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Book review: Lisa Taddeo's Three Women

Forget Fifty Shades of Grey, they are so yesterday. If you wish to learn about true desire, better look for Lisa Taddeo‘s nonfiction Three Women. The author has documented her communication with three American women over the course of eight years, which then she constructed into three vivid narratives conveying „vital truths about women and desire.“ Desire to love and to be loved.

Despite being a work of nonfiction, the book relies on a figurative stories with many extraordinary metaphors told from those three women‘s perspective but not in the first person. Moreover, the pages are full of descriptions of sex scenes that Maggie, Lina and Sloane were involved in by fulfilling their desire or at least the notion of it.

„My mother never spoke about what she wanted. About what turned her on or off. Sometimes it seemed that she didn‘t have any desires of her own. That her sexuality was merely a trail in the woods, the unmarked kind that is made by boots trampling tall grass. And the boots belonged to my father.“ This is why the first intention of Lisa Taddeo was to write the stories of men and their yearnings. However, after a number of conversations with men, she came to a conclusion that men‘s stories tend to end „in the stammering pulses of orgasm“, meanwhile at the same point the woman‘s story is just about to begin. Therefore, the author shifted her focus to explore the desire impossible to control and there she found „the most magnificence, the most pain.“

The story of Maggie is the saddest and hopeless of all three. She had a relationship with a married high school teacher when she was seventeen. At the time Maggie felt special and loved and didn‘t think of being sexually used and manipulated by an adult man. The relationship abruptly ended when his wife found an sms from Maggie. What followed was Maggie‘s mental downfall, which totally ruined her young life. But when several years later she notices an article stating that her teacher was announced the Teacher of the Year, Maggie takes a courage to report the crime. But who is going to believe her, a life‘s wreck, as opposed to a handsome education professional and a father of three?

Lina‘s piece of narrative is somewhat shallow but more than enough to script a porno. Raped as a teenager, she is forced to be content with any husband she gets. But in her thirties Lina starts to long for a real sexual desire, which is finally ignited within her. However, her husband refuses to give her a French kiss whenever she feels for one, and barely touches her in bed. Lina promises herself to leave her husband, if he woudn‘t make love to her in three months. When the given period ends with despair, she knows she must take a change. The change is her ex boyfriend from a high school who becomes her lover and wildly satisfies all her desires, French kisses being just an innocent child play. Unfortunately the lover has a family of his own and the relationship turns only into a momentum pleasure seeking activity where Lina totally understands just being used.

The third story of Sloane is much more sophisticated and simultaneously much kinkier. A pretty lady from a higher society family, happily married to a restaurant chef, bisexual and a swinger. Her husband likes her to fuck other men while he is watching in person or on video, and it seems that she likes it, too. But a second thought comes when a wife of one of her constant partners in ménage à trois finds out about this affair and blames Sloane for stealing her husband. Suddenly Sloane realizes that „it wasn‘t her desire, but mostly theirs, that she was serving.“ That after all these years of swinging her own desire was simple and mundane: after a nice dinner with her family her husband turns the faucet on with a smile and begins washing the dishes. „Without having been told“!

Three Women is not only a sexually entertaining documentary proving the ordinary women to have extraordinary desires. The book also demonstrates how desires might complete your life or shatter it to pieces. So be careful while dreaming and take advice from the author’s dying mother, “don’t let them see you happy… If they see you happy, they will try to destroy you.”

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