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3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (2,980 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Claire Dederer Narrator: Christine Williams Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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“The studio was decorated in the style of Don’t Be Afraid, We’re Not a Cult. All was white and blond and clean, as though the room had been designed for surgery, or Swedish people. The only spot of color came from the Tibetan prayer flags strung over the doorway into the studio. In flagrant defiance of my longtime policy of never entering a structure adorned with Tibetan prayer flags, I removed my shoes, paid my ten bucks, and walked in…”

Ten years ago, Claire Dederer put her back out while breastfeeding her baby daughter. 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. She 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. Less goodness, more joy.

Poser is unlike any other book about yoga you will read—because it is actually a book about life. Witty and heartfelt, sharp and irreverent, Poser is for anyone who has ever tried to stand on their head while keeping both feet on the ground.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Why did Claire Dederer take up yoga? Short answer: for the same kinds of 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) bestselling effect…This appealing writer’s first book is long overdue. It’s clear from the start that she will be transformed and find a sensible, spiritual, nonsappy way to become a devotee before Poser is over.”

    New York Times 

  • “A fine first memoir, and it’s heartening to see a serious female writer take such a risky step into territory where writers of literary ambition fear to tread, lest they be dismissed as trivial…[What] makes Poser work on a lot of levels is that first in line to ask searching questions and poke fun is the author herself…Poser is a powerful, honest, ruefully funny memoir about one woman’s openhearted reckoning with her demons…In the hands of a gifted writer, the universal is embedded within the personal. Guess what? Your bad wallpaper made for a lovely book.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “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, New York Timesbestselling author of Eat, Pray, Love

  • “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 This One Is Mine and producer of Arrested Development

  • “This funny, spectacularly well-observed, and moving book does what even yoga can’t: it provides solace while making you laugh. I feel three inches taller.”

    Henry Alford, acclaimed author of How to Live

  • “As a 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 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, PEN/Faulkner Award–winning author of The Great Man

  • Poser achieves something rare: It’s a contemporary book about yoga that doesn’t leave you squirming, suspect, or bored…The illusion of commiseration here is really just a triumph of truth telling, of a writer having the courage to confront her limits and sit, uncritically, in the messy present. Like a yoga pose, it doesn’t have to be perfect to be exquisite.”

    Los Angeles Times

  • “[Poser has] the gravitational pull of a good novel and an unusually genuine voice that envelops the reader swiftly…Dederer sparkles when introspection is ruthless—the result reads true and funny.”

    Seattle Times

  • “This memoir about her decade doing downward dog while raising two kids and trying to keep her marriage alive reads like Eat, Pray, Love for hip but harried moms…Funny, well-observed, and ultimately inspiring.”

    People

  • “In any case, Dederer’s book is only tangentially about yoga. It could just as easily have been called ‘How to Be a Perfect Mom, Wife, and Daughter in the Uber-Liberal Confines of the Pacific Northwest.’…Dederer proves an effective storyteller. She knows how to set up a punch line, how to foreshadow a big moment, how to create drama out of the everyday bits of a life. Yoga is the catalyst, the act that repeatedly forces her to look inward.”

    Cleveland Plain Dealer

  •  “Poser, which tells the story of Claire’s attempt to become absolutely perfect at yoga—and, by extension, life—is knocking me out. It’s very funny about yoga culture and disarmingly honest about how complicated marriage and family life can be.”

    Paris Review

  • “Dederer is a mother with the heart of a poet.”

    Virginian-Pilot

  • “With lighthearted humor and a touch of irony…Dederer’s memoir, like a challenging yoga class, flows smoothly and shows by example that a full life is one that is constantly in motion.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Dederer’s humor is tangy and precision-aimed; her targets are the sine qua non of memoirs: mothers and marriage…Dederer writes superbly and offers sharp insights into family dynamics as well as hatha yoga’s impact on American life, the focus of a growing number of groundbreaking books.”

    Booklist

  • “[An] awesomely funny and candid ode to life, love, and yoga…Dederer uses the centuries-old practice as the fascinating backdrop to her deeply personal story…which she writes about with clarity and an amazing lack of self-pity.”

    BookPage, Top Pick for January 2011

  • “Few writers have characterized yoga with as dead-on honesty, humor, and ultimately, appreciation. She gives a good philosophical history but the brilliance is found in her portrayal of the many classes she attends…It is not a book about yoga, it is about a life, and in being so, may come closer to yoga’s wisdom than the ubiquitous how-tos. Christine Williams reads with a bright, sardonic cheerfulness that well matches the prose.”

    SoundCommentary.com (starred review)

  • “Amazon Best Books of the Month, January 2011: Yoga, even as it furthers its storefront-by-storefront takeover of American leisure hours, remains a punchline, a shorthand summing-up of a certain way of life. One of the charms of Poser, Claire Dederer’s memoir of motherhood and marriage structured around her love affair with yoga, is that—as her title hints—she gets the joke, and tells it very well herself. She knows, to the molecule, the subculture she swims within—the ‘liberal enclave’ of late ’90s North Seattle, with its self-policed, guilt-laced dictates about the proper ways to parent, work, play, and wed (and divorce)—and she’s well aware of every knee-jerk response you might bring to a story about yoga (she had them too). She’s sharp and funny, shifting expertly between earthy put-downs and the earnest openness that yoga leads her to. And she’s wisest, and most fascinating, when she’s plotting the differences between her mother’s generation, breaking out from the traditions of young marriage and motherhood in sloppy, self-invented ways, and her own, responding to the chaos of their parents’ marriages and their own youth with the anxiously seamless embrace of attachment parenting. Readers will inevitably be reminded of another witty, navel-gazing, West-meets-East memoir, Eat, Pray, Love, but Dederer’s more domestic journey is her very much her own.”

    Amazon.com, editorial review

  • “Dederer contributes nuggets of yoga trivia paired with a droll, self-effacing delivery that’s both down-to-earth and pleasingly introspective. Delicious fun with a friendly nudge for readers on the fence about yoga.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • One of Amazon Best Book of the Month in January 2011
  • A BookPage Top Pick for Nonfiction in January 2011

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Jodi | 2/11/2014

    " I wanted to like this book more than I did. I found the authors drama not that dramatic. This book was more reality than anything too exciting. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Kristin Friberg | 2/11/2014

    " Definite thumbs up to Eat,Pray,Love fans. Interesting and well-timed story device - life through a series of yoga poses. Dederer admits to being part of the organic, hip, Seattle, trying to do everything right pack of moms, but writes honestly about her personal journey with dry wit. The lack of pretense is especially appealing as she continues to discover more about herself through her yoga practice; as well as her feeling that the more she does yoga, the worse she gets. Always something to learn. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Betsy | 2/7/2014

    " Overall I enjoyed Dederer's book and would recommend this book to others. Being of similar age, coming from a family of divorced parents, and being a practitioner of yoga, there was much to which I could relate. That being said, the book did drag a bit at times and I thought some of the words she used, while good, could have been replaced with simpler ones. (I used to be a grant writer that spent time with many PhD's helping them to understand that sometimes simpler is better, as what you really want is to get your point/ideas across to the reader.) However, I did not find her use of some more obscure words to be a hinderance in the enjoyment of her book. I would have enjoyed a little less Seattle in the first 3/4s of the book and little more Boulder, her children seemed to grow quite a bit during that time and this was quickly brushed over (going from crawling and scribble drawings to reading Harry Potter ?!). I also enjoyed the growth that took place between her and her husband Bruce during their time in Colorado, more time spent on this would have been nice as well. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Donna Lyn | 1/26/2014

    " loved this memoir! recommend!! except for the whole "i'm too intellectual/self-actualized to capitalize the G in God" (sigh), I still loved the book and highly recommend! Love this author!! "

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