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Love, Loss, and What I Wore Paperback – Apr 8 2005

4.7 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Algonquin Books; Reprint edition (April 8 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1565124758
  • ISBN-13: 978-1565124752
  • Product Dimensions: 14.1 x 1 x 17.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 204 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #342,821 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

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.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This book was given to me by a male book salesman. He didn't know anything about the book and it he viewed the book as just a token of thanks since I had purchased so many items from his showroom. I read the book on the way back to Dallas, (I was at a convention in Chicago). I thought it was a wonderful, tender book, perfect for any age. So, I gave the book to my mother (a woman exactly twice my age [I'm 33 - she's 66 yrs old]) and she thought it was very sweet. Books that make you feel good or make you reflect on the times in your life (good and bad) have been on my gift giving list. For 1998, I purchased 10 of these books to give to my closest friends and work associates. I think anyone who reads it will find it to be enjoyable reading. Perfect for any age from teenager to a lady of time.
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Format: Hardcover
Love, Loss and What I Wore is a very unique and moving little gem of a book. Basically it's the story of Ms. Beckermans life from young childhood to mature adulthood told through short yet extremely moving snippets of text and hand drawn pictures of the outfit she wore at critical junctures of her life.
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.
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By A Customer on April 19 1998
Format: Hardcover
The book is charming and often touching. I don't believe numbers need to be assigned to these qualities.
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
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Format: Hardcover
i remember my sisters and i all wearing matching rompers my grandmother brought us back from florida: they had smocking around the chest and them blossomed into bloomers and elastic around the legs. they all tied on the shoulders and we took delight in untying each others' "straps"--all for nought, really, as they were so hugging against our flat chests, they would never have fallen down anyway. we coupled these with hats that had built-in sunglasses: the hats went over our heads and two round "sunglass circles" fell neatly over our eyes. allthree of us wanted to wear that outfit every day during the summer of '69.
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Format: Hardcover
Love, Loss, and What I Wore is one of my all-time favorites. I pull it out for a nice re-read every year, and keep it on the top shelf so the kids and dogs won't mangle it.
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.
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Format: Hardcover
This little book has everything....lovely illustrations, a great story, and a completely original way of communicating to the reader. It is not really the kind of book you delve into but rather sample with little bites at a time. I love this authour because she has a completely original way of telling us about all the pain and love and loss in her life. It is one of those books that I keep handy on the shelf and bring out to the garden on my day off. Like really rich chocolate or a new summer dress, a real treat.
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Format: Hardcover
Everybody knows that a song on the radio or a certain scent can evoke powerful memories. In a similar way, the author of this book discovered that reflecting on her fashion choices over the years often brought to mind people and events that had been important to her, and vice versa. Ms. Beckerman's story is by turns comical and poignant. Her line drawings are cannily evocative. This is a quick read that will leave an impression long afterward.
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