There is no private life excluding what we experience as our public life. Both of them are interconnected and interdependent. The oppression that one faces in one’s personal life is bound to find expression in their public life and vice versa. Somewhere the struggle to maintain the balance between the two and lead a stable and idealistic life becomes more intense for women. “Three Women” tells the tale of three such female lives that struggles to survive through the odds that their lives throw their way. It sure has its drawbacks but overall it is a story that has a huge universal appeal. Here is a little sneak peek into what the story promises to bring to the table.
Three Women is a marvel of journalism and a triumph of narrative, overflowing with subtlety and humanity, based on years of intensive investigation and delivered with astounding candidness and spontaneity.
Lina is a housewife and a mother of two, who is a resident of suburban Indiana. She has been married for 10 years and after a decade her marriage has lost the luster of the initial days. Lina is desperate for affection, suffers from daily panic attacks, and, within a week of reconnecting with an ex-lover via social media, gets engrossed in an extramarital affair that escalates pretty quickly.
Maggie, a 17 years old high-schooler allegedly gets involved in a carnal relationship with her attractive, married English teacher; the resulting trial will flip their low-key neighborhood inside out. Life is about to lose the simplicity it once had for Lina. However, an unstable conjugal relationship between her parents leads her to crave affection more than anything else in life.
At last, the readers are introduced to Sloane, a stunning, successful, and elegant restaurant owner, “happily” married to a man who enjoys watching her engage in sexual activities with other individuals, both men, and women, in an elite enclave of the Northeast.
Let’s start with the positives.
Taddeo’s writing is dependably excellent. Not in the notion that she is a fantastic prose stylist (although the prose is fantastic at times), but that in the way she embodies each one of her three themes. Each lady has her own unique voice, and the story unfolds from their respective perspectives. Taddeo nearly becomes a conduit rather than an author. It’s a page-turner to read.
Yes, this huge “but” stops the book from being a 5/5. There are numerous problems that lay in the presentation as well as the interpretation of the novel. The problem is, if you take up the book hoping to see some empowering feministic story unfolding before your eyes, then you could not be further away from the perfect choice. “Three Women” does not attempt to portray perspectives that one finds clarity. “Three Women” is just a story that tells the story of three women which many others could relate to on different levels.
Initially, the story was supposed to be a take on human desires. However, while doing her research, Taddeo came across the realization that there aren’t many dimensions to male desires, (whatever be the reasons behind it). Women on the other hand had much to share. Taddeo came across three such real stories which portrayed the disturbances and shades of human desires, from where they stem, how they need to be dealt with, where they put you if not dealt with enough caution, and so on.
So you see, these are stories that do not seek to inspire or influence you in any way regarding the steps you take, but just assures you that you are not alone. People approaching the book with any other expectations would of course be disappointed.
However, there are certain problems in the portrayal of the pages as well. Often times the writing would suggest misogynistic approaches and show as if they are something women might celebrate. There are also places where the book makes out a man to be the center of the world of a woman. Her problems, the solutions to the problems, her existence, her stability is all as if directed and balanced on that one man who she makes (and should make) the center of her universe. These misappropriations are certainly very disturbing, that too when considered as coming from a woman.
However, the narrative style of the novel is not that of guidance. The author gets lost behind the lenses of the characters. It’s more like a report of the incidents that the characters had to endure and survive from their perspectives. The author does not leave much space for the discussion of her own perspectives and opinions.
Another unjust aspect of the novel is the fact that the stories are told entirely from the women’s perspectives. The men are never given a voice. Though in the case of Maggie’s story, the man is given a chance to reach the audience via the court case trials and other reports, but that is it. However, here too there is another completely justifiable reason. Much of the history of English literature deals with the voices of men, saying nothing about the voice of their mistresses. Literature could probably afford a text-based entirely on women’s voices
There are quite a few things that are wrong with the book, but a majority of those problems lie in how the book is being advertised and suggested to you and your perceptions of the pages. If you like knowing about the lives of people, the struggles they have gone through, and maybe even gain inputs from the same, then this would be a good choice. If you are looking for a feministic upheaval, then you clearly are in the wrong aisle.