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
All of the reviewers enjoyed Poser, but they may have been less than effusive with their praise because they spent so much time explaining what the book was not—not a yoga guide, not a self-help book, not as gimmicky as its title would seem to indicate, not a conventional memoir. That said, Poser does contain scant elements of each, with passages on feminism, attachment parenting, and the history of yoga thrown in. But all that negation suggests that Dederer has achieved something like the self-actualization yoga promises, all without taking herself too seriously. In the end, reviewers seemed to say, the voice of this book is truly Dederer’s own, and more than sufficient.
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