This book is unlike anything I’ve ever read before! Lisa Taddeo spent eight years driving across the country listening to women’s deeply personal accounts of desire. The result is an intimate and at times excruciating retelling of three of these women’s stories.
Lina, a melancholy homemaker in suburban Indiana, is in a loveless, passionless marriage, and reconnects with a man from her past for secret meetups. Maggie is 17 years old when she becomes consumed by an inappropriate relationship with her married high school teacher—and ultimately presses charges against him years later. Sloane, beautiful and successful, is married to a man whom she loves who likes to watch her have sex with other people.
Taddeo manages to relay their accounts with a reporter’s precision—straightforward and factual—while magically making us feel like we’re reading a riveting fictional novel. I was captivated by these women and their stories (particularly Lina and Maggie). Though each one was so different, they conveyed such universal truths about womanhood and desire; I could see parts of myself in all three of them.
At one point Taddeo observes that “there is nothing safer than wanting nothing.” Desire itself is an act of immense courage, laying oneself bare to the possibility of disappointment—not to mention the judgments of others. I’m in awe of these three women for the bravery it took to reveal themselves in such agonizing detail, to share with the world their complexities, desires and traumas, so that we all might allow each other and ourselves a little bit more grace.