Officially classified as a work of gender studies this fantastic book about three women reads more like a cross between investigative journalism and a biography. The stories of the three women featured in the book flows so well that you could read it in one sitting.
As the author’s note points out this is a work of nonfiction in which she spent eight years with the women she writes about. Her time was spent finding out about their lives, their stories, talking to their family and friends in order to write what is a masterpiece.
In sharing with us the story of three women, Maggie, Lina and Sloane Taddeo is also telling the stories of millions of women around the world who voice is or was not heard. On many times reading THREE WOMEN I recalled court cases where the women’s character and life were shredded by the prosecutors. I recalled the thousands of newspaper headlines commenting on a women’s behaviour based on heresy. One case that came to mind again and again was the Belfast Rape Trial where the girls’ character was destroyed forever and yet as I write Paddy Jackson’s rugby career is on the road to recovery.
The story of Maggie was for me the most powerful of the three. Maggie’s story highlights the challenges of when, why and by whom women’s stories are believed and when, why they are not and the devastating consequences of both. Maggie has a relationship with her teacher that is not a fully physical relationship. Taddeo writes brilliantly about how the teacher, the man, the person in authority abused his power. He begins to control her thinking, who she is friendly with, when she should see him and what she should say. This is like a car crash happening in front of your eyes and you want to shout out to Maggie step away because this is only to end one way, very badly for her. As Taddeo says the world needs to believe nice looking men would not do this otherwise who can we trust. We’ve all heard people say “oh he is such a lovely looking man he can be trusted”.
There is a sentence in the book that summed it all up for me “revolutions take a long time to reach places where people share more Country Living recipes than articles about ending female subjugation”.
Taddeo gets to the heart of the stories and lays bare starkly the total lack of control these women had over their lives because of the men in them. The book ends with an unbelievable powerful epilogue that will stay with me for a very long time. Not only do I believe this is essential reading for everyone I hope that someday it will make it onto the school curriculum as essential reading for discussion. If you read only one book this year make it this one.