Poser is the beloved and best-selling memoir about yoga, motherhood, and the problem of goodness. As a new mom, Claire Dederer put her back out while breastfeeding. Told to try yoga by everyone from the woman behind the counter at the co-op to the homeless guy on the corner, she signed up for her first class and fell madly in love.
Over the next decade, she would tackle triangle, wheel, and the dreaded crow, becoming fast friends with some poses and developing long-standing feuds with others. At the same time, she found herself confronting the forces that shaped her generation. Daughters of women who ran away to find themselves and made a few messes along the way, Dederer and her peers grew up determined to be good, good, good—even if this meant feeling hemmed in by the smugness of their organic-buying, attachment-parenting, anxiously conscientious little world. Yoga seemed to fit right into this virtuous program, but to her surprise, Dederer found that the deeper she went into the poses, the more they tested her most basic ideas of what makes a good mother, daughter, friend, wife—and the more they made her want something a little less tidy, a little more improvisational.
“Let me be honest about something: I love yoga, I live for yoga and yoga has changed my life forever — but it is very difficult to find books about yoga that aren’t incredibly annoying. I’m sorry to say it, but yoga sometimes makes people talk like jerks. Thank goodness, then for Claire Dederer, who has written the book we all need: the long-awaited funny, smart, clear-headed, thoughtful, truthful and inspiring yoga memoir. To simplify my praise: I absolutely loved this book.”–Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love
“Poser is a powerful, honest, ruefully funny memoir about one woman’s open-hearted reckoning with her demons.”–Dani Shapiro, The New York Times Book Review
“Why did Claire Dederer take up yoga? Short answer: for the same 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.”–Janet Maslin, The New York Times
“Funny, well-observed, and ultimately inspiring.”–People (four stars)
“Dederer is candid, sympathetic and entertaining, and reading this book is like buckling your baby into a stroller, going on a walk with one of your smartest mom friends and talking about everything on your minds.”–Curtis Sittenfeld, author of Prep, reviewing Poser on NPR
“Claire Dederer is all these women: a daughter attempting to make sense of an irresistibly nutty divorce; a new mother trying to meet the ridiculously high standards of a peculiarly liberal breed of uber-moms; a wife struggling to salvage intimacy in a marriage slammed by exhaustion, mortgage payments and encroaching in-laws; and a lost soul who stumbles into a yoga studio and finds salvation. Above all, Dederer is a brilliant writer whose prose sparkles and cuts deep. Poser is a book you will want to immediately share with your friends. It’s hilarious, unflinching and bursting with love.”–Maria Semple, author of Where’d You Go, Bernadette
“Claire Dederer and Poser make me feel what you aren’t supposed to write about in a review. My main feeling is jealousy. She’s so funny! She writes so well about stuff that I’ve been through myself and tried to write about, so I know how hard it is to do, let alone do with style and wit and the sustained absence of cliché.”–Judith Shulevitz, Slate
“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.”–Booklist
“A terrifically entertaining book. Whether you are a yoga addict, mother, feminist or child of the Sixties, you’ll love it.”–London Telegraph
“Brutally funny … a magnetic read.”–Austin Chronicle
“As a diehard yoga-culture skeptic, I began this book with a certain dread of encountering breathless, self-righteous platitudes about the spiritual healing powers of yoga, but I was immediately charmed and disarmed by Dederer’s fiercely intelligent, funny, unsentimental voice. This book contains not platitudes, but real, hard-won insights; yoga became, for Dederer, a rebellion against goodness, not a path to it. This story of her revolt against perfectionism is a joy to behold and a true inspiration.”—Kate Christensen, author of Blue Plate Special and The Great Man
“Poser is superb.”–Toronto Globe and Mail