Poser: My Life in Twenty-three Yoga Poses

 March 8, 2011
Posted by Kitzie

Amazon Best Books of the Month, January 2011: Yoga, even as it furthers its storefront-by-storefront takeover of American leisure hours, remains a punchline, a shorthand summing-up of a certain way of life. One of the charms of Poser, Claire Dederer’s memoir of motherhood and marriage structured around her love affair with yoga, is that–as her title hints–she gets the joke, and tells it very well herself. She knows, to the molecule, the subculture she swims within–the “liberal enclave” of late ’90s North Seattle, with its self-policed, guilt-laced dictates about the proper ways to parent, work, play, and wed (and divorce)–and she’s well aware of every knee-jerk response you might bring to a story about yoga (she had them too). She’s sharp and funny, shifting expertly between earthy put-downs and the earnest openness that yoga leads her to. And she’s wisest, and most fascinating, when she’s plotting the differences between her mother’s generation, breaking out from the traditions of young marriage and motherhood in sloppy, self-invented ways, and her own, responding to the chaos of their parents’ marriages and their own youth with the anxiously seamless embrace of attachment parenting. Readers will inevitably be reminded of another witty, navel-gazing, West-meets-East memoir, Eat, Pray, Love, but Dederer’s more domestic journey is her very much her own. –Tom Nissley

Harmonium Sale