Three Women

Author: Lisa Taddeo

Published: July 9, 2019

Publisher:    Avis Press (Simon and Schuster)

Where I picked up my book:  Book of the Month choice!

Key Words: nonfiction, sex lives of women, journalistic approach

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My Thoughts:

I was completely, 100% sucked into this book from the very first sentence. To be honest, from the description alone, I was sold! So when Book of the Month chose it as one of their picks, I didn’t hesitate to grab a copy! I went into the book thinking that I was going to get an insiders view into 3 women’s sexual lives and the idea of desire…and I was pumped. I’ve long since realized that there is a barrier when it comes to women and talking about our sex lives. Yes, when we get together with our friends, we might talk about sex a bit, or acknowledge that we are in fact having, or not having, sex, but I wanted some more detail, more insight, just more of ANYTHING from a female perspective. So when I started reading this book and then realized that I wasn’t necessarily getting an insiders view on sex lives, or a feminist, empowered perspective, or any sexual awakening vibes, at first…I was caught off guard. But after I realized exactly what I was reading-I was in. Allow me be a fly on the wall in any situation, and I’m in, 100%, and that’s what this book feels like. You’re a fly on the wall, listening and observing, while these women talk about their lives, intimate details of their day to day and the sex they are, or are not, having. We see what goes on behind closed doors, how men play a huge role in some women’s lives* (*straight women), and how the past affects our present and future. We see their insecurities, what goes on in their heads, how they walk through life and the choices they make and why.  We see things that pain them and things that shouldn’t ever take place, take place. We read about their intimate feelings and the raw hurt that is present in a lot of women’s lives.  After I adjusted my sail, I was not able to put it down. Trust me when I say, it’s not an easy book to read and I often left the pages with a pit in my stomach, but it was truly the most unique book I may have ever read.  Here are a few of my thoughts (I could probably go to 100 and not be finished, but this is the condensed list):

1. Yes, there is definitely sex in this book…but I didn’t see it as the sex positive, feminist, empowering book I thought I was going to read. It doesn’t change that I was completely engrossed, but if you were like me…you’ve been warned. Go into it with correct expectations and I think you’ll enjoy it a lot more.

2. We, as women, carry baggage with us from our past trauma and it shows up, plain and simple, in our present lives. We need to work through our past before we can be good to ourselves in the present and the future.

3. Sometimes, other people (in this case, men) will try to control you, your sexual being and your sex life-don’t let them!

4. This is only a teeeeeny snippet of the population of women. These are 3 straight, white, cis, relatively affluent women that we see represented. It’s called ‘Three Women’ and that’s a really good thing to keep in mind. I would have liked to see more diversity and if I ever get a chance to talk to Taddeo, I’d love to know how these three women came to the front of her research (because I read somewhere her research actually involved a ton of women and eight years). We always need more diversity in literature (and everywhere else), and I would have liked to see that in this one.

5. I am still thinking about all three of these women, but specifically Maggie, on a daily basis. Ugh…her story absolutely broke my heart and I saw myself in her-it scared me a bit and brought up some tough things for me too.

6. You are going to feel every emotion you know how to feel when reading this one…and maybe some others you didn’t even know you knew how to feel. I had to learn to slow down and reflect on all of those emotions as they came up. It was cathartic.

7. This book is raw. It’s not one that will wrap up with a pretty bow. It’s non-fiction…these are real lives we’re dealing with here. Keep that in mind and keep your judgements in check.

8. I’ve truly never read anything like this before.

9. Victim-blaming is never okay. Please don’t blame victims.

10. Ultimately, I don’t think this book dealt with ‘desire.’ I think it was a portrayal of what women feel, think and how they respond when our past affects our present. And when men are jerks. Was that too much? 😉

11. Three Women will make you think and is bound to be a book you talk about with your friends. Ultimately, I think this book might help women feel more open to talk about our sex lives with each other and with professionals, to stand up for ourselves and against jerks in our lives, and to see how our past, and especially past trauma, affects our present. I think that’s a good thing.

12. This book won’t be for everyone, but if you’re a fly on the wall type of person like I am, I think you will dive into this one and pop out when you finish the last sentence.

Have you read Three Women yet? What did you think? Let me know here or over at @bookishfolk. As always, happy reading!

Bookishfolk…read instead.

 

 

 

Queenie

Author: Candice Carty-Williams

Published: March 19, 2019

Publisher: Scout Press (Simon and Schuster)

Where I picked up my book: My first Book of the Month Pick!

Key Words: Contemporary Fiction, Debut Novel, Personal Journey, Dating Life

My Rating: 4

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Synopsis (via Goodreads):

Queenie Jenkins is a 25-year-old Jamaican British woman living in London, straddling two cultures and slotting neatly into neither. She works at a national newspaper, where she’s constantly forced to compare herself to her white middle class peers. After a messy break up from her long-term white boyfriend, Queenie seeks comfort in all the wrong places…including several hazardous men who do a good job of occupying brain space and a bad job of affirming self-worth.

As Queenie careens from one questionable decision to another, she finds herself wondering, “What are you doing? Why are you doing it? Who do you want to be?”—all of the questions today’s woman must face in a world trying to answer them for her.

With “fresh and honest” (Jojo Moyes) prose, Queenie is a remarkably relatable exploration of what it means to be a modern woman searching for meaning in today’s world.

My Thoughts:

This was my first Book of the Month pick and when I saw Queenie as one of the choices, I knew I had to sign up for BOTM. Maybe I’ll give you all my thoughts on the subscription box after a few months of participating, but I just knew this was a perfect choice for my first box and it was!

Secondly, this book is being described as, “Bridget Jone’s Diary meets Americanah” and I think that’s a stretch, to say the least. Bridget Jone’s Diary, although somewhat entertaining, has NOTHING on this novel. Queenie takes it’s readers on a much deeper journey full of frank self-discovery, relationship issues, mental health and emotional struggles, interracial dating, commentary on today’s world, family history, and so much more. I guess the comparison may come when I think of the humor in Queenie, but the difference is, Carty-Williams takes the rom-com plot and turns it into something with some major depth to it. Oh and she’s also British :/ Then to compare it to Americanah seems off to me too. This book is truly on a level of it’s own. I think if you go into it with that thinking instead, you’ll be much happier.

Third, I could relate to Queenie in so many ways. When you read this story, it’s easy to think, wow…Queenie is a wild one who makes poor life decisions. If you come at it from a different perspective though, (without judgement) I think you’ll see her in a different light-and probably see yourself in Queenie-just like I did. She is a strong, independent, honest woman who is political, set in her beliefs and paving her way in this world. Yes, just like all of us, she has some personal flaws and has to navigate some bumps along the way. She makes some questionable choices (who hasn’t?), she can be a bit self-destructive (also…who hasn’t been in their lifetime?). She is prone to anxiety (raises hand) and we catch her while in a personal spiral (again-my friends and I talk about our spiraling allll the time), but through these flaws-she is defining and taking charge of her life, finding herself and paving her own way as a Black woman in today’s society. She is a strong, independent and honest woman on a road to INTENTIONAL self-discovery and I found myself rooting hard for her (and sometimes myself if I’m being perfectly honest), the entire time. I think you will too! Give this one a read, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

bookishfolk…read instead.

 

The Book of Essie

Author: Meghan MacLean Weir

Published: June 12, 2018

Publisher: Knopf

Where I picked up my book: Library

Key Words: Religion, cults, family dynamics, reality tv fame

My Rating: 3.5 stars

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Synopsis (via Goodreads):

A debut novel of family, fame, and religion that tells the emotionally stirring, wildly captivating story of the seventeen-year-old daughter of an evangelical preacher, star of the family’s hit reality show, and the secret pregnancy that threatens to blow their entire world apart.

Esther Ann Hicks–Essie–is the youngest child on Six for Hicks, a reality television phenomenon. She’s grown up in the spotlight, both idolized and despised for her family’s fire-and-brimstone brand of faith. When Essie’s mother, Celia, discovers that Essie is pregnant, she arranges an emergency meeting with the show’s producers: Do they sneak Essie out of the country for an abortion? Do they pass the child off as Celia’s? Or do they try to arrange a marriage–and a ratings-blockbuster wedding? Meanwhile, Essie is quietly pairing herself up with Roarke Richards, a senior at her school with a secret of his own to protect. As the newly formed couple attempt to sell their fabricated love story to the media–through exclusive interviews with an infamously conservative reporter named Liberty Bell–Essie finds she has questions of her own: What was the real reason for her older sister leaving home? Who can she trust with the truth about her family? And how much is she willing to sacrifice to win her own freedom?

My Thoughts:

This was a fast-paced novel that completely captivated me from the second I read the description. I have a secret (okay, not-so-secret) obsession with the Duggar family. Remember that “religious,” giant, reality TV family that dressed alike, the girls all wore dresses and had long hair and the boys were dressed in fancy pants and button downs, they all had names that began with J, and the parents were creepy as hell?! Oh and their demise was one of the brothers was found to have molested some of the sisters and everyone basically went MIA after that?! Well… I found myself literally feeling sick to my stomach with this clan when I first saw the show, but somehow googling them for hours and digging in deeper and deeper to their family while trying to discover what exactly was going on behind the scenes. I just think they are insane, and cannot, for the life of me, understand the family.  I’ve always wondered what the hell is going on when the cameras are turned off? What brought these parents to raise a family like this and better yet, what made this sort of family think a reality TV show was the way to go? How much money are they getting for revealing their lives to a national crowd and somehow sucking us all into their insanity? What do the kids think and what happens if they don’t want to be a part of this anymore? There have to be major secrets-are there major secrets? Well…although The Book of Essie is completely fiction, I feel like I have a better understanding of these cult-like, religious families now. By the way, it doesn’t make me like the Duggars or even sympathize with them in the least. In fact, after reading this book, it solidifies my feelings that they are INSANE, but I got a glimpse (although fictional) into their world through this book and I liked it.

If you were intrigued by the Duggar family, questioned their motives and always wondered what went on when the cameras went off-then this book is for you. And if you haven’t watched the Duggar family on TV, but are interested in religious cults, reality tv and unhealthy family dynamics…grab a copy of this book, you won’t be disappointed.

If you’ve read this book, drop me a message or find me on Instagram and let me know what you thought!

bookishfolk…read instead.