43 Books – Poser: My Life in 23 Yoga Poses by Claire Dederer

As part of my 43 Before 43, I’m reading 43 books.

I am totally conflicted about this book. I didn’t put it down until I was finished despite having just come home with a new baby and a serious case of insomnia. And yet, I was irritated the whole time I was reading it.

Let me start with what I really liked about the book:

  • The title. I would have argued with the publisher to leave off the 23 poses part.
  • Each chapter is a pose name and the ones where the author tells about her childhood are called child’s pose – clever and it only took me half way through the book to figure that out. {see insomnia/stupidity}
  • The author and I each suffer from mama anxiety and use yoga as a way to find our sanity or at least a way to ease some of the pain in our aching backs.
  • Like most people, we both started out with a really physical practice and learned to quiet it down.
  • We are about the same age so our cultural references are spot on – apparently we love the 90’s.
  • The Pacific Northwest! I lived there (in the 90’s!) and could picture the setting perfectly.
  • Claire explores the others limbs of yoga besides asana and gets to the down and dirty of why yoga can be such a life changing practice.

So what was my problem?

I think I identified a little too closely for my comfort with Claire. This book could, in a lot of ways, be mine. Although at points it just sounds whiny and precious and all first-worldly and I wanted to smack both of us and quite frankly I’m not sure I wanted to tell this story yet (or ever), so it was shocking to see it on the page.

Claire’s yoga story is so similar to mine,  with all it’s twists, turns and complaints, I felt like she’d some how inhabited my most annoying self and decided to let that cat out of the bag. It just isn’t the easy breezy side I’ve been trying to cultivate for the world to see and I’m at once horrified to see all “my” crap out there and secretly thrilled I’m not the only one with this particular brand of crazy.

In a completely petty side note, the mention that her brother was in a band that was super popular in the 90’s (and she named the band!) bugged the holy hell out of me. Why? I guess because it seemed all star-f*ckery and it totally wasn’t relavent to the story. Brother? Yes. Name of band? No.

The all important question – would I want to be friends with the author?

Absolutely. At the very least we could talk about how great the 90’s were.

Should you read Poser?

Yes, if you are someone exploring yoga beyond a Saturday morning exercise class or is interested in a brief look into the history of the other limbs of yoga.

Have you read Poser? What did you think?

2 thoughts on “43 Books – Poser: My Life in 23 Yoga Poses by Claire Dederer

  1. I couldn’t agree more with your comments. A good read, or trip with a self-destructive, semi neurotic, whiny woman and despite her flaws i still needed to finish it. The imagery was well painted and I could imagine it all.

    I am not from nor have I lived in the northwest, I am definitely a different age group, and the 90’s don’t seem any more relevant than the 80’s; all of that time imbued with the fog of children rearing. I don’t know how I feel about friending the author, I do feel that with all its foibles it remains avery good read.

  2. I recently picked up that book and was into it in the beginning THEN she just started sounding way too pretentious and out of touch, so I am taking a break and maybe will pick it back up later.

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