Three Women
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, destroys our lives, and 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 and one of the most anticipated books of the year.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.

Three Women Details

TitleThree Women
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJul 9th, 2019
PublisherAvid Reader Press / Simon Schuster
ISBN-139781451642292
Rating
GenreNonfiction, Feminism

Three Women Review

  • Elyse Walters
    January 1, 1970
    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 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.
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  • Roman Clodia
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Matt
    January 1, 1970
    “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.
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  • Amanda
    January 1, 1970
    “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 would “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.
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  • Book of the Month
    January 1, 1970
    "Why I love it"by Lisa TaddeoRecently 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) o "Why I love it"by Lisa TaddeoRecently 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...
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  • Lisa
    January 1, 1970
    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?
  • Claire Reads Books
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Tyler Goodson
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Bryn Greenwood
    January 1, 1970
    Reviewed for The Washington Post, to be published July 9, 2019.https://www.washingtonpost.com/entert...
  • Britta Böhler
    January 1, 1970
    Intriguing idea, a book about female desire, but this book is not about that. At all.
  • Scott S.
    January 1, 1970
    "Sex is everybody's home, but nobody's address." -- Manisha CharakI'm not sure what initially drew me to select Lisa Taddeo's Three Women from the library's new release shelf, but I think that this book has similarities to Gay Talese's earlier groundbreaking 1981 non-fiction hit Thy Neighbor's Wife (which has long been on my GR 'favorites' list). Taddeo and Talese both obviously have investigative journalism experience pulsing strongly through their veins.Taddeo's voyeuristic work focuses on thr "Sex is everybody's home, but nobody's address." -- Manisha CharakI'm not sure what initially drew me to select Lisa Taddeo's Three Women from the library's new release shelf, but I think that this book has similarities to Gay Talese's earlier groundbreaking 1981 non-fiction hit Thy Neighbor's Wife (which has long been on my GR 'favorites' list). Taddeo and Talese both obviously have investigative journalism experience pulsing strongly through their veins.Taddeo's voyeuristic work focuses on three American women from fairly different locations and backgrounds across the country: Maggie is a teenage student from a troubled working-class family in the small city of Fargo, North Dakota. Lina is a young housewife / mother originally from, and still living in, middle-class suburban Indiana. Sloane is a 30-ish business owner and wife / mother, originally from an upper-crust northeastern family that had its oddities, now residing in a posh vacation community in the New York / New England coastal area. (Even though the types of communities differ, Taddeo notes how each is the kind of place where everyone knows everyone else's business. Becoming the 'talk of the town' is a possibility or danger in each of their lives.)Basically, Taddeo shows and examines how their individual desires, activities and experiences have shaped or affected each of these women for better or worse. Maggie experienced statutory sexual assault while on a vacation, and was later subjected to inappropriate behavior / actions from one of her trusted and respected school teachers. Lina grew up in a cold and unhappy family, and later married / started her own family with a man who now appears extremely indifferent to her feelings and needs; she then throws all caution to the wind - after counseling and medication don't seem provide any assistance - and begins a fervent affair with her former high school boyfriend. Sloane has an active and varied love life as a young adult but it bleeds into her open marriage with a man who involves her, and to which she participates enthusiastically, in a non-stop 'swinging' lifestyle.These stories - their lives, really - were as fascinating as they were heartbreaking. Predictably, none of the three will have a traditional storybook or Hollywood ending. Some of the private scenes are occasionally very graphic in nature. But Taddeo does not pass judgement or condemn these women, but simply presents the situations they are placed in and/or the decisions (good, bad, questionable) that they make. Learning about them, it sort of reminded me of a line from a movie review about 25 years ago --"If you knew [everyone's] story in this world, there'd be a lot less to be angry about."
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  • Catherine
    January 1, 1970
    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 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?"
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  • Renee (itsbooktalk)
    January 1, 1970
    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 o 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
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  • Jessica Lafferty
    January 1, 1970
    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. 🙄
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  • Jaclyn Crupi
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    Three Women follows - somewhat unsurprisingly - three women in contemporary America: Maggie had a relationship with her teacher when at school and is now at the trial to see whether he will be convicted, Lina is in an unhappy marriage and turns back to the one man in her life who ever satisfied her sexually, Sloane lives to fulfil the sexual whims of her husband who likes to watch her sleep with other men. The reader gets to know these women over the course of the book, which I took to be anythi Three Women follows - somewhat unsurprisingly - three women in contemporary America: Maggie had a relationship with her teacher when at school and is now at the trial to see whether he will be convicted, Lina is in an unhappy marriage and turns back to the one man in her life who ever satisfied her sexually, Sloane lives to fulfil the sexual whims of her husband who likes to watch her sleep with other men. The reader gets to know these women over the course of the book, which I took to be anything between several months and a few years, I don't believe it was ever explicitly stated. Taddeo lays bare the innermost thoughts and desires of these women, mostly in the context of their sexual relationships - what makes the book so compelling and unique is that Taddeo does this in such a non-judgemental and revealing way, so much so that this reads like gripping fiction when in fact it is entirely non-fiction about these real womens' lives.The stories of these women and how they approach and deal with their relationships and the men in their lives revealed things to me about myself and how I act in relationships with men I have dated which I had never before considered. Even if your experiences have differed to these women you will almost certainly find something to relate to here, and even possibly learn something about yourself.Thank you Netgalley and Bloomsbury Publishing Plc (UK & ANZ) for the advance copy, which was provided in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Eleanor
    January 1, 1970
    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 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?
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  • Krista
    January 1, 1970
    It's the nuances of desire that hold the truth of who we are at our rawest moments. I set out to register the heat and sting of female want so that men and other women might more easily comprehend before they condemn. Because it's the quotidian moments 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. Three Women is an odd little book: Aut It's the nuances of desire that hold the truth of who we are at our rawest moments. I set out to register the heat and sting of female want so that men and other women might more easily comprehend before they condemn. Because it's the quotidian moments 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. Three Women is an odd little book: Author Lisa Taddeo writes that she spent eight years and crossed the US six times (often temporarily living in her research subjects' hometowns for a while in order to embed herself in their daily lives) so as to write a book on human desire. While at first she was drawn to the power of men's stories, she eventually began to find them all the same (“the man's throttle died in the closing salvo of the orgasm”), and she switched her focus to women; and in particular, stories in which “desire was something that could not be controlled, when the object of desire dictated the narrative, that was where I found the most magnificence, the most pain.” And so, from initially casting a wide net for stories of “human desire”, Taddeo eventually settled narrowly on the experiences of three women – who, while their individual stories were quite dramatic and well told, were in the end, three very similar stories. All three women desired married men, experienced scorn for that fact from fellow women, and each of them could trace their current behaviours to childhood traumas. I suppose from the blurb I was expecting a sex-positive look at the variety of female desire, but this reads as a commentary on game-playing men, shame-throwing women, and the helpless women stuck in the middle, beholden to their desires, even to their own detriment. Odd little book. (Note: I read an ARC and passages quoted might not be in their final forms.) The problem, she's starting to understand, is that a man will never let you fall completely into hell. He will scoop you up right before you drop the final inch so that you cannot blame him for sending you there. He keeps you in a diner-like purgatory instead, waiting and hoping and taking orders. The three women: Maggie had an intimate relationship with one of her high school teachers, and at twenty-three, finally realised that what she thought in the moment was love, was actually a sick manipulation that had lingering psychological effects on her. Her narrative switches back and forth between the details of that relationship and the court trial in the present that she has initiated. This storyline was highly dramatic and I couldn't help but feel sorry for Maggie, watching as the teacher groomed and used her. Lina was a lonely housewife with a frigid husband who decided to add some spice into her life – contacting her high school boyfriend through Facebook and arranging to meet him for hookups. Despite him being married with young kids, Aidan meets with Lina – always on his terms and not looking like any kind of prize to the reader – and although other women tell Lina she's crazy to be involved like this, she feels fully alive for the first time in years. This story also struck me as sad – after Lina separates from her husband, I just wanted her to find someone who could be fully present for her (but then needed to self-interrogate whether what I was actually feeling was fingerwagging scorn; I don't think so.) Sloane is rich and beautiful, co-owner of a Nantucket restaurant with her talented and rugged husband – a man who likes to watch as his wife has sex with other people. Sloane also desires this lifestyle (she realises after reading Fifty Shades of Grey that she must be a submissive and following her husband's sexual orders is what most fulfills her and brings the couple closer together), and I wouldn't have been shocked by her story too much if she hadn't also involved a married father of young children. (And then when you get the complete picture of Sloane's childhood, you have to wonder how much she's a free spirit submissive or to what degree she's a damaged soul with low self-esteem; but again, who am I to know or judge?) So, three stories of highly manipulative men and the women who believe that they consent to their situations (except for Maggie, of course, who realises after the fact that as a minor, she didn't have the maturity or power to give consent). And throughout every narrative, there is much commentary on the persisting patriarchy: There are men and there are women and one still rules the other in the pockets of the country that are not televised. Even when women fight back, they must do it correctly. They must cry the right amount and look pretty but not hot. And: One inheritance of living under the male gaze for centuries is that heterosexual women often look at other women the way a man would. And throughout, there is much commentary on the role that women play in keeping each other down; talk about the betrayal of “the sisterhood”; a heartbroken wife confronts Sloane saying, “You're the woman and you let this happen. Don't you know you're supposed to have the power?”; the author's own mother gave her this lesson at the end of her life:Don't let them see you happy, she whispered.Who?Everyone, she said, wearily, as though I had already missed the point. She added, Other women, mostly.I thought it was the other way around, I said. “Don't let the bastards get you down.”That's wrong. They can see you down. They should see you down. If they see you are happy, they will try to destroy you.Overall, I enjoyed Taddeo's writing style – the flips between the three stories and the way she narrated them – but every now and then, curious phrasing and word choices would bring me out of the narrative in a way that I didn't appreciate in a work of nonfiction: Life knows when to throw in a plot twist. It is an idle but seasoned screenwriter, drinking beers alone and cultivating its archery; The stone streets were naked at that hour, in the toothache of dawn; a grave is described as the cold, bucketing dark. Nitpicking about the writing aside, I suppose I wanted a wider range of stories, but evaluating what I did find here, this is like more than love.
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  • Lee
    January 1, 1970
    4.5'People in towns like Lina's think people are good people if they're not cheating, if they are not leaving home. Lina is having a mental breakdown because nobody cares. Nobody died, so nobody cares. She feels that she's suffocating. She has these three children she has to keep alive day in, day out, and if anything happened to them she would die, but at the same time, they are weights. She feels alone in caring for them. She feels alone in caring for herself. She wishes she could stop caring 4.5'People in towns like Lina's think people are good people if they're not cheating, if they are not leaving home. Lina is having a mental breakdown because nobody cares. Nobody died, so nobody cares. She feels that she's suffocating. She has these three children she has to keep alive day in, day out, and if anything happened to them she would die, but at the same time, they are weights. She feels alone in caring for them. She feels alone in caring for herself. She wishes she could stop caring for everything. She wishes she could burn the house down. She wishes her husband would touch her and make her feel like a living thing. She tried telling a friend. She tried asking for help. Oh, Lina! her friend said, laughing. Of course you feel terrible, you're married!'
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  • Claire Gibson
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Kathleen
    January 1, 1970
    This was a hard read for me, because I am an ordinary woman and I only know ordinary women. Lisa Taddeo talks a lot about how hard she had to look to find these women. “Lisa Taddeo crisscrossed the United States countless times, moved to six different places, and talked to hundreds of men and women to ultimately find three women whose lives tell the story of desire in America”. Her quote says it all. “This is about the extraordinary”. That’s true it’s not about real women like us. But a great fa This was a hard read for me, because I am an ordinary woman and I only know ordinary women. Lisa Taddeo talks a lot about how hard she had to look to find these women. “Lisa Taddeo crisscrossed the United States countless times, moved to six different places, and talked to hundreds of men and women to ultimately find three women whose lives tell the story of desire in America”. Her quote says it all. “This is about the extraordinary”. That’s true it’s not about real women like us. But a great fantasy novel.
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  • G L
    January 1, 1970
    Would give this 700000 stars if I could. A highly nuanced, beautifully written, intelligent and original exploration of womanhood and female desire.
  • Nadine
    January 1, 1970
    Three Women is a true story based on the sex lives of three American women gained through a decade of vigilant reporting. Readers follows three women as they are faced with different challenges and issues within their sex lives. It is an intimate look at female desire in all its complexities. Taddeo’s writing style mirrors that of a stream of consciousness technique. This style allows for Three Women to read as fiction as readers explore almost all aspects of these women’s lives. I enjoyed the n Three Women is a true story based on the sex lives of three American women gained through a decade of vigilant reporting. Readers follows three women as they are faced with different challenges and issues within their sex lives. It is an intimate look at female desire in all its complexities. Taddeo’s writing style mirrors that of a stream of consciousness technique. This style allows for Three Women to read as fiction as readers explore almost all aspects of these women’s lives. I enjoyed the narrative while simultaneously disliking it. I was able to jump into these women’s lives easily and sympathize with their plights. However, it made reading Three Women long and cumbersome. At times, there is too much detail slowing down the narratives. Maggie becomes involved with her high school English teacher. Maggie’s story is heart wrenching and a prime example of misogyny, patriarchy, and the delicate balance of power teachers has over their high school students. Her story is hard to read as Taddeo outlines clearly the ways Maggie was groomed and manipulated. Rape comes in many different forms, not just penetration. Even though I criticized the writing style, it works perfectly for Maggie’s narrative as it conveys her innocence and the power imbalance. Lina is in a sexless marriage. Her husband will not kiss her or engage in any sexual activity. Lina then becomes consumed in an affair that allows her own her sexuality and explore undiscovered parts of herself. Sloan is part restaurant owner with her husband who happens to like watching her have sex with other men. Sloan explores her sexuality as she navigates the power imbalance between herself and her husband. Overall, Three Women is an interesting take on nonfiction that reads like fiction. Taddeo isn’t here to hold your hand and make sure you understand the purpose of telling these women’s stories. Instead, they stand on their own and what you take from them varies. ***I received an ARC from the publisher via Netgalley for an honest review.
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  • Evie Braithwaite
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 stars I’m so grateful I had the opportunity to read this book. It received high praise from Dolly Alderton and that woman never disappoints with her recommendations. So, I requested it on a whim and oh my god, what a book.Three Women comprises unrelated stories about the lives of well, 3 women. Having written this over the course of eight years, flying across the country to interview the women in their hometowns, Taddeo zooms in on the chaotic truths of their sexual desires with unflinching 4.5 stars I’m so grateful I had the opportunity to read this book. It received high praise from Dolly Alderton and that woman never disappoints with her recommendations. So, I requested it on a whim and oh my god, what a book.Three Women comprises unrelated stories about the lives of well, 3 women. Having written this over the course of eight years, flying across the country to interview the women in their hometowns, Taddeo zooms in on the chaotic truths of their sexual desires with unflinching detail. These women are of different social status, are different ages and are from different parts of the country, yet their commonalities are clear. They each seek out something in sex that they were missing in their past. This is a challenging book which dives into the psychology of women, revealing hidden thoughts, desires, obsessions and ultimately, hope.Taddeo’s writing is enthralling, and I was constantly having to remind myself that this is nonfiction. Reading about their experiences, it wouldn’t be hard to believe that these women are characters that have sprouted from Taddeo’s imagination. I felt for these women. I rooted for them. By the end of the book, I felt I knew them inside and out and I was left itching to know what these women are doing now. Furthermore, this book will enrage you. Reading through their experiences, we learn that they are judged by other women despite a man being just as involved in their individual circumstances. They are wrongly shamed for going against societies wishes and for doing as they please. Why? Well, a big part of that is because they’re women. Their desires are muted, exploited and denied by a society that continues to suppress our truths, while it simultaneously sexualises us in other ways. Nonetheless, each of the women demonstrates the ravenous forces that lie within us all, that have for too long been trampled down. I don’t read much nonfiction but, even if I did, I don’t think I could compare this book to anything else. I wholeheartedly recommend picking this stunning piece of literary non-fiction up and hope you are as astounded by the bravery of these women to have their stories told to the world as I am.Thank you, Bloomsbury Publishing and NetGalley for providing me with an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Basic B's Guide
    January 1, 1970
    Stop! Hear me! See me! Don’t judge me!This book was screaming “Katie take a chance on me!” Like most times that I push myself out of my comfort zone I was met with an overwhelming sense that I had just opened my eyes, mind and heart wider to the world.A book about desire? Sex? Me the prude? Yes it was a leap of faith for me or maybe curiosity won out. Maybe I just wanted to say me too...Do your research on this one. Read the authors interviews and reviews. I really think it will help the reader Stop! Hear me! See me! Don’t judge me!This book was screaming “Katie take a chance on me!” Like most times that I push myself out of my comfort zone I was met with an overwhelming sense that I had just opened my eyes, mind and heart wider to the world.A book about desire? Sex? Me the prude? Yes it was a leap of faith for me or maybe curiosity won out. Maybe I just wanted to say me too...Do your research on this one. Read the authors interviews and reviews. I really think it will help the reader to understand what the author was trying to achieve. I don’t think I’ve ever read a non-fiction book quite like this debut of Taddeo’s. She truly allows the women’s voices to come through without judgement or opinion. She is merely the beautiful literary vessel for these women, an invisible narrator. This book reads like fiction and it pulled me completely in (unlike all the thrillers I’ve read the past two years 🤭).At times I wasn’t quite sure what Taddeo was trying to convey with the stories but I think after finishing and taking a step back I’ve come to realize that this is life. There is no tidy bow and there is no clear path. Desire grabs a hold of each of us in different ways. Can we not just be happy with those personal desires? Why do we have to stand back and judge? Why are we so hell-bent on taking those pleasures away from others? I commend these women for baring their souls to us because you know without a doubt that they ARE being judged.Please note that the descriptions of the women’s sex lives are vivid and intimate. If you can see beyond the surface I think you too will understand why this book is 💯 worth the hype.**update**I want to be clear that this book is so much more than about desire and is not what I would call empowering. Each of these women have dealt with devastating trauma that has affected their self worth. Again I beg you to see beyond the surface of this one and find a buddy to chat with. These women deserve a chance to be heard and understood.
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  • Jennifer Blankfein
    January 1, 1970
    Story of three women and their sex lives - complex emotions and desires impact decisions and behaviors- shocking and real - an interesting look at power. Full review to come on Book Nation by Jen.
  • Jaclyn (sixminutesforme)
    January 1, 1970
    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 foc 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.
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  • Tammy
    January 1, 1970
    DNF. I finished the first chapter. Not for me due to it’s content.
  • Noelia Alonso
    January 1, 1970
    (9.5/10)Thanks to Bloomsbury for sending a copy my way. All opinions are my ownDo yourself a favour: read this book. Three Women by Lisa Taddeo is one of the most fascinating and compelling books I’ve read so far this year. We follow the real stories of Lina, Maggie and Sloane.Lina is a woman who feels as if she has no purpose in life. Like she’s just a wife and a mother. But she’s trapped in an unhappy marriage. Her husband won’t touch her, and she longs to be touched, she longs to be desired. (9.5/10)Thanks to Bloomsbury for sending a copy my way. All opinions are my ownDo yourself a favour: read this book. Three Women by Lisa Taddeo is one of the most fascinating and compelling books I’ve read so far this year. We follow the real stories of Lina, Maggie and Sloane.Lina is a woman who feels as if she has no purpose in life. Like she’s just a wife and a mother. But she’s trapped in an unhappy marriage. Her husband won’t touch her, and she longs to be touched, she longs to be desired. She’s desperate and unhappy and then she starts having an affair, where finally her needs are met. Lina’s story is a familiar one. A woman who has put aside her needs and feels alone and lost.Maggie’s story is the one that made my blood boiled the most. She’s taken her high-school teacher to court. During the narrative she accounts how they started their relationship and how it ended. We are witness to the manipulation this man exerted. When the trail comes we see how she is blamed for everything, for the relationship and for trying to destroy “this poor man’s life”… rings a bell? It was very upsetting to read. The toll this ordeal takes on Maggie is enormous and reading how this teacher abused his power and destroyed her life was absolutely disgusting.Finally, there is Sloane who is the talk of town because rumor has it that she has sex with other men while her husband watches. Sloane’s story, in my opinion, is much more nuanced that the rest. All these stories have many layers but Sloane’s is the one that takes the longer to unravel. Deep down, she is someone who doesn’t know who she is.I was completely immersed in this book. Taddeo writing pulls you in. Three Women is a fantastic portrayal of female desire, an honest and perceptive narrative that won’t leave anyone indifferent.
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  • Adrienne
    January 1, 1970
    As I finished this book, I began plotting a murder. A murder of a rapist who pursued, manipulated and sexually assaulted a teenage (minor) girl during her senior year of high school--and got away with it. Reading Maggie Wilken's story through the words of Lisa Taddeo was maybe the best, most clear-cut case of gaslighting I've ever seen splayed out in print. It made me so angry that even though I finished reading the book around 11pm last night, I didn't (and couldn't) fall asleep until 1am. Can As I finished this book, I began plotting a murder. A murder of a rapist who pursued, manipulated and sexually assaulted a teenage (minor) girl during her senior year of high school--and got away with it. Reading Maggie Wilken's story through the words of Lisa Taddeo was maybe the best, most clear-cut case of gaslighting I've ever seen splayed out in print. It made me so angry that even though I finished reading the book around 11pm last night, I didn't (and couldn't) fall asleep until 1am. Can you imagine being a teenager, falling in love with someone who says he loves you back, and then that someone hurting you, rejecting you, and then instead of being held accountable for his actions, he denies that he even did anything to harm you in the first place--and that this denial takes place in front of your family, your (former) friends, former teachers, classmates, judge, jury, spectators and community members? Fuck. FUCK.So now that the "Adrienne plots a murder" portion is out of the way, we can proceed to the rest of the review. I'm thinking Goodreads.com is a good place to be my whole self, so I'll admit that I've been in some fairly similar situations as the women in this book. When I was 21, I had a brief fling with someone 29 years my senior (yeah, you read that right) and the power balance was obviously tipped very far in his favor throughout the several months we met in secret. "At the same time time she feels this acute, carving pain, she also feels thrilled, lobotomized. It is the sexiest thing a man has ever done to her." I have been held tenuously in a man's grasp while he figures out what he wants to do. I have waited at his beck and call, served his timeline, his desires, and fitted my own into the mold of his. I have made myself want what men have wanted from me.As for Lina's story--who among us hasn't been felled by a perfectly crafted sext, sent at just the right moment in time? I've loved men who have merely tolerated my presence in their lives, their schedules, their busy routines. The men who have slotted me to fit where there is barely enough room are usually the same men who don't want me enough to make new space. I've been Sloane at times, too. I certainly didn't grow up slim, popular or with an eating disorder, but that anxiety which pulses through her nervous system when she descends into the deep end of both her desire and her partner's--that, I've felt. Finally, as the characters in this book experienced, Catholicism did very little to prepare me to become a sexual being in the big wide world. Essentially what I was taught was that I owed it to "my brothers in Christ" to help them stave off their uncontrollable urges by dressing modestly. Never was I told that I might experience any urges of my own. Religion and culture taught women of my generation and all the generations preceding it that our power does not lie in the desire coursing through our own veins, but in our ability to manipulate the desire(s) of men through sex appeal, withholding, craftiness and plotting. A man courts a woman, but a woman "snags" a man. Trickery and deceit were what we were told to bind our destinies to. I was left adrift, with Cosmo magazines to light my murky journey through adolescence and young adulthood. The tragedy of that reality is outlined wonderfully in the pages of this book.Lisa Taddeo does indeed "disappear into her prose," as another reviewer observed, in order to give an honest, nonjudgmental voice to these three women. Some might argue that these stories aren't "feminist enough" to be told to the American public, because they show women lost in the throes of their own desires, rather than controlling their own destinies. I wholeheartedly disagree. Maggie, Lina and Sloane make choices across each page of their own stories. They are aware of their situations even as they sometimes drown in them. Maggie eventually prosecutes Aaron Knodel. Lina separates from her husband and pursues a new path. Sloane determines she will protect the men in her life, even at great cost to herself. We all make those choices on some level or another, even if we aren't ending a marriage, covering up an affair, or pressing charges against an abuser.I donate books every year as my shelves become full and characters fade from my memory. This book will stay on my shelf forever. I want my partner to read it, my friends, my colleagues, and strangers. It is important. It puts forth a reality that is unblinking, if at times uncomfortable. The truths contained within this spellbinding text are as real as any woman in America. Taddeo writes in her acknowledgements that "their stories conjure desire as it is right now, the beast of it, the glory and the brutality. They are blood and bone and love and pain. Birth and death. Everything at once." That, in my opinion, is worth saving forever.
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