THREE WOMEN By Lisa Taddeo

Lisa Taddeo spent eight years researching these profiles of three women and sexuality from women’s perspectives. Taddeo visited their towns, met their friends and families, studied their jobs and the patterns of their lives…and their sexual desires.

I confess, I’ve been baffled by women and their behaviors throughout my life. And, I grew up with three sisters so I had plenty of behavior to experience. That’s why Lisa Taddeo’s book fascinated me. In North Dakota, Taddeo chronicles the predicament of Maggie, a high school student who has a relationship with her handsome, married English teacher. This is NOT To Sir, With Love. Taddeo travels to suburban Indiana and introduces the reader to Lina, a frustrated mother of two, whose husband isn’t interested in affection or love or sex. Lina connects with an ex-boyfriend on Facebook (where else?) and Taddeo reports on the passionate affair that results. The third woman, Sloane, is a wealthy restaurant owner in the Northeast. She is happily married to a man who likes to watch Sloane have sex with other men and women.

Lisa Taddeo writes with a novelist’s eye for detail and immediacy. This is not dry, academic writing. All the events are told through the women’s viewpoints. I understand the guys in Three Women, even when they’re behaving badly (maybe especially when they’re behaving badly). The emotionality of the women in Three Women leaves me pondering about the complexity and fragility of the female psyche. GRADE: A

26 thoughts on “THREE WOMEN By Lisa Taddeo

  1. wolf

    We have an old joke there:
    A guy liberates a genie from a bottle and gets three wishes.
    He asks for the genie to build a motorway with a bridge between Europe and the USA.
    Hm, says the genie, a bit extreme – do you have any other wishes?
    Yes, I’d like to understand women.
    The genie answers:
    Back to the bridge – would two lanes be ok?

  2. Deb

    @Wolf: I’ve heard the same joke, but with peace in the Mideast replacing the motorway as the less impossible thing.

    As for this book, it doesn’t seem to be my cup of tea at all. I’d rather read a romance novel where women aren’t treated as exotic species, but simply as humans with needs and wants and desires, and there’s a guaranteed “happily ever after.”

    1. george Post author

      Deb, Lisa Taddeo’s portaits of these three women shows the complexity of their desires. And a Happy Ending doesn’t seem to be in the cards.

  3. Jeff Meyerson

    I’m with Deb, other than the romance novel part. Interesting, sure, but it doesn’t appeal to me at all.

  4. Deb

    I guess I’m puzzled about “desire” being so complex. Surely most humans (regardless of gender), being social and physical animals, crave intimacy of various levels. What’s baffling to me is that that concept—especially as related to women—is baffling!

    1. george Post author

      Deb, I don’t want to speak for Lisa Taddeo, but I’m guessing “desire” in these three women overcome Good Sense. In my younger days, desire lead me into some situations that I shake my head at today. What was I thinking?

  5. Steve Oerkfitz

    My problem with books like this: how do I know these are “real” women and not made up. I’m assuming real names are not used here. Readers have been conned before. Remember James Frey.

    1. george Post author

      Steve, I usually read books like THREE WOMEN with the knowledge that the work is “based on true stories.” There’s always an element of interpretation. And, sometimes, fraud.

  6. Jerry House

    I don’t think men are supposed to understand the female psyche, George. We should just acknowledge it and love them either for it or in spite of it.

    And I think women can have a hard time coming to grips with the Y chromosome.

  7. Michael Padgett

    I must admit that when you turn to non-fiction you usually feature books I wouldn’t read at gunpoint, but this sounds quite interesting and has gotten great reviews. I put a library hold on it seemingly months ago and there are so many holds I still haven’t gotten it, but I’m looking forward to it.

  8. Rick Robinson

    And happy Martin Luther King Day to you, too, George. Seems like an unusual choice for a post on this Day.

    Making a sharp focus on gender differences doesn’t help anybody. There’s n way I’d waste time on this book or any like it.

    1. george Post author

      Rick, I considered a post about the movie, JUST MERCY, but Patti Abbott’s reaction to it changed that option. I also considered reviews of works by Ralph Ellison (INVISIBLE MAN) and Richard Wright (NATIVE SON). But, in the end, I opted for THREE WOMEN. Martin Luther King Day–despite the banks and schools being closed–doesn’t get the respect it should. Some of our local Colleges have classes today. My Aquatic Center is open with regular hours. All the stores and malls are open here.

      1. Jeff Meyerson

        I loved INVISIBLE MAN. Terrific book. I never read NATIVE SON, but Wright’s BLACK BOY has stayed with me since I read it in high school.

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