After suffering a somber reading hangover that lasted the entire month of October, I knew the next book I read needed to be a literary wonder –one that would pull me in from page one, make me think critically, and move me emotionally. Lisa Taddeo gave me what I was so badly craving.
Three Women was born out of the accumulation of eight years of investigative journalism work and an aspiration to explore the taboo subject of female desire.
Assembled from interviews, texts, emails and court transcripts comes the stories of three women: Lina, a suburban homemaker and mother whose marriage has lost its passion; Maggie, a teenager who becomes involved with her married high school teacher; and Sloane, a successful restaurant owner–happily married to a man who likes to watch her have sex with other people.
Taddeo walks you through each of their lives and minds, their experiences and pain, and in the process reveals the brittleness and inequality of emotional power in relationships and female sexuality. The women in these stories were far from perfect and weren’t always the most likeable, but that is what made them so real and human, this story so powerful and impactful.
Words are not enough to describe what I felt while reading this; At times I was shaking with anger because of the everyday injustices women are subjected to. I could feel my own heart crumbling as I witnessed each unique undoing as they dealt with societal pressures, mental illness, double standards and their own self-doubt that stemmed from their relationships.
As heavy as this book was, it also felt like a release for me. I had the urge to reach through the pages, grab their hands and hold on to them tight, to reassure them none of us are alone in what we have felt.
Since the sampling of female subjects for Taddeo’s research is very narrow (three white women, all living in the United States, all from a middle/upper-class economic background), this book should not be marketed as an expose of female desire. While it doesn’t reveal any universal truths, I believe many women would be able to find a piece of them reflected in the experiences and feelings shared.
The reason this book wasn’t 5 stars for me is because by the end of the novel, one woman’s story felt too stagnant and her chapters started to replicate themselves over and over –almost as if Taddeo had run out of material on her but wanted all three stories to be of equal length. I found myself wanting to skim through a few chapters at the end.
If you are looking for a novel with remarkable writing, one you can connect with and use to help develop more empathy, I highly recommend adding this one to your list.
Reviewed by: Christy (Contributor)
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