- When memoirists emphasize their childhood suffering (Lit, Glass Castle, Running with Scissors, and so on), we cheer as narrators extricate themselves from unimaginably gruesome settings. Poignant, profound, truthful, these memoirs make fascinating reads.
But, it was a relief to read an equally honest story from a narrator who was neither abused nor neglected, and in fact, lived a relatively normal life. I felt a sense of ease as I read Poser by Claire Dederer
Two dear friends – Kristine, from Seattle, and Connie, from the San Juan Islands, each came to me and said, “You must read this book!” Kristine loved Poser because, as a Seattle Mom, she could relate so well to it. Connie, who’d read my recent interview with Claire’s husband Bruce Barcott in The Writers Connection, http://www.elizabethcorcoranmurray.com, said she loved, “the humor and lightheartedness of it.” Connie went on to say, “She addressed my favorite subjects, child raising and yoga. I loved how she approached yoga…how she tangled and then untangled it, finding out much more about yoga and herself.”
When I read Poser –which, by the way, I couldn’t put down –my stack of dishes grew, my cupboards emptied, and still I turned the pages. Yet, when I finished, I honestly couldn’t say what the book was about. So, here’s Connie again, “I think it was about life, about trying to be ‘good’, inside and outside, judging ourselves, and others, and then using all of it as the backdrop, to who we really are. I had a couple people tell me that they were worried in the beginning, both of them using the word, ‘privileged.’ I never felt that…Her critiquing of life did not seem finger pointing to me, but instead she used herself as the reference point, honest and funny. I loved it! So there you are.”
As a writer, my reasons for liking the book were more basic. “Why can’t I put this down?” I asked myself. It’s impressive to have a “page turner” when nothing extraordinary is happening. Is it just that I like her, the narrator? I also loved her use feminine metaphors and similes – references to sewing, fabric, ribbons, cooking, dough. A breath of fresh air. Ease.