Three Women by Lisa Taddeo
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.
I really enjoyed this book. If you go in expecting it to be this in-depth, highly researched look at the inner lives of women, I think you’ll be slightly disappointed. But, if you go in wanting some gossip and to read about women’s sex lives, I think you’ll be satisfied. This book follows three women (duh): Maggie, who had an illicit relationship with her high school English teacher; Sloane, a restaurant owner who sleeps with other people for her husband’s pleasure; and Lina, a housewife having an affair with her high school sweetheart.
I was most interested in Sloane and would read a whole book about her honestly. She seems like she has such an interesting relationship with her parents and brother and had a complicated childhood. And her marriage was really interesting to read about. I found myself rooting for her and wanting the best for her. The other two perspectives were both stories I felt like I had read before, and though they were still interesting, I didn’t find them as compelling as Sloane. Maggie’s story is fairly heartbreaking, and it was really frustrating to read about, particularly the ensuing criminal trial. I really felt for Lina, but ultimately found her narrative the least compelling.
As for the book, I found it fairly well-written. I listened to the audiobook, which I think I would recommend. There are parts that dragged, and I would have struggled to get through certain sections had I been reading with my eyes. Additionally, as I mentioned, I don’t think this book is the great, groundbreaking, in-depth look at female sexuality that Taddeo and others have suggested it is. It’s interesting and well-written, but it’s ultimately about three white women in America. None of them are women of colour, none of them are trans, none of them are immigrants. So, while it’s entertaining and does explore three women’s sexual wants, it’s also not anything amazing, y’know?
So overall, I don’t think this book is anything new or groundbreaking, but I enjoyed it and would recommend it. It was a fairly interesting look at the sexual desires of three women and how those desires influenced their lives, which is not a commonly explored perspective.
But those are just my thoughts! Have you read this book? What did you think? Do you plan to read it? Let me know!