Love, Loss, and What I Wore Paperback – Apr 8 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
This captivating little pictorial autobiography for adults, a life told through clothes, features Beckerman's brightly colored drawings of the vestments she wore at different times in her life, accompanied by diarylike entries. She grew up in Manhattan in the 1940s and '50s, and we see her elementary school outfit, ballet costume, prom dress, etc. After her mother died, her grandparents, not wanting her to live with her father, took in Ilene and her sister; she never saw her father again. In 1955, at 20, she married her 37-year-old sociology professor in Boston. They soon divorced, and in her second marriage, which also ended in divorce, she had six children, losing one in infancy. She is now v-p of an advertising agency. Beckerman's extremely reticent text never illuminates these events, but her minimalist self-portrait is a wry commentary on the pressures women constantly face to look good. 40,000 first printing; first serial to the New York Times Magazine.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From the Inside Flap
Ilene Beckerman has found a way to articulate something all women know: that our memories are often tied to our favorite clothes. In this original and eloquent book, Gingy, as Ilene is called, tells the story of her life through the clothes she wore.
From her Brownie uniform to her Diane Von Furstenberg wrap dress, Gingy offers a closet full of memories. She remembers her prom dresses, her wedding dresses, and her starting-over-her-new-life dresses.
Gingy is Everywoman. She's a wise old friend who's survived divorce, the death of a child, the quirks of friends and family, crushes and heartbreak and bursts of joy and happiness. Like all of us, she likes to look nice while she's pursuing happiness. In Love, Loss, and What I Wore, Gingy invites us to reflect on our own lives and remember what we wore. Her Pucci was a copy and her Rita Hayworth-style strapless was from the Neiman Marcus outlet store, but Gingy is the real thing.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
The book works because it is open, honest sympathetic yet ordinary enough to relate to.
The drawings of outfits are one the whole simple and colorful and have an air of distracted affection about them. They relate and interact well with the text. But what sets them apart--and this is a critical element of why the book works so well--is they not only relate to the story but, in any reader, will evoke strong memories of time's and places out of our own lives. Rather than detracting from the book, this flood of memories in fact lend additional dramatic impact to the reading experience.
I have given this as a gift to several women I know and it has been a huge hit with every single one of them. I keep a couple of copies on hand for those time I need a gift and am too short of time and/or ideas to get anything else. This habit has stood me in good stead for quite a while now!
In the end, this stands as a classic case of synergy if ever I came across one. The story by itself would seem pathetically simplistic. The drawings by themselves are nothing to rave about. Taken together, something magical happens, and the result is a whole whose sum is far, far greater then the sum of its parts-a classic case of simple genius.
Ilene Beckerman asks for the reader's clothing memories. Here's one:
Lili Fae, my granddaughter, celebrated her first birthday today. She wore the dress that I had hand-made for her mother, Anne, more than thirty years ago. The fabric is a flowered Liberty lawn I'd bought in London when I was pregnant with Anne's elder brother. (Back then we didn't know if our wombs harbored a boy or a girl.) The dress is gently faded and well worn. I photographed Lili in it, as I had photographed her mother in it. The photos aren't really necessary, the memories are so vivid.
-- Tobi Tobias
We all lug around stuff that memorializes important episodes in our lives. Beckerman pays homage to that tendency by basing her memoir on the clothes she wore. Her approach is inventive and riveting.
A minor point: I love the size and layout of the book. Almost square, it makes you feel as if you're sneaking a read into someone's diary.
Most recent customer reviews
I don't think I got the whole play and seeing I have never read before I am not positive
I love this book! What woman does not associate what she wore with the special moments in her life.
Every woman should own this book!
While I must admit the specific clothes in this book did not stir up memories, it did cause me to reminisce about some of my favorite clothes over the years. Read morePublished on Aug. 16 2001 by Earthgrrl
I loved it. Ilene's wry illustrations and warm recollections really hit home with me. So much of our memories have an affiliation with an outfit... Read morePublished on Feb. 24 2001 by C. Stiles
So touching, so real...Gingy has shared her life simply and beautifully. A quick read, but it will stay with me forever - I am still smiling and feeling bittersweet.Published on June 23 2000 by Sue Steiner
this book spelled out my feelings exactly! it was touching, real and very close to the bone. i couldn't recommend it more!Published on June 18 1999
I really love this book and have given it to my closest women friends. Like the author, I associate experiences with the clothes that I wore, and I found her stories and drawings... Read morePublished on Feb. 25 1999