Book Club Questions of Three Women by Lisa Taddeo

by Heather Caliendo
Book cover for Three Women by Lisa Taddeo
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Book club questions for Three Women by Lisa Taddeo features discussion around this original and thought-provoking novel. These questions will have spoilers so if you haven’t read the novel yet, check out my spoiler-free review first.

Lina is a homemaker in suburban Indiana and she’s in a passionless marriage. She then embarks on an affair that quickly becomes all-consuming and transforms her life. Sloane is a glamorous entrepreneur in the northeast. She’s married to a man who likes to watch her have sex with other men and women. Maggie is a high school student in North Dakota and begins a relationship with her English teacher. This will have consequences for them both—and the community.

Over the past eight years, journalist Lisa Taddeo (to get to know Lisa more check out my author interview with her here) has driven across the country six times to embed herself with ordinary women from different regions and backgrounds. The result, Three Women, is a deep nonfiction portrait of desire.

Book club questions for Three Women

  • How do you define the word desire? What about female desire?
  • Why is it taboo for women to discuss intimate details about desire?
  • Let’s discuss the the three women in detail:
  • Lina—she’s horribly assaulted in high school. One area she truly craves is to be kissed passionately. Let’s discuss why she embarked on the affair with Aidan. Even though her happiness is mostly revolved around him—how did this affair allow her to take control of her narrative again?
  • Sloane—she’s seems to have it all, a successful career, happy marriage and kids. But her husband pushes her to have sex with other people in front of him. She enjoys it sometimes and other times, not as much. Let’s talk about Sloane. Why do you think she agreed to the open marriage? Do you think it will continue?
  • Maggie—at such a young age, she was taken advantage of by a much older man in Hawaii. And then preyed on by her English teacher, Aaron Knodel. Let’s talk about how she was manipulated by Aaron and also the aftermath. Why do you think that community was quick to defend Aaron and dismiss Maggie?
  • Of the three women—Lina, Sloane and Maggie—which one did you relate to the most?
  • What are some of the more surprising aspects of the book to you? Did you learn anything new or did it have you view an aspect of desire differently?
  • The author Lisa Taddeo discusses how women seem, at times, to feel threaten by another woman’s happiness. And in a sense, women seek other women’s approval over men. Let’s discuss this.

More recommendations

While this is a nonfiction read, I immediately thought about these fiction ones that also take a look at female desire.

The Age of Light by Whitney Scharer is an exquisite historical fiction novel about the real-life Vogue model turned renowned photographer Lee Miller. This one really explores Lee’s wants and desires.

“I’d rather take a photograph than be one,” she declares after she arrives in Paris in 1929, where she soon catches the eye of the famous Surrealist Man Ray. Though he wants to use her only as a model, Lee convinces him to take her on as his assistant and teach her everything he knows. As they work together in the darkroom, their personal and professional lives become intimately entwined, changing the course of Lee’s life forever.

Lee’s journey of self-discovery takes took her from the cabarets of bohemian Paris to the battlefields of war-torn Europe during WWII, from inventing radical new photography techniques to documenting the liberation of the concentration camps as one of the first female war correspondents. Through it all, Lee must grapple with the question of whether it’s possible to stay true to herself while also fulfilling her artistic ambition–and what she will have to sacrifice to do so.

Told in alternating timelines of 1930s Paris and the battlefields of WWII, this sensuous, richly researched and imagined debut novel brings to light the life of a fearless, original artist–a woman whose name and art should be known by everyone.

You can order the book on Amazon here. Check out my discussion questions here.


Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid is a compelling and heartfelt story about the rise of a ’70s rock band and their infamous breakup. The following book club questions will have spoilers so if you haven’t read the book yet, check out my preview and review first.

The story is about the fictional iconic band, Daisy Jones & The Six. Their album Aurora came to define the rock ‘n’ roll era of the late ’70s and an entire generation of girls wanted to be Daisy. But no one knows the reason behind the group’s split on the night of their final concert at Chicago Stadium on July 12, 1979…until now

You can order the book on Amazon here. Check out my discussion questions here.

Happy reading!

Feel free to discuss Three Women below! 

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