Three Women

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 12 Jul 2019

Member Reviews

An exploration of female desire, manipulation and exploitation- that is how I would sum up this book. Three Womens stories. I felt, even as I was frustrated by some, that they were so relatable, and in their context of their ages and vulnerability it was understandable- even if certain aspects felt infuriating to me now.
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very interesting book looking at 3 women and their different lifestyles including sex life over a period of time, some of the subjects incorporated in the discussion of their life would be female desire but also recurrent was exploitation whether it was role or safeguarding issues and could be argued that dysfunctional as well in some of the family set ups though as well.  the author herself I feel have made this a honest review of what she has been told by these 3 women and feel it deserves the acclaim as was a hyped up book but feel its allows discussion into what some regard as taboo issues.
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Three Women by Lisa Taddeo is about three very different women, each with their own problems to do with sex, and is a work of non fiction.

Lina is married to a man who doesn't want to touch her.  Sloane is married to a man who likes to watch others touching her.  Maggie is a young woman who realises that the relationship she had with a teacher was actually very different to what she thought it was at the time.

These three women have told their lives to Lisa Taddeo, and so these events are recounted to us with what was said word for word, action for action.  As no one has perfect recall, some of this must have had imagination used, but used to put you in that time and place very effectively.

This is a strong, emotional and upsetting book in places, but a powerful one, that shows these women finding themselves, and understanding their own history a little more.  I did enjoy the book, but it is one of those that comes with trigger warnings!

Three Women was published on 9th July 2019,  and is available to buy on Amazon  and on Waterstones.  I've found a link to where you can search for local bookshops, including independent!

You can follow Lisa Taddeo on Twitter, or through her website.

I was given this book for free in return for an unbiased review, so my thanks to NetGalley and to Bloomsbury Circus (the publishers) for this book.

Check out my GoodReads profile to see more reviews!
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i rarely read non-fiction but the premise of this novel - an exploration of female desire through the lived experience of three different woman from different american social classes intrigued me. I wanted to see if it could live up to the promise of being a statement and a record on being a woman and being sexual in the 21st century.

I have to say I was utterly gripped by this novel but not for it's truth-telling but more out of a voyeuristic position. The portrayal of female is desire in this book is actually more correctly described as how male desire shapes female desire. In each story the woman is having an unconventional, erotic relationship - a girl is abused by her teacher, a wife unloved by her husband has an affair with her high school sweetheart and a wife has sex with other men at her husband's behest. This is not so much about desire as about abuse and how men  gas-light and manipulate women into believing what they're doing is what they want - when this is clearly not the case.

This book is an accurate portrayal of many unhealthy relationships but as a holistic portrayal of female desire in the 21st century, this book fails. It's also white-centric and doesn't take into account the many experiences that women of colour have in their relationships. It may be that would require an entirely separate book, but Taddeo's account doesn't even acknowledge this, its assumption seems to show that all women are white, when they're not. Given that she spent years researching and recording and travelling to get these stories, it seems a shame not to see what experiences shape women's desire that are both different and the same. 

Whilst this book was well written and compelling, I felt it was inconclusive and left the reader to make decisions around the women's experiences. I can see why Taddeo asked us to do this but I think it's important as writers that we show we don't neccessarily condone abusive behaviour - and she doesn't really do this. The story with the teacher was fairly well handled but the other stories were much murkier but also abusive and complex. The book left me feeling uncomfortable, angry and appreciative of my relationship.
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This book was not what I was expecting. I read it with almost trepidation. 3 stories from 3 different women. 1 was heartbreaking and you wanted to give the girl a hug. The other 2 I wanted to slap and tell them to wake up! I felt they were too downtrodden & needed to see their own self worth. Quite frustrating at times.
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I can't say I enjoyed this book and I can't give it the 5 stars that many reviewers have given it. It is well written and at times genuinely moving and heart breaking but overall I just found it sad and somewhat lacking. I wanted two of the women to shake themselves and face up to their choices and control their own lives and I just wanted Maggie to get some proper support and justice. Given these women are real, I realise this won't happen. I also acknowledge that this is "life" as lived by these women and Ms Taddeo has chosen their stories for a reason. 

I didn't like the intermeshing of the three stories - if not kept completely separate, then larger sections would have worked better for me. As an insight into the lives - and passions - of women very unlike myself, this is a record I would not have been exposed to but I'm not sure we do any of the women a service by "exposing" them. There is real pathos here and I felt rather voyeuristic - but I suggest you read it for yourself as you may be among the majority who loved it.

I was given a copy of the book by Netgalley in return for an honest review.
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This book was incredibly insightful.  Three very different stories from women - each one really engaging.  Most women will be able to relate to parts of the women's stories.
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I had heard a lot of hype about this book and its importance, so was intrigued to read it. The way it was written was fascinating, despite the true stories it felt "fictiony" in the telling, which I'm sure captures people more. I really feel like it came into its own mainly at the end, the wrapping up was hard hitting and emotional.
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Thankyou for the opportunity to read and review Three Women by Lisa Taddeo. I read this a while ago but have been unable to get my thoughts in order enough to review it. I think that I massively in the minority with Three Women which is why I haven't reviewed on my blog. It is an important and impactful book but I'm not sure that it was for me.

Did I like it? I’m not sure. Did I enjoy it? I couldn’t say. It is a curious book. I guess, my main issue is that I couldn’t connect with the stories of any of the women, and found some of their experiences so far removed from my own life that it felt almost alien at times. I felt sad, angry and bemused when reading it but perhaps not for the reasons that the author would expect or indeed others have experienced. I am aware that this is entirely my issue and that for many this book is a call to action, but I am sad to say I was left a little cold.
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The author spent 8 years on this study.  The book features three very different American women.  It was interesting but ultimately I didn’t get on with the style of writing which was stilted and tedious.  Also I would have preferred to read each woman’s story separately and found the flicking here and there irritating.  I fully expected to be drawn into these damaged women’s stories, but wasn’t, so much so my mind kept drifting off.  Sadly this just wasn’t my thing this time.
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In three women Taddeo gives true life accounts of the desire  & sexuality of three women, this is an exploration of female desire, it’s ever fluid nature and how this is used and perceived, not just by women but men, the media and the world at large. It will make you question everything you thought you knew about yourself and everyone you have encountered. This is a truly important book that everyone should read!
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Not an actual review. I tweeted about the book and the link is below.

Spent the last two too hot days gripped by this book. Enthralling and enraging.
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I'd like to start by saying that I think this is a very important book. The women we meet in the book are real women, whose stories deserve to be heard. It deals with lots of very important themes, from the perspective of women who have lived through the effects of them. It doesn't shy away from deals with issues around sex and power, sexual manipulation and assault, objectification, eating disorders, objectification.

I was quite torn about the fiction/non-fiction narratives in this book. On the one hand, I found Taddeo's writing style really captivating - her writing style is effective in it's simplicity and directness. There are plenty of poignant and quotable phrases and paragraphs - moments where I wanted to punch my fist in the air and shout "Yes! This!". There is also a dry wit that felt reminiscent of the sorts of conversations that women might have together: when you're so busy and tired of all the responsibility, that you can't even remember if you have a dog and have to add "pluck single black hair from chin' so you don't forget. And the internal debates that can take place when you're eyeing up that almond croissant!

At the same time, I wanted to hear from these women more directly than this form allowed. Knowing that these were real women almost made me feel more removed from them, in a paradoxical way, as someone else was telling me their story.. But Taddeo's non-fictional/fictional narratives were compelling, and she was able to pull out observations that you perhaps don't make when you are living something. 

Overall I think this simply wasn't quite the book I was expecting. I'd expected it to be more of a celebration of female desire, whereas I came to realise that it is perhaps more of a lamentation on that theme. In this book, women's desire is created under the male desire their world's are centred around. They have to play the game of desire according to men's rules - and playing the game is the only way to be 'seen', to become 'somebody'. Because of that, it felt extremely uncomfortable to read at times. But at the same time I simply felt I could not look away.
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I loved this book, I love this "new genre" of True Romance - from a female perspective. The stories were real, raw and resonated with me on many levels. The desire and wants of each woman were so well articulated that you could feel their internal struggle in different situations. Everyone should read this book - men and women, young(ish) and old. I hope Lisa Taddeo writes more, and I hope others explore this genre/these topics further now the way has been paved with this title.
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Three Women by Lisa Taddeo is the fascinating set of stories chronicling three women and the sexual encounters that shaped them as women today. Lisa Taddeo has took the information from the three women and made a highly readable narrative non-fiction.

The stories centre around Lina, Maggie and Sloane – all of whom have been affected in some way by sex. I suppose it is one of those things that still seems a little taboo: women talking openly about sex. This just highlights the misogyny that the women faced in a patriarchal society. 

I enjoyed reading Three Women but I do feel that it was a victim of its own hype. The way Taddeo writes is engaging and you do want to read more but Three Women was hyped up that much that I personally think I was expecting more.

That being said, Maggie’s story broke me a little. She was just a young vulnerable girl who was taken advantage of by someone in power who should have known better and when whole thing got out of control it was Maggie who was, once again, the victim.

Three Women by Lisa Taddeo is available now.

For more information regarding Lisa Taddeo (@LisaTaddeo) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Bloomsbury (@BloomsburyBooks) please visit
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You have definitely heard of this book. If you follow any sort of bookstagrammer/blogger/anything book related online you will have seen people raving about this book.

It’s non-fiction, though it reads like a novel. Taddeo interviewed swarms of women, asking them to divulge the darkest secrets of their lives – their fantasies, their lusts, their loves. Some women dropped out, some women didn’t make the cut, but in the end we have three women here who have very different but very relevant stories to tell us.

Lina’s husband won’t kiss her, won’t touch her. She gives him three months – in her head, not out loud – and if he hasn’t touched her in that timeframe then she’s leaving him.

Sloane’s husband likes to watch her having sex with other men, women, both. He likes to join in, he likes to be sent videos of it, he likes her to text him throughout. It makes her feel alive, wanted, liberated, closer to her husband than anything else. Other people don’t understand this.

Maggie was a high schooler when her teacher started texting her over winter break. Then he invited her to his house, kissed her, told her he loved her, performed oral sex on her in his locked classroom. And now, years later, she’s realised what he did deserves punishment. But will people believe her when she takes him to court?

Taddeo’s writing is so beautiful that it feels like you’re reading fiction. The storytelling, from their mouths to her head and back out onto the page is so mesmerising and captivating, it’s hard to sometime’s step back and be like ‘shit. These are real women.’ But at the same time, it’s not. These three women’s lives are full of the crap we have to put up with daily. The trauma of sexual assault, the not being believed of reporting it, the mind games and power plays, the judgement for choices about our sexualities.

It’s intense, it’s relatable, and it’s super important, so go and check it out now! 4.5 stars out of 5. Three women is out now.

Have you read it? What are your thoughts?
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I have to admit to not finishing this book, something I rarely ever do. I was intrigued by the premise of the nook, but found it too uncomfortable to read, as it was almost harrowing. I cut my adolescent teeth reading feminist fiction and non-fiction in the 80's from both sides (libertarian and progressive/angry radical), and found it profoundly sad to read the stories of three women in more current times.
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This is a unique work of non-fiction which recounts the lives of Lina, Sloane and Maggie (and also to an extent Arlene, Maggie’s Mother).   The author immersed herself into these women’s lives to understand their backgrounds (societal, geographical and familial) and how these impact their current lives. I was very impressed by the author’s deftness and professionalism.  There is one phrase that resonates:  ‘We pretend to want things that we don’t want so nobody can see us not getting what we need’.  

With thanks to Netgalley and Bloomsbury for a review copy.
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Such an interesting and unusual story. I loved the way it was written and it read so smoothly, like fiction.
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Thanks to Bloomsbury and NetGalley for the Advance Review Copy in exchange for an honest review.

So the media hype is most definitely real with this one. Quite simply, this is a book about the lives, loves and desires of three women. Maggie, a young woman who has become a local pariah, despite being a victim of a predatory teacher. Lina, a victim of abuse trapped in a loveless marriage, who still pines over a lost love, and Sloane, an enigmatic woman from a background of privilege who has a complicated relationship with her own needs and desires.

All of these women are completely fascinating in their own way. In their stories we have outrage and affirmation, love, despair, desperation, raw desire and confusion. It's not always an easy read and there were times I wanted to give some of the women a shake and tell them to get a grip of themselves. I had to remind myself that these are real people with all the associated flaws, demons and idiosyncrasies we carry around. There were some quotes that really hit home about the female experience:

"We pretend to want things we don't want so nobody can see us not getting what we need"

'If only they could have talked more. Now they merely visited each other in beautiful places, where they each kept their own closets of shit'

Of the three women featured I was less into Sloane's story. I felt she was much more of an enigma and I struggled to get to know her and to identify with her experience. Perhaps if I was a stunningly beautiful, WASP type it would have been easier but alas, I am not.

A great book that will leave you both outraged and full of admiration for all the crap we go through in the name of love.
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