Today, it’s a very exciting review – the book that is ‘the book of the summer’, Lisa Taddeo’s brilliant and breathtaking book, Three Women.
This book is having a moment. Well, more than a moment. It’s a book that is everywhere at the moment – from social media to the poolside as a must-have-holiday read and it’s in the book charts week after week while also opening up discussion and debate. So, what’s Three Women all about? Here’s the blurb:
All Lina wanted was to be desired. How did she end up in a marriage with two children and a husband who wouldn’t touch her?
All Maggie wanted was to be understood. How did she end up in a relationship with her teacher and then in court, a hated pariah in her small town?
All Sloane wanted was to be admired. How did she end up a sexual object of men, including her husband, who liked to watch her have sex with other men and women?
Three Women is a record of unmet needs, unspoken thoughts, disappointments, hopes and unrelenting obsessions.
This is a book that I’ve been wanting to read for some time now as I love books that are having a moment, a cultural moment and I can’t help but feel FOMO and missing the conversations around this book. The cover (this is the UK version) is striking and the blurb drew me in straight away. I was also drawn to this book as I find the themes and ideas – of love, desire, gender, sexuality (and more) so interesting.
Three Women is non-fiction, an investigation into three women’s lives and their relationship with love and desire. It’s non-fiction but it reads like a piece of fiction. Lisa Taddeo’s writing is just brilliant. It draws you into these three women and their lives and at times you forget you’re reading a piece of non-fiction. Taddeo spent eight years with these women, even moving and living into their towns to get a better understanding of their lives. It’s a riveting read that is addictive and doesn’t let you look away.
The stories of the three women in this book are completely different but similar, too. Taddeo explores the idea of desire and sexuality in relation to these three women and their stories. The book switches from woman to woman. I loved reading all of their stories and it will want to make you stay up all night frantically turning the pages to find out what happens next. This is a thorough, even forensic examination of female desire – it’s often quite uncomfortable to read and it’s not a joyous read – it’s brutal, eye-opening but it’s thought-provoking and again, a book that I couldn’t put down.
“It’s the quotidian minutes of our lives that will go on forever, that will tell us who we were, who our neighbours and our mothers were, when we were too diligent in thinking they were nothing like us. This is the story of three women.”
Could it have been more intersectional? Absolutely. There were moments where it lost my attention for a bit but overall, this is a big accomplishment of a book. This is going to be a classic and people will be returning to the book for years to come, especially in gender studies. This book couldn’t take my attention away – I was hooked and riveted by these stories and the wonderful writing of Lisa Taddeo. The book of the summer, the book of the year, the book of female desire that has sparked conversation, debate and it looks like it’s not going to stop anytime soon…
After reading the book, I’ve read a lot of interviews with Lisa Taddeo on the book. This from The Guardian is really brilliant. You can read it here. It really is a brilliant piece. I’ve also been listening to her on podcasts – I really enjoyed the episode of her on the Goop podcast and I’m still trying to find as much as I can! The book has also been optioned for a television drama on ShowTime which I can’t wait to see it on television and most importantly, I can’t wait to see what Taddeo writes next.
Have you read Three Women? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!