Three Women

Three Women

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...

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Title:Three Women
Author:Lisa Taddeo
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Edition Language:English

Three Women Reviews

  • Matt

    - Lisa Taddeo,

    It is hard to know where to start with Lisa Taddeo’s fascinating, frustrating, and utterly absorbing

    .

    So, let’s start with her thesis statement.

    This project began with Taddeo’s yearning to write “a book about human desire.” Perhaps something along the lines of

    , Gay Talese’s classic of the sexual revolution.

    As Taddeo explains in a brief forward, however, she soon ran into some obstacles.

    First, after talking with

    different men, she decided that all male desire “began to bleed together.” This is a rather vague way of writing-off literally half the human population, but no big deal. Male desire (in its infinite variations, I might add) has been covered before. It is entirely legitimate to focus solely on women.

    Accordingly, Taddeo readjusted her focus to encompass only female desire. To gather research, she crossed the country six times, putting up fliers and loitering in coffee shops, to find women willing to have a frank (as in open-your-diary frank) discussion. She gives no indication as to what neighborhoods she entered, or what neighborhoods she avoided, or where she put up her fliers, but suffice to say, she did not gather a statistically valid random sample.

    Instead, she ran into the second obstacle, to wit: finding willing participants. Taddeo was clearly looking to do a soul-deep dive, to attain a level of detail that is shocking, even in this era of oversharing. It’s a big ask, and it is not surprising that many potential subjects eventually balked and withdrew.

    Thus, Taddeo’s original project was whittled down once more. No longer a book about female desire, it transformed into a book about the desires (however that is defined) of three women.

    The three women are Maggie, Lina, and Sloane. (Maggie, due to her circumstances, is the only one not afforded a pseudonym).

    All three are white. All are straight. This might seem circumscribed, but I can accept it as being in the nature of this kind of book, which relies on a certain kind of willing participant. Obviously, this is a self-selected group, made up of individuals who are – I venture to say – different from most of the rest of us by sheer dint of the fact that they were willing to respond to Taddeo’s initial query, and later willing to see this through to the end. These are unique humans in that they are willing to say aloud, to a

    , things most people hesitate to say to themselves.

    Maggie is a sixteen-year old raised by parents who seem to be functioning alcoholics. (It is stated that her family is somehow unstable, but that instability is not defined). Shortly after meeting her, she has sex with a thirty-something soldier while visiting Hawaii. This troubling event is only the beginning, as the bulk of Maggie’s tale is her affair (which includes sexual activity, though not intercourse) with married North Dakota Teacher of the Year Aaron Knodel.

    (The trial was highly publicized, hence the use of Maggie’s and Knodel’s real names).

    Lina is introduced via a women’s group session at the Kinsey Institute. She is an Indiana housewife married to a postal worker who refuses to kiss her. As in:

    . Eventually, Lina hooks up with an old high-school flame who provides great sex, though only on his timetable, and only on his terms. Her affair is a doomed and passionate thing.

    Finally, there is Sloane, who comes from wealth, lives near the sea, is married to a chef, and owns a restaurant with her husband. She is also a swinger whose husband likes to watch her with other men. She is not sure if she likes this and is not sure if she does not like it. Sloane is the most opaque, the most unknowable. She sleeps with women, for instance, yet she never identifies as bisexual. Of the three, Sloane’s story seems the least vital; I appreciated her chapters mainly as a respite from the visceral, oft-excruciating, oft-heartbreaking Maggie and Lina chapters.

    Taddeo’s writing is consistently amazing. Not in the sense that she is a wonderful prose stylist (though at times the prose is wonderful), but in the way that she inhabits each of her three subjects. Each woman has their own distinctive voice, and the narrative unfolds from each of their individual points of view. Taddeo almost becomes more of a conduit than an author. It makes for gripping reading.

    Like many talented persons, Taddeo tends to show off, meaning that she occasionally delivers a clunker of a line. For example, while describing Lina’s women’s group, she observes that: “The wine tastes like cold sneezes.” First, ew. Second, what? The things I do not know about female desire can fill the infinite void of outer space. Bad wine, on the other hand, is my expertise. I live on the bottom shelf, with the five-dollar liter-and-a-halfs of chardonnay, and I have never tasted wine that resembles a “wet sneeze.” It’s a description too clever by half.

    (I’m sure that Taddeo wants nothing to do with a Norman Mailer comparison, but Mailer did this very thing in

    . Like Mailer in his opus, she attempts to subsume herself into the lexicon of her characters, speaking through them. Like Mailer, she proves unable to resist delivering a polished phrase or two that could only have come from her).

    is getting a lot of buzz for a lot of reasons. One of the big reasons is the sex. There is a lot of sex here. We’re talking levels of detail that are unprecedented this side of outright erotica. Some of Lina’s scenes, in particular, are step-by-step, which leads one to wonder how Taddeo gained her information. Is she just a great interviewer? Or was she there? (Talese, infamously, inserted – pun intended – himself into many of his sexual misadventures while writing

    ).

    Unfortunately, Taddeo provides maddeningly little information about her methodology, so we are left to wonder. There are no endnotes, footnotes, or explanations with regard to her research. This is a

    kind of book. As in, you need to trust that the author is being honest. This is fairly easy in the Maggie chapters, since Taddeo could corroborate with trial records, police reports, and the like. In other instances, though, it seems that we are being given single-sourced episodes. There is no indication, for example, that Taddeo spoke, or attempted to speak, with Ed, Lina’s husband, to get his side of the story.

    (I will reiterate that I am perfectly content with Taddeo’s decision to avoid the male perspective. God knows that libraries are filled with those perspectives. The result, though, is less than wholly empathetic, and turns the men into one-dimensional bit-characters, rather than people who are alive, right now, who might view the same occurrences quite differently).

    I assume you have already guessed what I am about to say next. If not, here it is: prurient interest was one of the motivating factors that led me here. When I am informed that something is graphic, or extreme, or possibly in bad taste, I make sure I get to the front of the line to see it. (This is the reason, and the

    reason, I have viewed the films of Lars von Trier). I simply cannot resist. But if you are looking for titillation – something to read round the pool with a glass of sun-gold iced chardonnay, hoping for a bit of an edge to your wine-buzz – you will be disappointed.

    is far from cheaply exploitative as we are from the former-planet named Pluto. It is, at times, immensely sad, even a bit grim. There is sexual assault, substance abuse, suicide, depression. There are aching holes of undefined

    that cannot be explained, much less filled. Of the three women, only Lina expresses any positivity towards sex-for-pleasure. Even she is searching for something, something that goes beyond the physical grapple-and-release.

    Besides the raw depictions of sexuality,

    is sure to engender a bit of controversy. I am speaking, in particular, of the Maggie conundrum. As mentioned above, Taddeo disappears behind the eyes of each of her subjects. This creates a scenario in which there is no overarching authorial voice to nudge us toward an answer or to define a moral boundary. A positive result is that there are no judgments (and Taddeo makes clear that she disapproves the way women judge other women).

    The downside is that Maggie’s entire arc is devoted to her being statutorily raped by older men. This discomfiting reality is wholly ignored, aside from a fleeting sentence or two in the epilogue.

    While I was reading this, I noticed an item trending on social media, cluttering my Facebook and Twitter feeds. The item was a simple phrase, stating that: “An underage woman is a girl.” The point, obviously enough, was to criticize the mainstream media for its coverage of sexual assault of minors.

    This internet flare-up proved an interesting counterpoint to

    , where wholly one-third of the space is taken up with an asymmetrical, coercive relationship between an older man in authority and a teenage girl without any leverage, which is shown as entirely consensual. More than that, Taddeo’s presentation essentially concludes that Maggie only went to the police after she was jilted and overtaken by bitterness that her “ex” had moved on with his life. The result is an uncomfortable collision between feminism and the #MeToo movement that is, unfortunately, never explored.

    (In fairness to Taddeo, raising issues without providing guidance is a pedagogically astute way of starting conversations).

    As I said at the top: it is hard to know what to say about

    . It is also hard to stop talking about it, as this two-thousand-word ramble attests.

    Certainly, it has stuck in my memory far longer than anything else I’ve read in a long time. The paths of Lina and Maggie in particular would support their very own, very different, very powerful books. Taddeo’s act of possession, of speaking as another, and her decision to be a scribe rather than a judge, leaves a lot of lingering questions and discussion points, assuring this title a spot in book clubs for decades to come.

    Ultimately, I don’t think Taddeo proves any universal truth about desire, female or otherwise. Mostly, she got me to care very intensely about people I’ve never met, who I wouldn’t recognize if I saw them crossing the street, and who I devoutly hope will be okay. It is, above all else, a singular work of intimacy and compassion.

  • Emily May

    I can understand why many readers were disappointed with this book. Luckily for me, it was recommended to me the right way: by a friend who painted it as a juicy and compelling portrait of three women's sex lives. Not as some amazing non-fiction project that contains the secrets of female desire.

    If you came for the latter, I think

    I can understand why many readers were disappointed with this book. Luckily for me, it was recommended to me the right way: by a friend who painted it as a juicy and compelling portrait of three women's sex lives. Not as some amazing non-fiction project that contains the secrets of female desire.

    If you came for the latter, I think disappointment awaits.

    is delicious and gossipy. It has its heartbreaking moments, too, but it is mostly a book full of scandalous thrills that narrates far more than it analyzes. So many of my friends read this expecting Taddeo's eight years of research to culminate in something more eye-opening, more diverse and representative of women as a whole. But the title really says it all: this is a book about THREE women. Nothing more.

    It worked well for me, honestly. I knew what I was getting. It reads like a novelization of these women's experiences - in fact, I suspect some parts were embellished for better reading - but I found it very entertaining.

    The book follows - you guessed it - three women and their sex lives. Maggie had a relationship with her married teacher in high school and still bears the scars, Lina is having a passionate affair behind her emotionally-detached husband's back, and Sloane has sex with lots of different people because her husband likes to watch. Judge me all you want, but I couldn't look away!

    One criticism I read was of how this wasn't a very feminist book because all the women's sex lives were influenced or controlled by men. This is true to some extent, and yet Taddeo didn't seem to portray any of the women's stories as necessarily positive or healthy. Through the women's experiences, Taddeo touches upon how gender inequality punishes women for their desire, whether it is a young girl being taken advantage of by an adult man or a married woman feeling trapped in a passionless relationship.

    It is, of course, very limited in its scope, and I find it frustrating that someone saw fit to market this book as some kind of desire manifesto for American women, especially when it's sample - as the title outright admits - is ridiculously tiny. The book itself is very engaging, the three women's stores are interesting, but how anyone could read this and imagine it is representative of most American women, never mind all, is beyond my comprehension.

    If you like novels, genre fiction, scandals and being nosy, I recommend it. If you are in search of an in-depth study of desire, I would look elsewhere.

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  • Tatiana

    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.

    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.

    had intended to write a book about desire, but after spending a decade interviewing her

    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.

    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.

    had intended to write a book about desire, but after spending a decade interviewing her subjects, she ended up with just these 3 stories of women, who were willing to bare it all for her - Maggie, who had a sexual relationship with her high school teacher, Lina, who is obsessed with her illicit lover after spending years in a passionless marriage, Sloane, whose husband loves to watch her have sex with other people. These women allowed Taddeo insight into the minutia of their sexual experiences, and now we can inspect their dirty laundry too.

    Although supposedly a non-fiction book,

    read like a titillating novel, embellished with the quality of details no real human can possibly remember. I personally never fell for Capote's "nonfiction novel" invention, but Taddeo clearly embraced the idea. This work has no semblance of journalistic objectivity, but wow! it's an outstanding yarn.

    After years of working on this book about desire, Taddeo, unsurprisingly, delivers a story of not female desire, but trauma. The further into the book you get, the more tragic it becomes. The only generalized conclusion that you can glean from

    is that our desires are a product of our life experiences, too often the negative ones. Nothing in this book is revolutionary, but it should be lauded for one thing - at least Maggie's story got told. Maybe there finally will be justice for her in this world.

  • 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

    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 finds herself introduced to open marriage built around a ménage theme, and recognises herself as a submissive after reading 'Fifty Shades of Grey'.

    And yet, all three have commonalities: all three women are essentially unfulfilled; all are, to greater or lesser extents, exploited by men. Lina and Maggie are desperately pleading for love from married men who call them up when they choose. Sloane has a troubled history of anorexia/bulimia and despite her seeming assurance, traces early examples of male familial disapproval which affected her adolescence.

    What I found disturbing about the book is a seeming gender essentialism which shows us abject women in thrall to powerful men who control their relationships whether through being unavailable emotionally and physically, sometimes because they're married, or, in the case of Sloane, by a voyeurism which makes her the sexualised object beneath a dual male gaze. The overall tone is one of dysfunctional masochism, especially in the cases of Lina and Maggie.

    It's fascinating to see other women's inner lives but it's also frustrating to see how much pain, misery and lack of agency inhabit these (love) lives. The implication seems to be that whatever happens to level the playing field for women publicly and professionally, there's still an underground struggle for some women who want to be loved in ways that their men and their own choices seem to preclude.

    Thanks to Bloomsbury for an ARC via NetGalley.

  • Lisa

    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?

  • Elyse (retired from reviewing/semi hiatus) Walters

    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....

    But 8

    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....

    But 8 YEARS of research about women’s sexual desires -resulted in THIS???

    Its soooooo boring mixed with sappy flowery prose.

    After the prologue... and basic information about Lisa - her mother - and Lisa’s purpose -its been downhill for me.

    Maybe??? I’ll climb the hill again - but so far.....it’s a crappy disappointment!!

    The sample read on Audiobook was great. It’s from the prologue...

    BECAUSE ITS THE BEST PART!

    The narrators voice who represents Maggie’s story has such a high pitch voice - she sounds like a child... it doesn’t fit the dialogue.

    Honestly... my emotions are high - but not ‘for’ the book...

    I’m kinda appalled - its triggered anger in me. I feel manipulated by the writing...( hate that feeling)..

    We can intellectualize all we want about the “importance” - ha - of this book... but personally - I think it’s dramatic-dullness is too full of itself.

    I’m sorry for being so ‘mean’ ...

    I just don’t get the hype - the value - and MOST... I’m not ‘feeling’ anything ...

    beyond the prologue.

    Lina’s and Sloan’s story is at least read better than Maggie’s story.

    Nothing has surprised me -

    Nothing has moved me.

    I’m going to stay with it, though - see the book to the end. Hoping it improves.

    The writing - although skillful - feels pretentious to me.

  • Roxane

    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

    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 a narrow sample. How are you going to write about women’s desires and only look at one kind of woman? I kept expecting more than transcription and so when I got to the end and there was no there there I was quite angry.

  • Caroline

    ***NO SPOILERS*** BOOK TRIGGER WARNING: sexual abuse, eating disorders, and suicide.

    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

    ***NO SPOILERS*** BOOK TRIGGER WARNING: sexual abuse, eating disorders, and suicide.

    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 wife to an aloof man who hates kissing her; Sloane, a woman with a troubled past whose husband likes watching her have sex with other men; and Maggie, a woman who was molested by her English teacher when she was in high school. They’re living very different lives but are united by a struggle with desire in some way--how it can be contradictory, confusing, or dysfunctional.

    is nonfiction, but author Lisa Taddeo wrote this in an unusual, fiction-like style. I don’t think that style worked well for her purposes. She told each woman’s story from their perspective, as if in their heads, lending the writing a contemplative tone that I really disliked. Then in an effort to sound unique, Taddeo often sounded only awkward or silly:

    And on and on and on.

    When I first heard of this book, and when I just started it, I mistakenly thought it was a feminist work written in a typical nonfiction style--something more elevated, with incisive commentary on the topic. I thought Taddeo would be using the stories of these three women as a springboard to examining all kinds of female desire, on the macro level.

    isn’t that at all. It’s tightly focused on just these three and their stories, which are too specific to offer insight into female desire in the general sense.

    At the risk of sounding unfeeling, I’ll say I couldn’t understand the women profiled. I couldn’t relate to Maggie’s story. I was puzzled by Lina’s downright obsession with kissing and affair with a selfish man. I think Sloane’s husband is disturbed and don’t think highly of Sloane herself. I didn’t want to read, over and over, the kinky-sordid details of their sexual encounters, and I most definitely did not want, at any point ever, to read the finer details of bulimia.

    However, what irked me more than any of that is Maggie’s story. I was angered by it--not

    , but that Taddeo included it at all and how she then portrayed it. By including a story of molestation alongside those of women struggling in their marriages, Taddeo invalidated a crime. In explaining that Maggie reported her teacher years later, right after he was named Teacher of the Year, she insinuated that Maggie did so out of bitterness and vengeance. By romanticizing the molestation with the words “relationship” and “affair,” she erased Maggie’s victimhood and implied complicity. By eroticizing the molestation, she made an inexcusable crime sexy. By blurring the line between consent and victimization, she did an immense disservice to all teen victims of abuse.

    I think I understand what Taddeo was doing. She was trying to show the raw reality of three very

    -black-and-white situations. She wanted to show how desire doesn’t always make logical sense. However, if that was indeed her intention, no matter how you slice it, including a molestation account in a book about female desire is dangerous and irresponsible. Taddeo knows better (for the most part), as she makes plain in the epilogue, but this slight epilogue hardly makes up for everything problematic that came before it.

    What Taddeo wrote is smut--X-rated erotica masquerading as a meaningful examination of an interesting topic. I do

    believe she necessarily set out to write erotica; rather, it was what she ended up with. At no point is there fade-to-black, or even fewer specific details, though Taddeo’s intentions with this topic would have been clearer had that been the case. Whatever overarching message there is about female desire is overshadowed completely by graphic scenes.

    I guess I’m a glutton for punishment, because I did finish

    --but only because my astonishment wouldn’t let me pull away. I also needed to find out whether something at the end would save this book, whether there’d be some lesson or something enlightening I could take away. That never happened--but I’m so relieved to at least be finished with this mess. I’m

    to be finished reading sentences such as, “God how she missed and needed this sort of touch and affection. She missed big dicks! She’d never really had that many.” I’ve now moved on to

    , a book about a 76-year-old waiting to die in a nursing home and that, already at 30-some pages in, is proving more cheerful.

  • Jessica Lafferty

    TLDR: I hated this book so much that I’m genuinely angry

    Advertised as a non-fiction book about women’s sexual desire, I chose this as my Book of the Month pick expecting stories of women exploring what it means to confidently own their sexuality in a Virgin-Whore patriarchal society. What I got instead were three stories in which women’s (exclusively hetero)sexual encounters were graphically (and sometimes awkwardly—Cadbury Cream Eggs are ruined for me forever) relayed as a backdrop to what was

    TLDR: I hated this book so much that I’m genuinely angry

    Advertised as a non-fiction book about women’s sexual desire, I chose this as my Book of the Month pick expecting stories of women exploring what it means to confidently own their sexuality in a Virgin-Whore patriarchal society. What I got instead were three stories in which women’s (exclusively hetero)sexual encounters were graphically (and sometimes awkwardly—Cadbury Cream Eggs are ruined for me forever) relayed as a backdrop to what was unveiled as their “real” priority: to be desired and approved of by men.

    The women themselves were written in such a way that they felt like caricatures of a real person. Maggie, the troubled teen with alcoholic parents, searching for adult approval, taken advantage of by her male teacher—who simultaneously struggles academically and is yet precocious enough to ponder life’s meaning and psychological/emotional complexities. Sloane, the rich girl who settles down with the “good guy” with a fetish with which she is completely uncomfortable but goes along with anyway, until one day she reads 50 Shades and she, I kid you not, “suddenly could see the world clearly,” deciding maybe she liked the fetish after all. Then Lina. Oh Lina, small-town girl, saddled with Catholic guilt and a sexless marriage, meeting up with an ex she has been pining for since high school to have clandestine sex in the back of her car, even though he repeatedly treats her like sh*t.

    Then there are these choice lines: “When girls are without fathers they look under every manhole cover,” and “...women wait [after men leave them]....hoping that he will return with a smashed phone, with a smashed face, and say, I’m sorry, I was buried alive and the only thing I thought of was you...Marry me.” SERIOUSLY? Women just can’t be whole without a man around, and we’ll sit and pine in perpetuity. [insert world’s most massive eye roll]

    Despite being a woman herself, I can’t help but wonder if the author has any respect at all for women...or if she even likes them. After all, she did manage to write a book entitled “Three Women” and somehow make it all about men. 🙄

  • Catherine

    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

    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 women being abused by men.

    2. Even though the synopsis says the women are "from different regions and backgrounds," they are actually not different at all (not only because they're all white Americans). Lina outright says that all she wants is for a man to love her and kiss her, and that she thinks women who say they care more about their careers than love are lying. Sloane, upon seeing a girl, immediately starts a mental competition in her head on who's younger, thinner, more alluring in bed, more interesting to talk to afterwards. And, Maggie, whose favorite book is Twilight, wishes she too could have a vampire romance like the one Bella has. These women are not only not different, but also they are all the negative female stereotypes you've ever heard put into three women, which brings me to my third point.

    3. Why choose these women for the book? I had expected when initially hearing about this book something different entirely. For example, maybe there would be a story of an ambitious woman with a high-powered or lucrative career who hates the idea of marriage and having kids and spends her little free time sleeping with interns and secretaries who are awed by her success. I thought there would be more racial diversity (as well as diversity in sexuality), maybe one of the stories would be about an Asian woman who is married to a man but has a tumultuous affair with another woman: her immigrant parents would never approve, so she keeps quiet about her sexuality and her desires. Just something more interesting and more unique (more "groundbreaking," as the synopsis says) considering the author spent eight years traveling across the country to find and interview women for her book. But, instead, this is a story of three white women whose only ambitions are in relations to men. I would understand if this book was written to help bring justice to the women, like Maggie who no one believed or Lina who was gang raped, but all their names and locations have been changed (as the author said), so this isn't going to help them get justice; this is just to tell a story. So, why not at least tell a story that paints women in a positive, stronger light? Or, at least, doesn't just perpetuate the stereotypes that women only see other women as competition, that they exist solely to please men, that all they want is to get married?

    4. The author writes in the epilogue that the type of woman whose sexual assault experiences are heard is white (along with young, rich, and pretty). It is a random and tactless statement to include, considering the author just got done telling the stories of only white women. It's similar to the way an award show that nominates and awards primarily white actors and actresses will hire a host to crack a few jokes about lack of diversity in Hollywood, as if doing that absolves them from taking any blame of contributing to the problem. The author was looking for some brownie points with that statement and to appease any reader who might have been wondering: "How representative is this book of women and female sexual desire if it only tells the stories of white women?"

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