About the Book:
A riveting true story about the sex lives of three real American women, based on nearly a decade of reporting.
Hailed as “a dazzling achievement” (Los Angeles Times) and “riveting page-turner that explores desire, heartbreak, and infatuation in all its messy, complicated nuance” (The Washington Post), Lisa Taddeo’s Three Women has captivated readers, booksellers, and critics—and topped bestseller lists—worldwide.
In suburban Indiana we meet Lina, a homemaker and mother of two whose marriage, after a decade, has lost its passion. Starved for affection, Lina battles daily panic attacks and, after reconnecting with an old flame through social media, embarks on an affair that quickly becomes all-consuming. In North Dakota we meet Maggie, a seventeen-year-old high school student who allegedly has a clandestine physical relationship with her handsome, married English teacher; the ensuing criminal 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.
Based on years of immersive reporting and told with astonishing frankness and immediacy, Three Women is both a feat of journalism and a triumph of storytelling, brimming with nuance and empathy. “A work of deep observation, long conversations, and a kind of journalistic alchemy” (Kate Tuttle, NPR), Three Women introduces us to three unforgettable women—and one remarkable writer—whose experiences remind us that we are not alone.
“Women shouldn’t judge each others lives, if we haven’t been through one another’s fires.”
Nothing less than a masterpiece! A must-read for any woman over the age of 16. I was entranced by this journey because it explored and exposed the reality and the sexuality of three very individual women and their innermost thoughts and desires. The author actually “hung out” with these women for years before writing this groundbreaking book.
What struck me the most was not only the rawness of this book but the ways in which women – even unconsciously – judge other women. The author followed Maggie (the only real name), Sloane and Lina and it was shocking to me how other women were so quick to judge each of the main characters. Maggie, a teenager who was the victim of an older teacher; Lina, who was in a passionless marriage and has an affair; and Sloane, who had an unorthodox marriage to Richard – each vividly and often heartbreakingly portrayed.
“One inheritance of living under the male gaze for centuries is that heterosexual women often look at other women the way a man would.”
This is a VERY graphic book, and there are some very dark topics examined including sexual assault. The prologue itself was stunning and threw me off guard almost immediately. Told in four different voices (the three women plus the author herself), the audiobook was absolutely mesmerizing and I highly recommend it.
Each of the women was vulnerable and flawed and to me, heroic for speaking their truth. Maggie’s story made me the angriest – a young girl who was groomed and then taken advantage of by her married teacher. He then went on to become North Dakota Teacher of the Year! This is a public story and shockingly the teacher was ultimate acquitted after a jury trial. The narrator for Maggie was perfect and conveyed her youth in a very realistic way.
Lina was trapped in a loveless marriage and stared for affection. She rekindled an affair with her high school boyfriend who in many ways was no better for her than her husband. I also ached for Lina and was desperate for her to find a happy medium in her life.
Sloane’s story was fascinating and the narrator conveyed the perfect upper-class East Coast tone. Sloane came from money and owned a restaurant in a small wealthy resort town with her husband Richard. He liked to watch her with others and while this was not a conventional marriage, it worked for her until it didn’t. The way others gossiped about her and judged her was eye-opening. In her own way, Sloane’s story was just as heartbreaking as Maggie’s.
“The rumours, as usual, didn’t take into account the complexity, much less the truth.”
The years of research that went into this story show in the intimate details. Each of these women just craved love and acceptance, and mostly seemed powerless in their relationships. I hope that I came away from this book with a better understanding of other women and their relationships. This was a raw, eye-opening story, that is definitely one of my top favorite non-fiction books.
“It’s the nuances of desire that hold the truth of who we are at our rawest moments.”