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Love, Loss, and What I Wore Hardcover – January 9, 1995


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 139 pages
  • Publisher: Algonquin Books; 1st edition (January 9, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1565121112
  • ISBN-13: 978-1565121119
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 5.8 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (97 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #778,794 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This captivating little pictorial autobiography for adults, a life told through clothes, features Beckerman's brightly colored drawings of the vestments she wore at different times in her life, accompanied by diarylike entries. She grew up in Manhattan in the 1940s and '50s, and we see her elementary school outfit, ballet costume, prom dress, etc. After her mother died, her grandparents, not wanting her to live with her father, took in Ilene and her sister; she never saw her father again. In 1955, at 20, she married her 37-year-old sociology professor in Boston. They soon divorced, and in her second marriage, which also ended in divorce, she had six children, losing one in infancy. She is now v-p of an advertising agency. Beckerman's extremely reticent text never illuminates these events, but her minimalist self-portrait is a wry commentary on the pressures women constantly face to look good. 40,000 first printing; first serial to the New York Times Magazine.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

"Illuminates the experience of an entire generation of women...worthy of a Tiffany box." -- New York Times Book Review

"Poignant biography of a woman's coming of age...will charm anyone with an interest in style." -- USA Today

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Customer Reviews

Ms. Beckerman's story is by turns comical and poignant.
Hired Pen
I had picked this book up and put it back down several times when I saw it at the book store.
Eugenia Cline
I like to look really nice if that is possible, but not silly.
Susan D. Phipps

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Hired Pen on February 16, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Everybody knows that a song on the radio or a certain scent can evoke powerful memories. In a similar way, the author of this book discovered that reflecting on her fashion choices over the years often brought to mind people and events that had been important to her, and vice versa. Ms. Beckerman's story is by turns comical and poignant. Her line drawings are cannily evocative. This is a quick read that will leave an impression long afterward.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Sue Steiner on June 23, 2000
Format: Hardcover
So touching, so real...Gingy has shared her life simply and beautifully. A quick read, but it will stay with me forever - I am still smiling and feeling bittersweet.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By C. Stiles on February 24, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I loved it. Ilene's wry illustrations and warm recollections really hit home with me. So much of our memories have an affiliation with an outfit...this is a celebration of being a woman.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 12, 1998
Format: Hardcover
This book was given to me by a male book salesman. He didn't know anything about the book and it he viewed the book as just a token of thanks since I had purchased so many items from his showroom. I read the book on the way back to Dallas, (I was at a convention in Chicago). I thought it was a wonderful, tender book, perfect for any age. So, I gave the book to my mother (a woman exactly twice my age [I'm 33 - she's 66 yrs old]) and she thought it was very sweet. Books that make you feel good or make you reflect on the times in your life (good and bad) have been on my gift giving list. For 1998, I purchased 10 of these books to give to my closest friends and work associates. I think anyone who reads it will find it to be enjoyable reading. Perfect for any age from teenager to a lady of time.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By David J. Gannon on March 21, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Love, Loss and What I Wore is a very unique and moving little gem of a book. Basically it's the story of Ms. Beckermans life from young childhood to mature adulthood told through short yet extremely moving snippets of text and hand drawn pictures of the outfit she wore at critical junctures of her life.
The book works because it is open, honest sympathetic yet ordinary enough to relate to.
The drawings of outfits are one the whole simple and colorful and have an air of distracted affection about them. They relate and interact well with the text. But what sets them apart--and this is a critical element of why the book works so well--is they not only relate to the story but, in any reader, will evoke strong memories of time's and places out of our own lives. Rather than detracting from the book, this flood of memories in fact lend additional dramatic impact to the reading experience.
I have given this as a gift to several women I know and it has been a huge hit with every single one of them. I keep a couple of copies on hand for those time I need a gift and am too short of time and/or ideas to get anything else. This habit has stood me in good stead for quite a while now!
In the end, this stands as a classic case of synergy if ever I came across one. The story by itself would seem pathetically simplistic. The drawings by themselves are nothing to rave about. Taken together, something magical happens, and the result is a whole whose sum is far, far greater then the sum of its parts-a classic case of simple genius.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Eugenia Cline on November 9, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I had picked this book up and put it back down several times when I saw it at the book store. I am glad I finally bought it! It is an interesting idea, and one that I am sure many of us can identify with: a memoir built on memories of certain beloved items of clothing. Ilene Beckerman had an interesting childhood and has had a varied life as an adult. Obviously, her talents lie more in writing than in drawing--the sketches of the clothing are rather simple,but she does manage to convey what she felt like wearing each outfit. It doesn't take very long to read, and if read in one sitting you get quite a sense of her life. Sometimes funny, sometimes quite bittersweet, but always entertaining.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Molly M. Wolf on February 28, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I love this book! What woman does not associate what she wore with the special moments in her life.
Every woman should own this book!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 12, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Despite the fact I am a generation younger than Ms. Beckerman, I loved the way she associates her clothes with significant experiences in her life. Isn't that how we all acquired our "lucky sweater" or "power suit"? Such a poignant touching tale with simple but expressive drawings, a quick read I open again and again.
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