Rarely is the piece that most resonates with me in The New York Times on any given Sunday from “Book Review,” but this week I so enjoyed reading Dani Shapiro’s review of a memoir called Poser by Claire Dederer. Perhaps what is most striking is that I am not familiar with either the reviewer or author’s work. Nor am I particularly drawn in by stories about, as Shapiro puts it, “the joys, rigors and travails of building a family life.”
But, and this is a big but, I am attracted to memoir that is well executed by an author who is self-aware and who has — at least by Shapiro’s account — given of herself fully in the telling. The subtitle is My Life in Twenty-Three Yoga Poses and that is essentially the framework for the story. Any notion Shapiro had that it could fall flat is dispelled on the pages.
” … [W]hat makes “Poser” work on a lot of levels is that first in line to ask searching questions and poke fun is the author herself,” Shapiro writes.
The review is interesting commentary on attachment parenting and all the “chasing virtue” that goes with it, but it is also a bit of a lesson in memoir writing if you read between the lines. Funny it would hold my attention when I am neither a parent nor a yoga enthusiast.
I’ll be buying the book.