I set out to register the heat and sting of female want so that men and other women might easily comprehend before they condemn. 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.
Lisa Taddeo spent 8 years interviewing, listening and talking to the women from her book trying to understand them in order to give in her book an intense look at the lives of Lisa, Maggie and Sloane. Three Women is a story of failed love, disappointing marriages, unmet or unfulfilled sexual and emotional needs but also this book shows clearly injustice in society, how women’s happiness dependent on men and how other women have no empathy to their kinds and too often misjudge women and without hesitation support patriarchy.
Three Women is advertised as an honest account of sexual relationships of average women but for that Lisa Taddeo wouldn’t need to drive 6 times across America to find some women to be able to write about them. Instead, she created a powerful and heartbreaking story which should give society a proper shakeup and help to not stigmatise women because of their choices and how much actual choice they’ve made themselves and how much depend on a right or a wrong man their meet on their ways.
What the fuck do you know about young women, Maggie thinks. We don’t remember what we want to remember. We remember what we can’t forget.
Definitely, the most heartbreaking story is Maggie’s and the trial was publicized therefore her name as well as Knodel’s are not pseudonyms. She was sixteen when she had sex with a thirty-something military man while visiting her family in Hawaii. After coming back she’d seen psychologist and therapist who had prescribed many pills to make her feel better. She can’t talk to her parents who had been functioning alcoholics, although her family described as an unstable is not actually described why is so, so she started to write letters to her teacher Aaron Knodel. He is married and chosen the Teacher of the Year yet he doesn’t hesitate to simply use her in his sexual activity games. Her own words from the beginning of their relationship are used against her in court and she is described as a troubled girl who tried to seduce all men. In the trail she confesses: I was amazed. I felt special, I felt wanted. An older man was going to leave his wife for me - but she did not have any proof to show his text messages, which she deleted as he had asked her. She only had her paper copy of Twilight full of Knodel’s Post-it notes where he encouraged her fantasy, but forensic document examiner couldn’t give 100% assurance that it was his handwriting. She is only one and true proof of herself in court against the status of the man and everything that society thinks and wants to believe.
The world sees Aaron Knodel as people are primed to see him, or, perhaps more chillingly, what people see is based on what someone they respect has told them to see.
More hopeful story is Lina’s - an Indiana housewife married to a postal worker who refuses to kiss her.
For eleven years the man in bed beside her has not French-kissed her, and that is one of the only things she asks for. She remembers the bright, confident eyes of the therapist who said, ‘Well that’s okey. That’s normal’.
Lina hates them both.
She pursues Aidan, her high school sweetheart, now married with children of his own.
They meet only according to Aidan’s timetable in hotels or in the backs of cars but he provides great sex and Lina although liberated and satisfied she also feels that their encounters is heartening. She is totally lost and obsessed in her pursue of contentment This is the only thing she has ever wanted. Lina believes that getting laid by the person you think is the most attractive at the moment is the most important biological need that many people subvert on an hourly basis.
But there is hope in Lina’s story that she is not ashamed to talk about her desires and she has got boost from her affair to stand on her own.
The last story of Slaone’s - is less vital but I guess still worth to get a full picture of women roles. She is rich, married and owns restaurant and she is also a swinger whose husband chooses a man for her and he likes to watch her doing so. This story is least transparent but we getting to know some bits from her background which can explain a bit the way she was brought up.
Sometimes doing the wrong thing just feels too right.
Three Women is an essential read for everyone who thinks that feminists have done already job and there is too much talking about women freedom and independence. This book shows how women still very easy judge each other and I realised that I also belong to this group which makes me low too though I am happy I’ve read Three Women. This story shows how quick society believes in men’s point of view and men’s figure and judging women by their look or their background. I believe this book will make you angry and sad that there are still too many women out there dependent on men in pursuit of their happiness. This book made me sad too that talking about women pleasure is society’s taboo while men’s fantasies are publicly well accepted. This book shows that desire doesn’t always make logical sense but this is natural human’s need and every single page of this book proves this.
Lisa Taddeo has done an utterly essential job and her writing without tone of judgment is simply great. Three Women is a gripping reading which can’t leave anyone without feeling its greatness.
Reviewer: Monika Barrera
Review rating: 5/5
Date published: July 2019
Publisher: Bloomsbury Circus
Genre: Nonfiction, Anthropology & Sociology Biographies