Poser: My Life in Twenty-three Yoga Poses - Claire Dederer

Initially, I found this book very interesting. I enjoy reading about yoga and people who practice it. That is what I expected this to be about; and it was, at first. Dederer starts this book by explaining why she’s considering yoga (difficult pregnancy/first couple of months as a mother), then begins detailing her first steps into the classes she takes.

Right after that was where I lost interest.

She spends a lot of time talking about her life as a mother, daughter, wife, and friend. It takes a subject I’m really interested in for me to read a non-fiction book. I am interested in historically accurate books on the Golden Age of piracy, the Spanish Inquisition, the witch trials, the Russian Revolution and positively anything that has to do with Japan. I’m interested in many different time periods and art movements and go through periods where I will read everything I can get my hands on if a particular one gets lodged in my brain. At any moment I will read books on Oscar Wilde, Joan of Arc, Salvador Dalí, and Vlad Tepes. Suicide pacts, serial killers, survivors of horrible incidents overcoming real problems, rights movements of all kinds—I will read about these subjects and more. You know what I don’t give a crap about? An upper-middleclass, suburban housewife who is upset because her life is just less than perfect.

The injuries she sustained had to have been painful and, though I have no children, I can relate to being in some sort of pain—anyone can. Part of why she takes up yoga is to relax and know that not everything can be the way you want it to be—awesome. She sticks with yoga and it seems to help her—fantastic.

Here’s the problem: This is presented to be a book about how yoga helps her body, her life and her relationships. What it’s actually about most of the time is her life, her relationships and how everything ISN’T PERFECT. A lot of the problem is that I cannot relate to her life in any way, shape or form and I don’t care enough to want to read it. If she were a friend I would care. I would probably smack her and tell her that she gets to work part time from home and has enough money to be able to afford going to all these yoga classes so, please, shush, but I would care.

Now the good things:

The parts that were actually about yoga were fun, informative and gave interesting perspectives from a beginner to more advanced student as we see her go through many different stages and teachers. The writing was witty and well done and easy to read in these parts. Honestly, I would have genuinely enjoyed the parts about her life if they’d been shorter background stories that backed up the main story of a woman learning yoga. It would have been much shorter but it would have gotten 5 stars from me.

Would I recommend this? Well, yes. If you’re interested in yoga, the relevant parts are interesting. Skip the rest. If you’re interested in reading about a woman’s life, then you’ll probably like the rest of it, also. I only wish that the description was more effective at telling what the book actually covered.