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Three Women 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 desireIf 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 than it analyzes So many of my friends read this expecting Taddeo's eight years of research to culminate in something eye opening diverse and representative of women as a whole But the title really says it all this is a book about THREE women Nothing 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 awayOne 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 ineuality 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 relationshipIt 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 elsewhereBlog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube “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 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 withdrewThus Taddeo’s original project was whittled down once 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 uery and later willing to see this through to the end These are uniue 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 thingFinally 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 opaue 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 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 uite 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 uestions 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 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 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 farHonest thoughts? I think very little of it The concept might have been a great ideaBut 8 YEARS of research about women’s sexual desires resulted in THIS??? Its soooooo boring mixed with sappy flowery proseAfter 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 farit’s a crappy disappointment The sample read on Audiobook was great It’s from the prologueBECAUSE ITS THE BEST PARTThe 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 bookI’m kinda appalled its triggered anger in me I feel manipulated by the writing hate that feelingWe 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 prologueLina’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 This is uite 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 anorexiabulimia 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 MaggieIt'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 precludeThanks to Bloomsbury for an ARC via NetGalley A riveting true story about the sex lives of three real American women based on nearly a decade of reportingHailed 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—worldwideIn 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 uickly 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 uiet 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 womenBased 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 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 heterosexual 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 psychologicalemotional 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 sht Then there are these choice lines “When girls are without fathers they look under every manhole cover” and “women wait after men leave themhoping 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 youMarry 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 rollDespite being a woman herself I can’t help but wonder if the author has any respect at all for womenor if she even likes them After all she did manage to write a book entitled “Three Women” and somehow make it all about men 🙄 I did find the stories interesting to read but I have a myriad of issues with the book1 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 men2 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 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 alluring in bed 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 point3 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 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 uiet about her sexuality and her desires Just something interesting and uniue 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? 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? 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 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 uniue 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 onWhen 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 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 bulimiaHowever what irked me 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 masuerading 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 scenesI 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 cheerful For a long time I didn’t read a nonfiction and after reading intriguing and provocative blurb and some mixed reviews I wanted to jump in without thinking any furtherI loved to see those three women early lives and their experiences bad and good doings suffering from all those hypocrisies unfair verdicts and judgmental looks They might be abused and exhausted after carrying so much emotional pain and burdens but they are real survivors Mostly three of them could be easily sympathized Especially my heart broke for Maddie and her story I couldn’t say the same for Sloane But I do understand her and her motives and thoughts beyond her actionsBut what I didn’t like about this researchWe don’t get a proper analysis after reading the transcript We didn’t get the emotional approach about those women’s suffer even after the revelation of injustice I can understand maybe the author chose the stories speak for themselves but I still wanted to read something summarizing the conclusion I think there are so many things left unsaid and unresolved which made me a little disturbedAnd other crucial fact made me uestion everything about this book isWhy was this research on three white women? Didn’t they find any subject from other races nations cultures and if the research is about sexual desires why didn’t they choose a gay or bisexual person? It felt like so stereotyped approach to the matter which pissed me off In my opinion if you want to reflect all those women’s desires in a book you shouldn’t be focused on only one kind of prototype There are so many voices out there suffering from worse life experiences to scream them to push out from their chests I wish this book could give them the opportunity TO RAISE THEIR VOICES AND TRULY SPEAK THE SEXISM around every parts of our livesOverall after surviving from all those depressing heart wrenching feeling I have to deal with I really respect those women who were so brave enough to tell their stories so I rounded my 25 stars to 3 just for their honesty what they’ve been through and their determination to share their stories But I still have second thoughts about the writing style and approach of the author This research has so much potential wasted and failed for mebloginstagramfacebooktwitter

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