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Poser: My Life in Twenty-three Yoga Poses Paperback – January 3, 2012
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Top Customer Reviews
The yoga framework works in the early chapters, but is stretched far too thin in later chapters, and becomes an obvious structural gimmick. And while I was waiting for The Big Point to reveal itself, the book ended. Call me crazy, but shouldn't a memoir contain a lesson? If it was in there, I missed it, somewhere between her fretting over whether the way she's raising her kids meets with her friends' approval, and her not actually seeming to enjoy the very children on whom she claims to be focused.
Although her talent is obvious, it's badly misspent on self-absorbed minutiae.
This memoir is a journey of self discovery - that I expected -- although at times I thought that the author was stretching it a bit (no pun intended) to connect events in her life to a particular yoga pose. What I didn't anticipate was that the issues would be so specific.
For example, she's dealing with questions such as how long she should breast feed her children, whether or not to participate in a co-op pre-school, and how long her children should sleep in the bed with her and her husband. I'm not exactly from same generation so from time to time I had difficulty relating to her. Some issues, such as how to fit her writing career in with her parenting responsibilities and understanding her relationship to her parents was a bit easier for me to connect with.
On the plus side, this is a thoughtful and well-written book. I enjoyed the descriptions of her struggles to master some of the more difficult yoga poses. I also enjoyed the references to various places in the Seattle area (but that's probably because I live there).
Have you ever read a book that you really, really wanted to like and you ended up only liking it, sorta? That's how I feel about this book. The idea of it, I loved but the interesting premise of giving each chapter a yoga pose often seemed more pretense, done for effect and not always effective. The young mother anxious over every detail of her young daughter's life isn't fully contextualized until later in the book and by then all this navel gazing made this reader want to point out the obvious: children have survived worse parenting than this self-conscious young woman could ever fear to be.
Dederer's humor is off-key for me. I could see the humor on the page but it never even drew a smile to my face, let alone had me chuckling along. If anything, I occasionally found myself laughing at her rather than with her, a feeling that I did not like at all. And what vague moments of enlightenment she achieved over the years, as a wife, parent, yogini-all of these are given short shrift as if she felt they were too delicate to hold up to the harsh light of letting other readers see what she believes and has experienced.
If western yoga is vilified as being watered down, more about exercise than enlightenment, morally irrelevant and mostly a social fad that has come and gone before and will go away soon, then this memoir is a testimony to the truth of these accusations. Dederer's yoga experience is American, with all the best and worst that this implies.Read more ›
I'm a guy who's really into yoga, but I notice that in the U.S. yoga is radically feminized and presented as if it's primarily the domain of women. There is a surplus of books, such as this one, which offer this impression. (A recent issue of "Yoga Journal" magazine had a male yoga teacher on the cover, the first man to grace the cover in seven years!) This has the unfortunate result of driving off scores of men who, to their detriment, think yoga is "girly" and something that "real men" just don't do. Many people don't even realize that yoga was INVENTED BY MEN thousands of years ago and, initially, was an exclusively masculine endeavor -- women were actually prohibited from practicing it. It's great that women have become so passionate about it. Now if only a lot more men would step up to the mat the world would be a better place.
For guys curious about yoga, I enthusiastically recommend "STRETCH: THE UNLIKELY MAKING OF A YOGA DUDE" by Neal Pollack. It's "the hilarious true account of an overweight, balding, skeptical guy's unexpected transformation into a healthy, blissful yoga fiend" -- a great read!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book started out as a funny commentary on how much energy we put into looking like our friends and neighbors; to fitting in. Thus begins Claire's journey into Yoga. Read morePublished 2 days ago by BEW
Just, ugh. Can this author possibly be more pretentious, self involved and half-assed? No authenticity whatsoever.Published 3 months ago by Book Maven 2005
I love yoga. I see the benefits of yoga. I have been practicing yoga for about a decade and it honestly keeps calling me back to it. I truly enjoyed this book. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Rebecca Zelazny
Love Yoga, Love Books...Didn't Love this Book. If you want a great book about adult children of runaway moms and what it's like to be a thirtysomething mom in Seattle... Read morePublished 3 months ago by TJ Housel
I love yoga, I bought this book for that reason. This is my first read of the New Year, I open to chapter one, Camel, the pose that I am trying to perfect. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Kate emery
I love yoga. And I loved this book. The book is exactly what the title states. The author's life blended in with the poses she learns to get into. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Stormy Meadows
awesome book for those who want a laugh after just having a baby...Published 7 months ago by Monica
Claire had a very clever way of sharing her life with us. This well written piece is easy and fun to relate to.Published 9 months ago by Alison G
I resisted liking her perhaps because Clair's journey felt too familiar. She reminded me too much of myself. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Mimm Patterson