Three Women (Lisa Taddeo)

Rating: 4 Stars

Taddeo follows the lives of three women over a period of eight years, delving deep into their concept and constructs of desire (both physical and emotional). Three Women depicts the stories of Lina – a woman who’s husband has stopped being intimate with her, Maggie, who – at a young age in high school – had a relationship with her teacher, and Sloane, a woman who sleeps with other women and men while her husband watches. Taddeo is a journalist who deep dived in to the lives of these three women and their stories.

When I read that Taddeo was a journalist my expectations shot through the roof and after learning that she’d actually spent years speaking with these women, giving their stories and desires a voice, I thought there was no way she’d be able to write this well.

Happily, I was wrong. Her narrative is excellent, the book was well edited, and for those who say there was no true plot or ending to this novel simply missed the point. Taddeo set out to explore women’s desires, sexual preferences, and the secrets that most – unfortunately – feel they need to hide.

Society has made it abundantly clear to women that we should be meek and men think about sex all of the time and women don’t have any actual desires themselves. However – as we are all aware – that simply isn’t the case. Women are taking control of their desires and while many of those are tapered around what their partner might want or enjoy, the entire concept of this book was not to give it a neat bow at the end. It was meant as a beautiful stepping stone further into the movement where women can own their bodies, their sexuality, and decide what makes them feel good. And feel no shame in that.

The three women in this story are not necessarily owning their desires outright, but the undertone of all of it is simple. While Lina may not be receiving the attention she craves from her husband, she looks elsewhere. While Maggie was lured into a tangled web out of her control with her teacher, she finds her voice in the aftermath. While Sloane isn’t entirely sure if she enjoys sleeping with other people for her husbands pleasure or her own, she begins to concede to the idea that perhaps it is a little bit of both.

The reality is this book has opened up an interesting door in and interesting time. Women everywhere are reclaiming themselves – speaking up for themselves – for others. And this novel, while it may not be your traditional nonfiction work, made a statement.

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