The thing I liked best about "Poser: My Life in Twenty-Three Yoga Poses" is that Claire Dederer explains a lot about yoga without making it sound like some type of mysterious cult type pursuit. I was drawn to the book because I've been thinking for years about attending some yoga classes but somehow never seem to get around to it. Is it exercise? Is it a religion? A little bit of both? The author discusses these very questions throughout the book. Her sense of humor and sometimes irreverent remarks had me laughing, but at the same time understanding just what draws so many people into the yoga experience. Her book is as much a book about life as it is about yoga. She weaves stories of her yoga experience, with memories of her life as a daughter, a young mother, a wife and a writer. She does so in a very entertaining manner which kept me turning the pages to see what would happen next. There is a lot more to this book than I expected when I picked it up.
Dederer talks about growing up in Seattle with two very liberal parents who separated when she was a child in the early 70's, a time of tumultuous social change. They didn't divorce although her mom lived with another man and her dad lived across town. The three of them had an amicable relationship with the author and her brother shuttled back and forth between them. Her comment, that she had three people who loved her very much, really touched me. It was interesting to read about the dynamics of this arrangement and the effect it had on the children and how it affected her when she became a mother herself. The book goes back and forth between her childhood and the present which, in this book works very well.
You know sometimes when you read a book, how you can really relate to an author, even though their experiences and circumstances might be different from yours? Claire Dederer is that kind of author. After reading the book she feels like a friend that I've spent hours talking with about life, philosophies, and yes, yoga. After all the yoga books, magazines and DVD's I've purchased over the years and never really got into, she's convinced me to finally sign up for a real live yoga class! Thank you, Claire!