Sunaina Luthra/Harsimran kaur   ON  Feb 28, 2023, IN BOOK REVIEW, What Women Want: Conversations on Desire, Power, Love and Growth By Maxine Mei Fung Chung-Non-Fiction

Rating: 4/5

My loneliness, a discerning companion,

My opinions admonished,

My choices questioned,

My decisions challenged,

My voice silenced,

My desires crippled,

A truce of identity and improbable perusals,

The victory seems far-fetched,

Left abandoned in the morally quilted bed

Who am I?


Patriarchal enchantment is a pilferage of my indissoluble identity.

Sigmund Freud, founder of psychoanalysis went Heaven and Earth to moisten his dry dusty though of ‘What Women Want.’Pirouetting his mind all around, the dampness was evident. An intriguing subject to many, either women have myriad needs or are a counterfeit analysis by the maglo-men-ia, putting them into the grass pile of rebukes and rattle-traps.

Any concern about women and their sacrosanct desires and ambitions becomes a hot curry that nobody wants to burn their fingers in. But how long the flavors can be diminished or for that matter the scalding temptations which are more piquant and desirable?

The book by Maxine Mei Fung Chung is an electrifying and intimate exploration of lives and desires of women. It is an agglomeration of true, intersectional stories that examine women’s lives along their desires.She brings forth the arduous struggle of seven incredible women possessing a strong sense of desire to free themselves from life’s predicaments through the process of psychotherapy.

For Terry, it is the reclamation of her sexuality and for Kitty a desire for her family to truly see her after being abandoned by them. A healing body free of rage is what Ruth desires the most. For Marianna, it is the experience of unconditional love.  For Tia, it is life that offered pause and a home within her body. Agatha shares her final years with a man she loved and finally for Beverly, a challenge to restart life after her son’s death.

Each story in the book is a reflection of an understanding of,‘what keeps us loveless and in denial in a constant state of longing?’

Through lens and eyes of these women, Maxine presents their precarious journey from fostered feelings of shame, depression, low self-esteem, emotional starvation and anorexic love to liberation and empowerment.The conversations in the book are a valuable contributor to a wider debate about how women are required to be an island in the sea of people, as the patriarchal culture still prefers them to be reticent and recalcitrant.  

Maxine’s honest attempt to provide encouraging ways to think clearly and pull her patients out of an eclipse of despair, despondency and discomfiture is evident. The book provides us wonders of psychotherapy in helping us to think distinctly.

We all must have faced what these resolute women have gone through. Hope acts as a palliative that helps transcend from moribund misery to a palatableedify—an informative book for all budding psychotherapist.


There is no real key to all our problems. The solution lies within us. It is when we decide to confront and challenge our insurmountable desires;we gain strength to deal with our problems and irrational emotions.

As rightly said by Maxine

‘No feeling is permanent’—a profound take away for me that I have consciously started applying when in state of melancholy and uncertainty

Trust me it works…

0 0 vote
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments