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Three Women

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  15,009 ratings  ·  1,938 reviews
Desire as we’ve never seen it before: a riveting true story about the sex lives of three real American women, based on nearly a decade of reporting.

It thrills us and torments us. It controls our thoughts and destroys our lives. It’s all we live for. Yet we almost never speak of it. And as a buried force in our lives, desire remains largely unexplored—until now. Over the pa
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published July 9th 2019 by Avid Reader Press / Simon Schuster
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Cydney Cort This is not about suffering and exploitation. It is more about passion and power. I think it goes for both men and women. We are all fools for love at…moreThis is not about suffering and exploitation. It is more about passion and power. I think it goes for both men and women. We are all fools for love at some point. it is hard not to identify. The author makes no judgement which is what some people complain about but i think the stories are strong and speak for themselves. There is nothing creepy it is honest and compassionate. (less)
Jen She does mention a black woman she followed who finally bowed out of the interview process for a variety of reasons. I get the sense it was a luck of…moreShe does mention a black woman she followed who finally bowed out of the interview process for a variety of reasons. I get the sense it was a luck of the draw that these 3 women just happened to be ones most willing to be intruded on for any length of time.(less)

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3.81  · 
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 ·  15,009 ratings  ·  1,938 reviews

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Aug 06, 2019 rated it it was ok
What even is this book? Broadly, it follows the desires and sex lives of three women but... it feels like a novelization more than reportage. Ten years of following these women went into this book but the author seems more concerned with transcription than any sort of thoughtful analysis. She draws no significant conclusions on the nature of women’s desires. Also, the title could be “Three White Women,” as all three women chronicled here are white. There is nothing wrong with that but it is such ...more
Elyse Walters
Jul 10, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: audiobook
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 more 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 far....
Honest thoughts?
I think very little of it!!
The concept might have been a great idea....
Roman Clodia
This is quite 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 fin
Jul 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sexuality
“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 more 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 ...more
Jessica Lafferty
Jul 07, 2019 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 11, 2019 rated it it was ok
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?
Aug 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: those curious about other people's sex lives
Recommended to Tatiana by: slate
Shelves: non-fiction, 2019
I devoured this book. I couldn't put it down. This past weekend I was continuously either physically reading it or listening to it. Morbid curiosity will do this to you. Three Women pulled me in with the same force that every damn Dear Prudence column pulls me it. I just love reading about other people's dramas. This book delivers the thrills of snooping on someone's personal lives tri-fold.

Lisa Taddeo had intended to write a book about desire, but after spending a decade interviewing her subjec
Jul 10, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: nonfiction
I did find the stories interesting to read, but I have a myriad of issues with the book.

1. 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
Jul 28, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: feminism, nonfiction
I appreciate how this book tackles the topic of female desire explicitly, given how female sexuality is so often stigmatized in contemporary culture. However, several issues got in the way of me enjoying the book or connecting with it more. As my friend Caroline writes in her astute review, I found aspects of the book gender essentialist, such that Lisa Taddeo would make comments about women’s desires broadly, without really analyzing how those desires may stem from socialization or how they may ...more
Jun 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Three Women” is an intense look at the lives of 3 women, delving into their lives over an 8 year period, where they have been interviewed in their home towns. It intrigued me as it was an intimate look at their thoughts and desires, rather like reading someone’s diary.

The 3 women live in different areas, are different ages and social classes, yet they still have the same desires and hopes for the future.

I couldn’t help love Maggie, Sloanne and Lina and even though they chose paths that I would
Claire Reads Books
Jul 15, 2019 rated it liked it
This was an interesting one... The product of more than a decade of research and interviews, this book tells the stories of three women: Maggie, a North Dakota woman who, as a teenager, had an affair with her high school English teacher; Lina, a Midwestern housewife stuck in a sexless marriage; and Sloane, a glamorous Newport restaurateur whose husband likes to watch her sleep with other people. Provocative, explicit, and refreshingly frank, Three Women seems to be perfectly timed for our curren ...more
Book of the Month
"Why I love it"
by Lisa Taddeo

Recently over drinks I asked a friend, “What’s the last book you read that you just couldn’t put down?” Without hesitation, she answered, Three Women. Now, I’m not usually a nonfiction reader—and I have a stack of half-read memoirs to prove it—but with this book, I have to agree with my friend: Three Women sucks you in from the very first page. After all, who would pass up a voyeuristic glimpse behind the bedroom doors (or in some cases, the classroom or car doors) o
Renee (itsbooktalk)
Jul 13, 2019 rated it liked it
It's taken me a few days to get my thoughts together to write what I hope is a usual review. I want to start by saying I think this book is worth reading. It’s bringing about important discussions, I’ve had some really great ones with a few bookstagram friends but I also think it’s important to have the right expectations going in. ⠀⠀
I was excited to read what had been buzzed about as a juicy expose on female desire. This book has been marketed as the next great feminist book based on 8 years o
Britta Böhler
Intriguing idea, a book about female desire, but this book is not about that. At all.
***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--more specifically, the romantic, but mostly sexual, desire of three specific women. These are Lina, an at-home mom of two children and wi
Tyler Goodson
Feb 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arcs
Three Women tells the story of female desire, not as experienced by all women, but by Lina, Maggie, and Sloane. The stories of these women are surprising and thought-provoking, and Lisa Taddeo relates them in a book that is as insightful as it is impossible to put down. It isn't that these three women speak for all women, but that they speak so clearly, honestly, and powerfully for themselves.
Bryn Greenwood
Reviewed for The Washington Post, to be published July 9, 2019.
A buzzy book it felt imperative to engage with, so I made sure I was first in the library queue for it. I read the Author’s note and Prologue; I skimmed the Epilogue. That was enough. I feel about this book the way I did about My Absolute Darling: so many have acclaimed it as brilliant, but I don’t feel any need to expose myself to the disturbing content. Many trusted reviewers have concluded that, despite her stated aims, Taddeo doesn’t say anything original about female desire. I also expect t ...more
Claire Gibson
Jul 15, 2019 rated it it was ok
I have no idea how to rate this book. On one hand, "Three Women" is a fascinating tale — but I wouldn't call it an accurate depiction of female desire, as it's being billed. To me, it is a sad tragedy about sexual dysfunction — not about sex as it should be. It is pornographic — at times, even more pornographic than I thought necessary. However that didn't surprise me, considering the fact that the book sought to lift the veil on "desire." I would love to read a book about healthy sexuality. Sad ...more
Meredith B.  (readingwithmere)
5 Stars!

Because it's the quotidian minutes of our lives that will go on forever, that will tell us who we were, who our neighbors and our mothers were, when we were too diligent in thinking they were nothing like us. This is the story of three women.

I don't read a lot of non-fiction. When I heard that this book came out I wasn't sure what to think of it but it got a lot of buzz. As I dove in I realized how important this book being a woman myself and to society as a whole.

Eight years of resear
Oof. This BOOK. Three women; eight years; their love and sex and desires meticulously recorded, celebrated, foregrounded. It is, almost unbelievably, nonfiction that – in the very truest sense – reads like a novel; Lisa Taddeo gives her subjects the care and complete focus that we often only give to the people we’ve made up.

The three women she chooses are Maggie, who has an affair with her high school English teacher at fifteen, and at twenty-three decides to seek justice; Lina, who marries the
Jul 31, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: non-fiction
DNF-ing at 34% because this book is making me feel incredibly angry. The fact that I wasn't going to like it was pretty apparent from the beginning, as the prologue reeks of victim-blaming: Lisa Taddeo describes how her mother was followed to work for a long time by a man who masturbated in plain sight while looking at her, and wonders why her mother "let that happen". She goes on to ask herself if maybe her mother secretly enjoyed the experience. If you need an explanation of why this is fucked ...more
Jaclyn Crupi
Jun 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
If you read narrative non-fiction you simply have to read this. You’re going to want to put down whatever you’re reading and get this instead. Lina, Maggie and Sloane and all their desires, obsessions, contradictions, hopes and disappointments are rendered with such compassion and dignity. The achievements of this book will floor you. To Lina, Maggie and Sloane, I see you, I understand you, I believe you. To Lisa Taddeo, I am in awe of you.
Jul 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"Sex is everybody's home, but nobody's address." -- Manisha Charak

I'm not sure what initially drew me to select Lisa Taddeo's Three Women from the library's new release shelf, but I think that this book has similarities to Gay Talese's earlier groundbreaking 1981 non-fiction hit Thy Neighbor's Wife (which has long been on my GR 'favorites' list). Taddeo and Talese both obviously have investigative journalism experience pulsing strongly through their veins.

Taddeo's voyeuristic work focuses on thr
Aug 19, 2019 rated it it was ok
@avidreaderpress #partner Okay. This is going to be a long one. I want to preface this by saying that my negative opinions about this book are not directed towards the brave women who shared their stories with the author.
This book is marketed as a book about female desire. Goodreads pitches this as “the deepest nonfiction portrait of desire ever written.” The authors note at the beginning of my ARC says “I am confident that these stories convey vital truths about women and desire.” But I have t
Jaclyn (sixminutesforme)
Jul 18, 2019 rated it did not like it
Before I share my thoughts on this, please know I don’t do so lightly and my comments in no way pass judgment on the experiences shared by the women.

I had two key issues with this book - firstly the writing, specifically the use of imagery and metaphor, is some of the most jarringly awkward I have come across. More importantly though, I think there are some major issues with the way that this book is pitched as being about “desire” more broadly. The majority of the experiences shared in this foc
Jun 26, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019, nonfiction, arc
It's the nuances of desire that hold the truth of who we are at our rawest moments. I set out to register the heat and sting of female want so that men and other women might more easily comprehend before they condemn. Because it's the quotidian moments of our lives that will go on forever, that will tell us who we were, who our neighbors and our mothers were, when we were too diligent in thinking they were nothing like us. This is the story of three women.

Three Women is an odd little book: Aut
Mar 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Three Women follows - somewhat unsurprisingly - three women in contemporary America: Maggie had a relationship with her teacher when at school and is now at the trial to see whether he will be convicted, Lina is in an unhappy marriage and turns back to the one man in her life who ever satisfied her sexually, Sloane lives to fulfil the sexual whims of her husband who likes to watch her sleep with other men. The reader gets to know these women over the course of the book, which I took to be anythi ...more
Jul 27, 2019 rated it really liked it

'People in towns like Lina's think people are good people if they're not cheating, if they are not leaving home. Lina is having a mental breakdown because nobody cares. Nobody died, so nobody cares. She feels that she's suffocating. She has these three children she has to keep alive day in, day out, and if anything happened to them she would die, but at the same time, they are weights. She feels alone in caring for them. She feels alone in caring for herself. She wishes she could stop caring
Aug 30, 2019 added it
Shelves: stopped-reading
There must be something wrong with me because I’ve found myself seriously underwhelmed with many of my recent reading selections. Usually it’s the writing more than the story that doesn’t impress, but here it is both. I’m out! My first DNF of 2019.

Also, this book isn’t about female desire.
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“We pretend to want things we don't want so nobody can see us not getting what we need.” 20 likes
“Look at me. I put this war paint on, but underneath I’m scarred and scared and horny and tired and love you.” 12 likes
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