Thursday, May 14, 2009

Book Review: Autobiography of a Wardrobe

Autobiography of a Wardrobeuses an unusual narrative device; the story is told from the perspective of the wardrobe. For some reason I had difficulty embracing this perspective- mainly because a wardrobe evolves so much through out a lifetime, it seems odd that it should have a constant voice. I mean, the clothes you wear as a child are long gone by the time you are an adult.

Eventually I began to realize that this narrative device gave the author the emotional distance that allowed her to write about some very painful moments in an insightful way.

We all have those outfits that make us feel glamorous, beautiful, powerful or sexy. But what about the ones that show how lost we are- how confused? We tend to excise them from memory because they are, well, embarrassing. But those missteps tell us something about who we were when we put them on, and what we were trying to be.

But of course, my favorite moment in the book is when the wardrobe and our heroine finally begin to make peace with one another.

"It was as if a foundation of sensation, dammed up by a years long spasm of grief and anxiety, had started to flow. With this inner release, B's body dropped into itself. Her breath filled her lungs, her hips received her torso's weight, her legs smoothed themselves downward, her calves felt thier power and the bones of her feet made happy little clicking adjustments to support the suddenly physically radiant B in motion."

Now there is a beautiful image of body and garment in happy communion.

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