Three Women

{ Trigger warning: abuse, sexual assault, suicide, violence } Three Women by Lisa Taddeo is a collective portrait of three women's lives after Taddeo spent eight years interviewing them and talking with them about desire. Maggie is 23 and has gone to trial with her high school teacher with whom she was in a relationship when she was 17. Lina is in a passion-less marriage when she decides to leave her husband and begin an affair with her married high school love she lost after she was raped by three men as a teen at a party. Sloane owns a restaurant with her now husband Richard, where they often invite a third person into the bedroom or she sleeps with other men while her husband watches. All three women share very different desires, but all have been informed by trauma.

This book has a lot of opinions swirling out there. All I can attempt to do is offer MY opinion on what I felt while reading this book, and I do not claim to speak for everyone. As this book is called Three Women and not all women, all I can offer an opinion on is the three stories in this book and I do understand that this book in no way portrays the desires and traumas of all women.

Many people have called this book anti-feminist and misogynistic. I felt the opposite. To say "this isn't all women" or "why is it all about the men", in my opinion invalidates these women's stories. It continues to perpetuate that trauma has some kind of barometer and that something has to be at a certain level in order to "count." These aren't characters to be flushed out but actual living and breathing women. And I think you'd be hard-pressed to find many people who haven't had some form of trauma impact them and inform their choices. I hope we're moving into a time where women can continue to be more supportive of one another and not be so quick to judge another's choices even if they don't align with their own. I hope we're continuing to move to a place where people believe women. That women no longer are subjected with "but did you say no?", "what were you wearing?", "did you try and stop them?", "you must've wanted it", "you should have known better."

The women in this book also have strained and complicated relationships with other women who just can't understand. Or won't. Our natural reaction when we feel threatened is to get defensive, and want to protect what we deem as ours no matter the cost. This book does a fantastic job at studying just how damaging that behavior can be. It also continues to highlight the unequal power balance between men and women that continues to exist and how that inequality impacts many women's sexual experiences and perceptions of themselves. Parts of this book are uncomfortable to read. They're supposed be. You're meant to sit with it and be unsure. And you will be. At times this book is heartbreaking, complex, inspiring, emotional, sad, uplifting, exploitative, maddening and relatable. But it is so important. And in my opinion, a must read for everybody. Go in with an open-mind, open-heart and see what you learn.

Book Rating: ☕️☕️☕️☕️☕️
Thanks to Avid Reader Press for a copy to review. All opinions are my own!

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