• Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Reading Group Gold
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Poser




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Reviews

“This memoir about her decade doing downward dog while raising two kids and trying to keep her marriage alive reads like Eat Pray Love for hip but harried moms. . . funny, well-observed and ultimately inspiring.” —People (four stars)

This book is going to be big. Claire Dederer manages to pack everything into this personal memoir: childbirth, money, schools, social class, career anxiety, parenting, sex, friendship, marriage, and yes, yoga. And don’t forget Dansko clogs — ‘always, always, [the] clogs.’ Thousands of American mothers share Dederer’s experience as they glance up from their darling, maddening new babies to find themselves in a new sphere: hip, progressive, trying-really-hard-to-do-it-right mom-world. ‘Poser’ is written for them . . . From the bendier-than-thou instructors to the more-locavore-than-thou preschool parents, Dederer captures everyone in her world with humanity and gentle wit. So many readers will relate to her story; not just the long minutes spent in downward dog or the hours lost wandering the aisles of Whole Foods, but the years of pondering the mysteries of family relationships, past and present. And the fleeting moments spent staying, as the yogis say, focused on the breath.” —Buzzy Jackson, The Boston Globe 

“Why did Claire Dederer take up yoga? Short answer: for the same kinds of reasons that Elizabeth Gilbert changed her life in ‘Eat, Pray, Love,’ and to much the same funny, charming, self-deprecating, stealthily inspirational and (quite possibly) best-selling effect . . . this appealing writer’s first book is long overdue. It’s clear from the start that she will be transformed and find a sensible, spiritual nonsappy way to become a devotee before “Poser” is over.” —Janet Maslin, The New York Times 

“[A] fine first memoir, and it’s heartening to see a serious female writer take such a risky step into territory where writers of literary ambition fear to tread, lest they be dismissed as trivial . . . [What] makes Poser work on a lot of levels is that first in line to ask searching questions and poke fun is the author herself . . . Poser is a powerful, honest, ruefully funny memoir about one woman’s openhearted reckoning with her demons. . . In the hands of a gifted writer, the universal is embedded within the personal. Guess what? Your bad wallpaper made for a lovely book.” —Dani Shapiro, The New York Times Book Review 

“‘Poser’ achieves something rare: It’s a contemporary book about yoga that doesn’t leave you squirming . . . The illusion of commiseration here is really just a triumph of truth-telling, of a writer having the courage to confront her limits and sit, uncritically, in the messy present. Like a yoga pose, it doesn’t have to be perfect to be exquisite.” —Lewis Mernit, The Los Angeles Times

“[Dederer] writes with a directness that is rarely less than compelling. And she’s genuinely funny. . . With wry humor and an utter lack of pretense, she navigates a path between and beyond orthodoxies, anchored in love and family, open to possibility. ‘Poser’ will find a devoted following among women weary of pronouncements and prescriptions.” —Janice P. Nimura, Newsday

“If you’ve every done a downward dog on a sticky mat, you will laugh.” —Jennie Yabroff, Newsweek

“[Poser has] the gravitational pull of a good novel and an unusually genuine voice that envelops the reader swiftly . . . Dederer sparkles when introspection is ruthless—the result reads true and funny.” —Kimberly Marlowe Hartnett, The Seattle Times

“In any case, Dederer’s book is only tangentially about yoga. It could just as easily have been called ‘How to Be a Perfect Mom, Wife and Daughter in the Uber-Liberal Confines of the Pacific Northwest.’ . . . Dederer proves an effective storyteller. She knows how to set up a punch line, how to foreshadow a big moment, how to create drama out of the everyday bits of a life. Yoga is the catalyst, the act that repeatedly forces her to look inward.” —Bill Eichenberg, Cleveland Plain Dealer

Warm and  funny. . . This memoir hints at familiar themes (a parental split in childhood, a rebellious young adulthood, a wish to make a different life for her kids), but refreshingly turns them on their head, yoga pun intended. Dederer shows us how yoga, with its twisting and holding and contorting and stretching and breathing, brings her clarity. How when she opened herself up, literally, she received more than she could ever have imagined . . . Dederer is a gifted storyteller, not just for her turns of phrase or her ubiquitous humor. Her memoir reads like a rich conversation with a friend, moving from laughter to quiet reflection and back again. She remains utterly relatable and real, and to that I say, Namaste.” —Kim Schmidt, Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Enjoyable memoir about life and the provocations of childbirth made palatable with yoga poses. . . . Through “coronal planes,” sutras and savasanas, from downward dog to lotus poses, Dederer contributes nuggets of yoga trivia paired with a droll, self-effacing delivery that’s both down-to-earth and pleasingly introspective. Delicious fun with a friendly nudge for readers on the fence about yoga.” —Kirkus Reviews 

Dederer’s humor is tangy and precision-aimed; her targets are the sine qua non of memoirs: mothers and marriage. A book reviewer and social critic with bylines in the New York Times, Slate, and Vogue, Dederer acidly deconstructs hip, politically correct Seattle . . . Dederer writes superbly and offers sharp insights into family dynamics as well as hatha yoga’s impact on American life, the focus of a growing number of groundbreaking books.” —Donna Seaman, Booklist

“Dederer is a mother with the heart of a poet.” —Michael Pearson, The Virginian-Pilot

“Poser, which tells the story of Claire’s attempt to become absolutely perfect at yoga—and, by extension, life—is knocking me out. It’s very funny about yoga culture and disarmingly honest about how complicated marriage and family life can be.” — Peter Terzian, “Culture Diary,” The Paris Review