot of buzz for a lot of reasons. One of the big reasons is the sex. There is a lot of sex here. We’re talking levels of detail that are unprecedented this side of outright erotica. Some of Lina’s scenes, in particular, are step-by-step, which leads one to wonder how Taddeo gained her information. Is she just a great interviewer? Or was she there? (Talese, infamously, inserted – pun intended – himself into many of his sexual misadventures while writing Thy Neighbor’s Wife). Unfortunately, Taddeo provides maddeningly little information about her methodology, so we are left to wonder. There are no endnotes, footnotes, or explanations with regard to her research. This is a trust me kind of book. As in, you need to trust that the author is being honest. This is fairly easy in the Maggie chapters, since Taddeo could corroborate with trial records, police reports, and the like. In other instances, though, it seems that we are being given single-sourced episodes. There is no indication, for example, that Taddeo spoke, or attempted to speak, with Ed, Lina’s husband, to get his side of the story. (I will reiterate that I am perfectly content with Taddeo’s decision to avoid the male perspective. God knows that libraries are filled with those perspectives. The result, though, is less than wholly empathetic, and turns the men into one-dimensional bit-characters, rather than people who are alive, right now, who might view the same occurrences quite differently). I assume you have already guessed what I am about to say next. If not, here it is: prurient interest was one of the motivating factors that led me here. When I am informed that something is graphic, or extreme, or possibly in bad taste, I make sure I get to the front of the line to see it. (This is the reason, and the only reason, I have viewed the films of Lars von Trier). I simply cannot resist. But if you are looking for titillation – something to read round the pool with a glass of sun-gold iced chardonnay, hoping for a bit of an edge to your wine-buzz – you will be disappointed. Three Women is far from cheaply exploitative as we are from the former-planet named Pluto. It is, at times, immensely sad, even a bit grim. There is sexual assault, substance abuse, suicide, depression. There are aching holes of undefined need that cannot be explained, much less filled. Of the three women, only Lina expresses any positivity towards sex-for-pleasure. Even she is searching for something, something that goes beyond the physical grapple-and-release. Besides the raw depictions of sexuality, Three Women is sure to engender a bit of controversy. I am speaking, in particular, of the Maggie conundrum. As mentioned above, Taddeo disappears behind the eyes of each of her subjects. This creates a scenario in which there is no overarching authorial voice to nudge us toward an answer or to define a moral boundary. A positive result is that there are no judgments (and Taddeo makes clear that she disapproves the way women judge other women). The downside is that Maggie’s entire arc is devoted to her being statutorily raped by older men. This discomfiting reality is wholly ignored, aside from a fleeting sentence or two in the epilogue. While I was reading this, I noticed an item trending on social media, cluttering my Facebook and Twitter feeds. The item was a simple phrase, stating that: “An underage woman is a girl.” The point, obviously enough, was to criticize the mainstream media for its coverage of sexual assault of minors. This internet flare-up proved an interesting counterpoint to Three Women, where wholly one-third of the space is taken up with an asymmetrical, coercive relationship between an older man in authority and a teenage girl without any leverage, which is shown as entirely consensual. More than that, Taddeo’s presentation essentially concludes that Maggie only went to the police after she was jilted and overtaken by bitterness that her “ex” had moved on with his life. The result is an uncomfortable collision between feminism and the #MeToo movement that is, unfortunately, never explored. (In fairness to Taddeo, raising issues without providing guidance is a pedagogically astute way of starting conversations). As I said at the top: it is hard to know what to say about Three Women. It is also hard to stop talking about it, as this two-thousand-word ramble attests. Certainly, it has stuck in my memory far longer than anything else I’ve read in a long time. The paths of Lina and Maggie in particular would support their very own, very different, very powerful books. Taddeo’s act of possession, of speaking as another, and her decision to be a scribe rather than a judge, leaves a lot of lingering questions and discussion points, assuring this title a spot in book clubs for decades to come. Ultimately, I don’t think Taddeo proves any universal truth about desire, female or otherwise. Mostly, she got me to care very intensely about people I’ve never met, who I wouldn’t recognize if I saw them crossing the street, and who I devoutly hope will be okay. It is, above all else, a singular work of intimacy and compassion.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Lafferty

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. TLDR: I hated this book so much that I’m genuinely angry Advertised as a non-fiction book about women’s sexual desire, I chose this as my Book of the Month pick expecting stories of women exploring what it means to confidently own their sexuality in a Virgin-Whore patriarchal society. What I got instead were three stories in which women’s (exclusively hetero)sexual encounters were graphically (and sometimes awkwardly—Cadbury Cream Eggs are ruined for me forever) relayed as a backdrop to what was TLDR: I hated this book so much that I’m genuinely angry Advertised as a non-fiction book about women’s sexual desire, I chose this as my Book of the Month pick expecting stories of women exploring what it means to confidently own their sexuality in a Virgin-Whore patriarchal society. What I got instead were three stories in which women’s (exclusively hetero)sexual encounters were graphically (and sometimes awkwardly—Cadbury Cream Eggs are ruined for me forever) relayed as a backdrop to what was unveiled as their “real” priority: to be desired and approved of by men. The women themselves were written in such a way that they felt like caricatures of a real person. Maggie, the troubled teen with alcoholic parents, searching for adult approval, taken advantage of by her male teacher—who simultaneously struggles academically and is yet precocious enough to ponder life’s meaning and psychological/emotional complexities. Sloane, the rich girl who settles down with the “good guy” with a fetish with which she is completely uncomfortable but goes along with anyway, until one day she reads 50 Shades and she, I kid you not, “suddenly could see the world clearly,” deciding maybe she liked the fetish after all. Then Lina. Oh Lina, small-town girl, saddled with Catholic guilt and a sexless marriage, meeting up with an ex she has been pining for since high school to have clandestine sex in the back of her car, even though he repeatedly treats her like sh*t. Then there are these choice lines: “When girls are without fathers they look under every manhole cover,” and “...women wait [after men leave them]....hoping that he will return with a smashed phone, with a smashed face, and say, I’m sorry, I was buried alive and the only thing I thought of was you...Marry me.” SERIOUSLY? Women just can’t be whole without a man around, and we’ll sit and pine in perpetuity. [insert world’s most massive eye roll] Despite being a woman herself, I can’t help but wonder if the author has any respect at all for women...or if she even likes them. After all, she did manage to write a book entitled “Three Women” and somehow make it all about men. 🙄

  7. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    Yawn. This book about three damaged women and their sad sex lives was not for me. I feel sorry for all of them - especially Maggie who was totally screwed - but I found the book tedious and pointless. Eight years of research for this?

  8. 5 out of 5

    Catherine

    I did find the stories interesting to read, but I have a myriad of issues with the book. 1. This book is marketed as a book about women's sexual desires, but of the three women's stories, only Lina's is about her "sexual desire." Maggie's story is about how she was groomed by her male teacher, and Sloane's is about how she has sex with other men because her husband likes it, even if she doesn't like or find those men attractive. Those two stories aren't about women's sexual desires; t I did find the stories interesting to read, but I have a myriad of issues with the book. 1. This book is marketed as a book about women's sexual desires, but of the three women's stories, only Lina's is about her "sexual desire." Maggie's story is about how she was groomed by her male teacher, and Sloane's is about how she has sex with other men because her husband likes it, even if she doesn't like or find those men attractive. Those two stories aren't about women's sexual desires; they're about women being abused by men. 2. Even though the synopsis says the women are "from different regions and backgrounds," they are actually not different at all (not only because they're all white Americans). Lina outright says that all she wants is for a man to love her and kiss her, and that she thinks women who say they care more about their careers than love are lying. Sloane, upon seeing a girl, immediately starts a mental competition in her head on who's younger, thinner, more alluring in bed, more interesting to talk to afterwards. And, Maggie, whose favorite book is Twilight, wishes she too could have a vampire romance like the one Bella has. These women are not only not different, but also they are all the negative female stereotypes you've ever heard put into three women, which brings me to my third point. 3. Why choose these women for the book? I had expected when initially hearing about this book something different entirely. For example, maybe there would be a story of an ambitious woman with a high-powered or lucrative career who hates the idea of marriage and having kids and spends her little free time sleeping with interns and secretaries who are awed by her success. I thought there would be more racial diversity (as well as diversity in sexuality), maybe one of the stories would be about an Asian woman who is married to a man but has a tumultuous affair with another woman: her immigrant parents would never approve, so she keeps quiet about her sexuality and her desires. Just something more interesting and more unique (more "groundbreaking," as the synopsis says) considering the author spent eight years traveling across the country to find and interview women for her book. But, instead, this is a story of three white women whose only ambitions are in relations to men. I would understand if this book was written to help bring justice to the women, like Maggie who no one believed or Lina who was gang raped, but all their names and locations have been changed (as the author said), so this isn't going to help them get justice; this is just to tell a story. So, why not at least tell a story that paints women in a positive, stronger light? Or, at least, doesn't just perpetuate the stereotypes that women only see other women as competition, that they exist solely to please men, that all they want is to get married? 4. The author writes in the epilogue that the type of woman whose sexual assault experiences are heard is white (along with young, rich, and pretty). It is a random and tactless statement to include, considering the author just got done telling the stories of only white women. It's similar to the way an award show that nominates and awards primarily white actors and actresses will hire a host to crack a few jokes about lack of diversity in Hollywood, as if doing that absolves them from taking any blame of contributing to the problem. The author was looking for some brownie points with that statement and to appease any reader who might have been wondering: "How representative is this book of women and female sexual desire if it only tells the stories of white women?"

  9. 5 out of 5

    Tatiana

    I devoured this book. I couldn't put it down. This past weekend I was continuously either physically reading it or listening to it. Morbid curiosity will do this to you. Three Women pulled me in with the same force that every damn Dear Prudence column pulls me it. I just love reading about other people's dramas. This book delivers the thrills of snooping on someone's personal lives tri-fold. I devoured this book. I couldn't put it down. This past weekend I was continuously either physically reading it or listening to it. Morbid curiosity will do this to you. Three Women pulled me in with the same force that every damn Dear Prudence column pulls me it. I just love reading about other people's dramas. This book delivers the thrills of snooping on someone's personal lives tri-fold. Lisa Taddeo had intended to write a book about desire, but after spending a decade interviewing her subjects, she ended up with just these 3 stories of women, who were willing to bare it all for her - Maggie, who had a sexual relationship with her high school teacher, Lina, who is obsessed with her illicit lover after spending years in a passionless marriage, Sloane, whose husband loves to watch her have sex with other people. These women allowed Taddeo insight into the minutia of their sexual experiences, and now we can inspect their dirty laundry too. Although supposedly a non-fiction book, Three Women read like a titillating novel, embellished with the quality of details no real human can possibly remember. I personally never fell for Capote's "nonfiction novel" invention, but Taddeo clearly embraced the idea. This work has no semblance of journalistic objectivity, but wow! it's an outstanding yarn. After years of working on this book about desire, Taddeo, unsurprisingly, delivers a story of not female desire, but trauma. The further into the book you get, the more tragic it becomes. The only generalized conclusion that you can glean from Three Women is that our desires are a product of our life experiences, too often the negative ones. Nothing in this book is revolutionary, but it should be lauded for one thing - at least Maggie's story got told. Maybe there finally will be justice for her in this world.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Thomas

    I appreciate how this book tackles the topic of female desire explicitly, given how female sexuality is so often stigmatized in contemporary culture. However, several issues got in the way of me enjoying the book or connecting with it more. As my friend Caroline writes in her astute review, I found aspects of the book gender essentialist, such that Lisa Taddeo would make comments about women’s desires broadly, without really analyzing how those desires may stem from socialization or how they may differ I appreciate how this book tackles the topic of female desire explicitly, given how female sexuality is so often stigmatized in contemporary culture. However, several issues got in the way of me enjoying the book or connecting with it more. As my friend Caroline writes in her astute review, I found aspects of the book gender essentialist, such that Lisa Taddeo would make comments about women’s desires broadly, without really analyzing how those desires may stem from socialization or how they may differ between diverse groups of women (e.g., women of color, queer women, etc.) I don’t think Taddeo or the book’s marketing ever explicitly said that Three Women speaks for all women, and yet, I feel like stating how whiteness and wealth influenced these women’s desires and the parameters around their desire would have strengthened the book. Taddeo addresses this in a sentence or two in the book’s epilogue, which I appreciated while still wanting more. I also had mixed feelings about the writing style of Three Women. Again, I appreciated how Taddeo wrote about women’s desires in a straightforward, holding-nothing-back kinda way. Yet, something about Taddeo’s writing kept me at a distance from the women in this story, especially Lina and Sloane. While Maggie’s story had more of a narrative arc and I could feel how her teacher manipulated her rising off the page, Lina and Sloane’s narratives dragged and read more as reporting with little emotional accessibility. Overall an okay book. Perhaps one that could continue the conversation about women’s desires as long as we all recognize the conversation must continue beyond these three women. For a more sociological and searing examination of women’s desires I’d recommend my fav book Appetites by Caroline Knapp.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Caroline

    ***NO SPOILERS*** BOOK TRIGGER WARNING: sexual abuse, eating disorders, and suicide. Three Women depressed and sickened me. I made this a summer read, even making the mistake of reading it at the beach. It cast a pall on what should have been a fun time, leaving me feeling hollowed-out and at times even hopeless. This is marketed as a book about female desire--more specifically, the romantic, but mostly sexual, desire of three specific women. These are Lina, an at-home mom of two children and wife to ***NO SPOILERS*** BOOK TRIGGER WARNING: sexual abuse, eating disorders, and suicide. Three Women depressed and sickened me. I made this a summer read, even making the mistake of reading it at the beach. It cast a pall on what should have been a fun time, leaving me feeling hollowed-out and at times even hopeless. This is marketed as a book about female desire--more specifically, the romantic, but mostly sexual, desire of three specific women. These are Lina, an at-home mom of two children and wife to an aloof man who hates kissing her; Sloane, a woman with a troubled past whose husband likes watching her have sex with other men; and Maggie, a woman who was molested by her English teacher when she was in high school. They’re living very different lives but are united by a struggle with desire in some way--how it can be contradictory, confusing, or dysfunctional. Three Women is nonfiction, but author Lisa Taddeo wrote this in an unusual, fiction-like style. I don’t think that style worked well for her purposes. She told each woman’s story from their perspective, as if in their heads, lending the writing a contemplative tone that I really disliked. Then in an effort to sound unique, Taddeo often sounded only awkward or silly:“They play sports and their Facebook profile pictures are assertive and tongue ridden.”“One car, piled with young, fluffy girls, comes around again . . .”“[She] visualizes punching him [...] So that when she looks back at his white down pillow, in place of his sleeping head would be a Stonehenge of pink bone.”“The nuggets come out and Danny pushes the plate away like a French girl refusing a lover’s advance.”And on and on and on. When I first heard of this book, and when I just started it, I mistakenly thought it was a feminist work written in a typical nonfiction style--something more elevated, with incisive commentary on the topic. I thought Taddeo would be using the stories of these three women as a springboard to examining all kinds of female desire, on the macro level. Three Women isn’t that at all. It’s tightly focused on just these three and their stories, which are too specific to offer insight into female desire in the general sense. At the risk of sounding unfeeling, I’ll say I couldn’t understand the women profiled. I couldn’t relate to Maggie’s story. I was puzzled by Lina’s downright obsession with kissing and affair with a selfish man. I think Sloane’s husband is disturbed and don’t think highly of Sloane herself. I didn’t want to read, over and over, the kinky-sordid details of their sexual encounters, and I most definitely did not want, at any point ever, to read the finer details of bulimia. However, what irked me more than any of that is Maggie’s story. I was angered by it--not it in itself, but that Taddeo included it at all and how she then portrayed it. By including a story of molestation alongside those of women struggling in their marriages, Taddeo invalidated a crime. In explaining that Maggie reported her teacher years later, right after he was named Teacher of the Year, she insinuated that Maggie did so out of bitterness and vengeance. By romanticizing the molestation with the words “relationship” and “affair,” she erased Maggie’s victimhood and implied complicity. By eroticizing the molestation, she made an inexcusable crime sexy. By blurring the line between consent and victimization, she did an immense disservice to all teen victims of abuse. I think I understand what Taddeo was doing. She was trying to show the raw reality of three very non-black-and-white situations. She wanted to show how desire doesn’t always make logical sense. However, if that was indeed her intention, no matter how you slice it, including a molestation account in a book about female desire is dangerous and irresponsible. Taddeo knows better (for the most part), as she makes plain in the epilogue, but this slight epilogue hardly makes up for everything problematic that came before it. What Taddeo wrote is smut--X-rated erotica masquerading as a meaningful examination of an interesting topic. I do not believe she necessarily set out to write erotica; rather, it was what she ended up with. At no point is there fade-to-black, or even fewer specific details, though Taddeo’s intentions with this topic would have been clearer had that been the case. Whatever overarching message there is about female desire is overshadowed completely by graphic scenes. I guess I’m a glutton for punishment, because I did finish Three Women--but only because my astonishment wouldn’t let me pull away. I also needed to find out whether something at the end would save this book, whether there’d be some lesson or something enlightening I could take away. That never happened--but I’m so relieved to at least be finished with this mess. I’m so relieved to be finished reading sentences such as, “God how she missed and needed this sort of touch and affection. She missed big dicks! She’d never really had that many.” I’ve now moved on to As We Are Now, a book about a 76-year-old waiting to die in a nursing home and that, already at 30-some pages in, is proving more cheerful.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    “Three Women” is an intense look at the lives of 3 women, delving into their lives over an 8 year period, where they have been interviewed in their home towns. It intrigued me as it was an intimate look at their thoughts and desires, rather like reading someone’s diary. The 3 women live in different areas, are different ages and social classes, yet they still have the same desires and hopes for the future. I couldn’t help love Maggie, Sloanne and Lina and even though they chose paths “Three Women” is an intense look at the lives of 3 women, delving into their lives over an 8 year period, where they have been interviewed in their home towns. It intrigued me as it was an intimate look at their thoughts and desires, rather like reading someone’s diary. The 3 women live in different areas, are different ages and social classes, yet they still have the same desires and hopes for the future. I couldn’t help love Maggie, Sloanne and Lina and even though they chose paths that I wouldn’t have, you are totally drawn into their lives. The way these women act in relationships and how the author portrays it in a non judgemental way means you can relate to their stories in one way or another. A compelling book that made me think about how I am in a relationship and how my past has influenced my present choices. This book will stay with me for a long time after reading it, as I think about the courage they had in revealing the true essence of themselves and hope wherever they are, they find contentment. If you want something different this is the book for you. Beautifully written with its raw honesty, it made me laugh, cry and shout out in despair. Every woman should read this book!! Thank you to Netgalley for my copy in exchange for a review.

  13. 5 out of 5

    emma

    this is not a perfect book, but i can't stop thinking about it. review to come / 3ish 4ish stars i have no idea

  14. 5 out of 5

    Claire Reads Books

    This was an interesting one... The product of more than a decade of research and interviews, this book tells the stories of three women: Maggie, a North Dakota woman who, as a teenager, had an affair with her high school English teacher; Lina, a Midwestern housewife stuck in a sexless marriage; and Sloane, a glamorous Newport restaurateur whose husband likes to watch her sleep with other people. Provocative, explicit, and refreshingly frank, Three Women seems to be perfectly timed for our curren This was an interesting one... The product of more than a decade of research and interviews, this book tells the stories of three women: Maggie, a North Dakota woman who, as a teenager, had an affair with her high school English teacher; Lina, a Midwestern housewife stuck in a sexless marriage; and Sloane, a glamorous Newport restaurateur whose husband likes to watch her sleep with other people. Provocative, explicit, and refreshingly frank, Three Women seems to be perfectly timed for our current moment – after all, what could be better than a book about "female desire" and "women's narratives" in 2019? On a granular, sentence-by-sentence level, this book is richly told and immensely readable – in part because Taddeo has a gift for storytelling and detail, but also because the subject matter creates an unavoidable and at times exhilarating sense of voyeurism (although less so in the case of Maggie's story, which is more depressing and infuriating than anything). Where Three Women fails, however, is in the broader sweep of its narratives and how they relate to each other – not only does Lisa Taddeo draw flimsy connections between these women's stories while neglecting more substantial through-lines, but she also fails to build a compelling argument about what, collectively, these case studies really tell us about "female desire." I found this book's lack of a clear thesis profoundly frustrating, and for what it's worth, I'm not even convinced that "female desire" alone is that most interesting undercurrent in this book. You could argue that, more than anything, these are stories of exploitation, manipulation, and disappointment; the fraught social, sexual, and gender dynamics that are at play when male and female desires collide; and how, perhaps, female desire is too often warped by and forced to capitulate to male desire. I don't know – there is certainly a lot here, and the fact that Taddeo fails to analyze it in a satisfying manner is ultimately quite disappointing.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Britta Böhler

    Intriguing idea, a book about female desire, but this book is not about that. At all.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Gabby

    I listened to the audiobook, and I thought it was fascinating. I know this book is a little controversial right now, but I personally enjoyed it. We follows three different women in this book, and I like that even though this book in nonfiction, it reads like fiction. We get to hear the stories from these three women told from their own voices, which was a great choice on the authors part I think. I think Maggie's chapters were my favorite to read about, and her chapters take up the majority of the book. Maggie was I listened to the audiobook, and I thought it was fascinating. I know this book is a little controversial right now, but I personally enjoyed it. We follows three different women in this book, and I like that even though this book in nonfiction, it reads like fiction. We get to hear the stories from these three women told from their own voices, which was a great choice on the authors part I think. I think Maggie's chapters were my favorite to read about, and her chapters take up the majority of the book. Maggie was involved in a student/teacher relationship and I found her chapters the most interesting. This book says its about female desire, which it is, but it's about so much more than that I think. There's just something so fascinating hearing about the real sex lives of other women in America and how vastly different they can be. I just enjoyed listening to the audiobook, it definitely held my attention and I think this book has a lot to say. This is my 100th book read in 2019!!!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Renee (itsbooktalk)

    It's taken me a few days to get my thoughts together to write what I hope is a usual review. I want to start by saying I think this book is worth reading. It’s bringing about important discussions, I’ve had some really great ones with a few bookstagram friends but I also think it’s important to have the right expectations going in. ⠀⠀ ~ I was excited to read what had been buzzed about as a juicy expose on female desire. This book has been marketed as the next great feminist book based It's taken me a few days to get my thoughts together to write what I hope is a usual review. I want to start by saying I think this book is worth reading. It’s bringing about important discussions, I’ve had some really great ones with a few bookstagram friends but I also think it’s important to have the right expectations going in. ⠀⠀ ~ I was excited to read what had been buzzed about as a juicy expose on female desire. This book has been marketed as the next great feminist book based on 8 years of research on women’s desire. To me, that meant an inside look at what women are really thinking and feeling about desire. Plus, I expected to read about female empowerment surrounding desire. None of this happened for me. In my opinion, this was a firsthand look at the effects of past trauma on three women, told in a narrative structure that brilliantly allowed the women’s voices to take center stage. ⠀⠀ ~ The three women’s stories - Maggie, Lina, and Sloane - were unflinchingly honest and raw…in emotion, detail, and tone… and I empathized with each of them at different points. It was jarring to see some of my own thoughts reflected at various times. However, I found myself only invested in Maggie’s story which was heartbreaking on so many levels. As the book progresses, I think it’s important for readers to understand that all of these women had dealt with childhood/adolescent traumas (including rape) and it felt to me that what I was reading was how the effects of that trauma continued to impact each woman years later - and not in positive ways. To me, their “desire” was not empowering at all. ⠀⠀ ~ In fact, I finished the book feeling somewhat depressed and frustrated about what I had just read. So much was left unsaid and unresolved. I applaud the bravery of each woman who told her story. I have no judgement toward any of their choices. In the end, I feel like the marketing of this book was misleading and it skewed my expectations

  18. 5 out of 5

    Book of the Month

    "Why I love it" by Lisa Taddeo Recently over drinks I asked a friend, “What’s the last book you read that you just couldn’t put down?” Without hesitation, she answered, Three Women. Now, I’m not usually a nonfiction reader—and I have a stack of half-read memoirs to prove it—but with this book, I have to agree with my friend: Three Women sucks you in from the very first page. After all, who would pass up a voyeuristic glimpse behind the bedroom doors (or in some cases, the classroom or car d "Why I love it" by Lisa Taddeo Recently over drinks I asked a friend, “What’s the last book you read that you just couldn’t put down?” Without hesitation, she answered, Three Women. Now, I’m not usually a nonfiction reader—and I have a stack of half-read memoirs to prove it—but with this book, I have to agree with my friend: Three Women sucks you in from the very first page. After all, who would pass up a voyeuristic glimpse behind the bedroom doors (or in some cases, the classroom or car doors) of three real women? Lisa Taddeo spent eight years and thousands of hours with the women profiled in Three Women, and she gives a shockingly vulnerable account of their sexual histories and innermost desires. There’s Maggie, a 23 year old in North Dakota involved in a court case against the high school teacher she had a physical relationship with as a minor. Lina is an Indiana housewife in a loveless marriage, embarking on an affair with her high school sweetheart. Finally, there’s Sloane, a glamorous 40-something in Newport, RI, who has sex with other men while her husband watches. Despite having little in common with any of these women on the surface, I found a great deal of power and resonance in the depiction of their emotional lives and motivations. Who among us can’t relate to the fear of being alone or the desire to be loved—even by someone who isn’t exactly perfect? It's this emotional universality that has me predicting this book will be the nonfiction read of the summer. Read more at: https://bookofthemonth.com/three-wome...

  19. 4 out of 5

    Tyler Goodson

    Three Women tells the story of female desire, not as experienced by all women, but by Lina, Maggie, and Sloane. The stories of these women are surprising and thought-provoking, and Lisa Taddeo relates them in a book that is as insightful as it is impossible to put down. It isn't that these three women speak for all women, but that they speak so clearly, honestly, and powerfully for themselves.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Claire Gibson

    I have no idea how to rate this book. On one hand, "Three Women" is a fascinating tale — but I wouldn't call it an accurate depiction of female desire, as it's being billed. To me, it is a sad tragedy about sexual dysfunction — not about sex as it should be. It is pornographic — at times, even more pornographic than I thought necessary. However that didn't surprise me, considering the fact that the book sought to lift the veil on "desire." I would love to read a book about healthy sexuality. Sad I have no idea how to rate this book. On one hand, "Three Women" is a fascinating tale — but I wouldn't call it an accurate depiction of female desire, as it's being billed. To me, it is a sad tragedy about sexual dysfunction — not about sex as it should be. It is pornographic — at times, even more pornographic than I thought necessary. However that didn't surprise me, considering the fact that the book sought to lift the veil on "desire." I would love to read a book about healthy sexuality. Sadly, I think we see a picture of three women who are used, abused and tossed to the side. This book made me sad. In the end, when sexual awakening is our identity, it will leave us empty, in bondage to the need for breaking taboos, and unsatisfied.

  21. 5 out of 5

    ABookwormWithWine

    ⭐⭐⭐⭐ / 5 Three Women by Lisa Taddeo is a raw and emotional look at the lives of three different women. This book made me angry, made me cry, and made me worry about our society. I think this is a must read for all women, and while everyone may not like it, I think most women will. What it's about: Lina, Maggie, and Sloane are from different areas of the United States, different social s ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / 5 Three Women by Lisa Taddeo is a raw and emotional look at the lives of three different women. This book made me angry, made me cry, and made me worry about our society. I think this is a must read for all women, and while everyone may not like it, I think most women will. What it's about: Lina, Maggie, and Sloane are from different areas of the United States, different social standings and are different ages, but they all crave two things - love and affection. Lina is in a marriage where her husband won't kiss her even though that's all she wants. So she begins an affair with an old flame. Maggie is seventeen and in high school when she has a physical relationship with a married teacher. Sloane has a happy marriage, but her husband likes to watch her have sex with other men (and women). All three women are struggling in their own ways, and through years of experiencing their lives and speaking to them at length, Taddeo brings to the table a look at what is really going on in the minds and lives of so many women around the world - not just Lina, Maggie, and Sloane's... I have seen a couple people say that Three Women is not a book about desire, but I have to disagree. After all, the definition of desire is 'a strong feeling of wanting to have something or wishing for something to happen' and I think each of the women have a desire for at least one thing. This book takes a very direct look at sex and love, and the emotions women face in their partnerships with men. I definitely think that Maggie's story hit me the hardest of all, but I was fascinated with all three stories. I also really enjoyed Taddeo's writing style. I don't read a whole lot of nonfiction, but there was something about her writing that really struck me and made the book even more interesting. It is very unique, so the writing style itself may not be for everyone. Even though I am not in quite the same situation as any of the three women, I still found myself relating to aspects of their lives in different ways. I think Three Women will resonate and be very relatable for a lot of women. On the other side of that, I don't think this is necessarily a book for men. I don't think most will understand it quite the way Taddeo intends, and some might be very rude about it. With that said, I do think there are some men out there that will really appreciate this book! Song/s the book brought to mind: (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction sung by Britney Spears and Beautiful by Christina Aguilera. Final Thought: Nonfiction is so hard for me to rate, especially since I don't read all that much of it, so I had a hard time rating Three Women. The stories themselves definitely deserve a 5/5 because it can't be easy to let a reporter come into your life and share with the world your most private thoughts and actions. I think this book is such an important book, and one that will stay with me for a long time to come.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Bryn Greenwood

    Reviewed for The Washington Post, to be published July 9, 2019. https://www.washingtonpost.com/entert...

  23. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    A buzzy book it felt imperative to engage with, so I made sure I was first in the library queue for it. I read the Author’s note and Prologue; I skimmed the Epilogue. That was enough. I feel about this book the way I did about My Absolute Darling: so many have acclaimed it as brilliant, but I don’t feel any need to expose myself to the disturbing content. Many trusted reviewers have concluded that, despite her stated aims, Taddeo doesn’t say anything original about female desire. I also expect that, giv A buzzy book it felt imperative to engage with, so I made sure I was first in the library queue for it. I read the Author’s note and Prologue; I skimmed the Epilogue. That was enough. I feel about this book the way I did about My Absolute Darling: so many have acclaimed it as brilliant, but I don’t feel any need to expose myself to the disturbing content. Many trusted reviewers have concluded that, despite her stated aims, Taddeo doesn’t say anything original about female desire. I also expect that, given my sheltered, vanilla life, I will not relate to much in these women’s experiences. I enjoyed hearing a bit about Taddeo’s Italian mother. Lines I liked: “There’s nothing safer than wanting nothing. But being safe in that way, I’ve come to know, does not inure you to illness, pain, and death. Sometimes the only thing it saves is face.”

  24. 4 out of 5

    Meredith B. (readingwithmere)

    5 Stars! Because it's the quotidian minutes of our lives that will go on forever, that will tell us who we were, who our neighbors and our mothers were, when we were too diligent in thinking they were nothing like us. This is the story of three women. I don't read a lot of non-fiction. When I heard that this book came out I wasn't sure what to think of it but it got a lot of buzz. As I dove in I realized how important this book being a woman myself and to society as a whole. Eight years of/> 5 Stars! Because it's the quotidian minutes of our lives that will go on forever, that will tell us who we were, who our neighbors and our mothers were, when we were too diligent in thinking they were nothing like us. This is the story of three women. I don't read a lot of non-fiction. When I heard that this book came out I wasn't sure what to think of it but it got a lot of buzz. As I dove in I realized how important this book being a woman myself and to society as a whole. Eight years of research went into this book by Lisa Taddeo. She followed numerous amount of women but only three were brave enough to see their journeys through with Lisa to share with the world. Each woman is different. Each one has a different relationship with female desire and we ultimately learn different things from each woman's story. This book really raises the question of what is female desire when it comes to relationships and love. It also dives into how women are treated by their partners with these desires and how they really explore what is right for them. Each woman's story is different but I found myself rooting hard for each of them. This book took me through all the emotions: happy, sad, angry, frustrated, excited and heart-broken. Every story is raw (warning there are graphic sex scenes, rape, adult/child relationships, etc.) but it adds so much to each of the stories and what it means to be a woman with desires. So why do we are women have to suppress our desires but when a man has desires we feel the need to give in so he will be happy. What about us, women? It's time to change this thinking and take what's ours. Read this book. I promise you won't regret it. It's fascinating, insightful and thought provoking. Thank you to Avid Reader Press for my copy of this book!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Nefeli

    DNF-ing at 34% because this book is making me feel incredibly angry. The fact that I wasn't going to like it was pretty apparent from the beginning, as the prologue reeks of victim-blaming: Lisa Taddeo describes how her mother was followed to work for a long time by a man who masturbated in plain sight while looking at her, and wonders why her mother "let that happen". She goes on to ask herself if maybe her mother secretly enjoyed the experience. If you need an explanation of why this is fucked DNF-ing at 34% because this book is making me feel incredibly angry. The fact that I wasn't going to like it was pretty apparent from the beginning, as the prologue reeks of victim-blaming: Lisa Taddeo describes how her mother was followed to work for a long time by a man who masturbated in plain sight while looking at her, and wonders why her mother "let that happen". She goes on to ask herself if maybe her mother secretly enjoyed the experience. If you need an explanation of why this is fucked-up, then this review is not for you. The first chapter -the beginning of Maggie's story- isn't giving me much hope that it'll get better; it reads a little bit like a romanticization of statutory rape. As for the rest of the book (or, at least, the first 100 pages I managed to read before deciding that I love myself too much to keep going), this review basically says it all.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Eleanor

    Oof. This BOOK. Three women; eight years; their love and sex and desires meticulously recorded, celebrated, foregrounded. It is, almost unbelievably, nonfiction that – in the very truest sense – reads like a novel; Lisa Taddeo gives her subjects the care and complete focus that we often only give to the people we’ve made up. The three women she chooses are Maggie, who has an affair with her high school English teacher at fifteen, and at twenty-three decides to seek justice; Lina, who Oof. This BOOK. Three women; eight years; their love and sex and desires meticulously recorded, celebrated, foregrounded. It is, almost unbelievably, nonfiction that – in the very truest sense – reads like a novel; Lisa Taddeo gives her subjects the care and complete focus that we often only give to the people we’ve made up. The three women she chooses are Maggie, who has an affair with her high school English teacher at fifteen, and at twenty-three decides to seek justice; Lina, who marries the first man who asks, then suffers in the desert of being unkissed and untouched for months on end; and Sloane, who’s thin and hot and rich but whose husband is most turned on by watching her have sex with people he’s chosen for her. They couldn’t possibly be more different, and yet Taddeo seems able to slide into each of their brains with ease. (She is scrupulous, in her prologue, about her sources: she uses text records, phone logs, and court documents where she can, but in situations like Maggie’s–her teacher demanded that she delete every text message sent to, or received from, him–she has had to work with her subject to reconstruct the dynamic from memory.) The most interesting element of Three Women, for me, is Taddeo’s ability not just to trace the events of eight years or so, but to show how every choice each woman makes, every twinge of desire or dread that she feels, is rooted in experiences from years or decades previously. Maggie’s early years–both her parents alcoholics, their marriage essentially loving but under a good deal of strain–make her intensely vulnerable to the isolation and grooming that Aaron Knodel perpetrates upon her. Sloane’s relationship with her mother, Dyan, a woman who herself was starved of familial love after a car that she was driving killed her own mother, is a kaleidoscope of inherited trauma. Lina’s parents’ apparent inability to take anything she says seriously drives her to cover up her own gang rape (by three friends of her older brother) in high school, then to an increasingly desperate need to have her longings acknowledged as an adult. Their choices are the sums of their lives, but so are their needs, their predilections, their compromises. You’re likely, I’ll warn you, to come away from this book with the strong conviction that men are worthless toads. None of the featured men treat women well. Aaron Knodel is a weasely paedophile; Lina’s husband Ed is a vague and distant human-shaped meatsack; Aidan Hart–a high school sweetheart with whom she initiates an affair–sees her as an option but never a priority; Sloane’s husband Richard evades all the responsibility for any heartache that their sexual life–based entirely upon what arouses him–causes other couples. But the point that Taddeo makes, implicitly but with every sentence, is that men aren’t the fulcrum of this book’s interest. It’s called, after all, Three Women. The sheer level of focus and attention, of serious consideration, given to the fantasies and realities of her subjects is almost unprecedented. Lina’s goofy texts to her lover made me cringe with their profound lack of sexiness, but Taddeo never cringes. Maggie’s experiences at Knodel’s trial made me flinch, but Taddeo never flinches. Nor does the book judge Sloane. Such care: is that what we mean by grace? Three Women is out on 9 July, from Bloomsbury. Man or woman or neither or in-between, you should read it asap. If you like what I write, why not buy me a coffee?

  27. 4 out of 5

    Mariah

    @avidreaderpress #partner Okay. This is going to be a long one. I want to preface this by saying that my negative opinions about this book are not directed towards the brave women who shared their stories with the author. . This book is marketed as a book about female desire. Goodreads pitches this as “the deepest nonfiction portrait of desire ever written.” The authors note at the beginning of my ARC says “I am confident that these stories convey vital truths about women and desire.” @avidreaderpress #partner Okay. This is going to be a long one. I want to preface this by saying that my negative opinions about this book are not directed towards the brave women who shared their stories with the author. . This book is marketed as a book about female desire. Goodreads pitches this as “the deepest nonfiction portrait of desire ever written.” The authors note at the beginning of my ARC says “I am confident that these stories convey vital truths about women and desire.” But I have to respectfully disagree. This book, to me, is not about female desire. If anything, it’s about how various men in these three women’s lives have controlled their desire or even projected their own desires onto them. . For 8 years, Taddeo interviewed three women: Lina, Sloan, and Maggie. Lina is a homemaker who is married to a man who won’t even kiss her because the sensation “deeply offends” him. Her sex life has dwindled into nothing until one day she reconnects with an old flame via Facebook. What starts is an all consuming affair, but even in the sweaty, passionate meetings she has with her new lover, he calls the shots. He names the time. He names the place. Sloan, on the other hand, is in a very sexual marriage but her husband is turned on watching her have sex with other men. Men that he chooses. During these liaisons, whether he’s there or not, she has to check in with him and the one time she doesn’t he is enraged. Maggie was a high school student in North Dakota when she had an inappropriate relationship with her English teacher. She was preyed on when she was in a vulnerable state over issues she was having with her family. She loses her court case against him. . For me, these stories are not about female desire. They are about experiences in these women’s lives when they did not have autonomy over their own bodies. And those stories are important, of course! However, to market this, to call it a book that encompasses female desire is simply untrue. Even if their stories were not laced with trauma, they’re still 3 white women from semi-privileged backgrounds. That is not a complete scope of women. Also, the inclusion of an inappropriate “relationship” between a teenage girl and her teacher is a very strange narrative for a book about desire. A book about pedophilia or predators, sure. . I did find this book compulsively readable. I truly couldn’t put it down at times. However, I stand by my feelings about this one.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jaclyn Crupi

    If you read narrative non-fiction you simply have to read this. You’re going to want to put down whatever you’re reading and get this instead. Lina, Maggie and Sloane and all their desires, obsessions, contradictions, hopes and disappointments are rendered with such compassion and dignity. The achievements of this book will floor you. To Lina, Maggie and Sloane, I see you, I understand you, I believe you. To Lisa Taddeo, I am in awe of you.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Bri Lee

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I found this book very average. I did finish reading it. I suppose I hoped that at the end the author would really come through, and offer up something more. First of all: I'd like to second Roxane Gay's comment. Whilst there is nothing inherently wrong with choosing three such similar subjects for a book-length project, it does automatically (and significantly) limit any real insight into a subject as broad as "women's desire". After reading the acknowledgments and noting the author' I found this book very average. I did finish reading it. I suppose I hoped that at the end the author would really come through, and offer up something more. First of all: I'd like to second Roxane Gay's comment. Whilst there is nothing inherently wrong with choosing three such similar subjects for a book-length project, it does automatically (and significantly) limit any real insight into a subject as broad as "women's desire". After reading the acknowledgments and noting the author's inclusion of a reference to a woman of colour interviewee who subsequently pulled out of the project, my suspicion is that she is aware of this limitation too. All three women were in hetero relationships, or at least the source of their predominant ruminations were their current or previous hetero relationships, and so I found the sweeping statements about "men" and "women" to be particularly exhausting. This review in The Saturday Paper by Harkins-Cross says it better than I can (https://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/c... "For a book so desperate to insist that these women are individuals with agency, Taddeo is prone to grandiose statements about Men and Women: “Throughout history, men have broken women’s hearts in a particular way”; or, “Men come to insert themselves, they turn a girl into a city. When they leave, their residue remains.” The heterosexual pact is laid bare, but there’s nothing radical about this vision." Perhaps, for example, a shift in framing and this book could have been an interesting deep-dive into the concept of marriage. When it succeeds and when it fails, and what it looks like in middle America, etc? The concept of "desire" is such an incredibly, breathtakingly, wild and diverse thing. I did not see it truly explored here. Even when one woman tries non-monogamy with both male and female partners, there seemed to be not nearly enough of a grappling with the ramifications of that. One woman's husband seems to not want sex - not only with her, but seemingly not at all - and there is no consideration of asexuality being a real thing. When she then has an affair, we see the same meet-up with highschool sweetheart, followed by anxiety, half a dozen times. How is this new? There are many pithy one-liners and beautiful sentiments peppered through it, but I'm just not sure what I was supposed to "get" out of this book. I kept waiting for an "aha" moment that never came. I suspect people just like reading about sex (both good and bad) and don't want to admit it, so need it inside a beautiful cover with high-brow "narrative non-fiction" labels. If it has taught them something about themselves or others, then good for them.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jaclyn (sixminutesforme)

    Before I share my thoughts on this, please know I don’t do so lightly and my comments in no way pass judgment on the experiences shared by the women. I had two key issues with this book - firstly the writing, specifically the use of imagery and metaphor, is some of the most jarringly awkward I have come across. More importantly though, I think there are some major issues with the way that this book is pitched as being about “desire” more broadly. The majority of the experiences shared Before I share my thoughts on this, please know I don’t do so lightly and my comments in no way pass judgment on the experiences shared by the women. I had two key issues with this book - firstly the writing, specifically the use of imagery and metaphor, is some of the most jarringly awkward I have come across. More importantly though, I think there are some major issues with the way that this book is pitched as being about “desire” more broadly. The majority of the experiences shared in this focus on rape in various iterations, and situations in which these women did not have autonomy within their own experiences. They are candid and harrowing and capture the emotions each felt within these, though “desire” is not a word I would readily associate with what they endured. These are also experiences of three specific white women from relatively privileged backgrounds - to suggest this in any way comments on the universality of women’s desire is a misleading way to frame what is shared in the book. Without this, and with a more targeted way of couching the experiences shared, I may have had a different experience reading this book. I’ve shared more thoughts on last week’s Friday Reads if you’d like to listen to more specific thoughts, and I’d also suggest checking out @hardcoverheartsblog and @bookstagramballerina who have really well articulated comments about their issues with this too. It’s exciting to see a press that is pushing the boundaries of non-fiction, and I look forward to future releases, but this one was a miss for me personally.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.