Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Sunrise was at 5:16, sunset will be 8:59. Almost 9:00. I love the long nights of summer; the twilights that run until 11.

Cloudy, with some hint of blue. It's cold for the first day of June. I was looking at Hen Cam yesterday and there was a temperature stamp of 73 in the corner of the site (it was 94 in the coop last week. The coop's near Boston). I sat watching the hens fluff up and settle in the dust, the rabbit (Candy) lounging near the shade, imagining what 77 degrees would feel like while I sat on my steps: the warmth seeps into my butt on one side, the sun like melted butter on my hair, my feet cozy resting on the cement. Soon, it would get to be too much and I'd have to get up and move into the shade for a minute where I'd then be too cold. I am SO looking forward to being too hot.

I just finished all four of Diana Peterfreund's Ivy League books and it was totally satisfying. They were so much fun. Now I really want to read the third book in her unicorn hunter books. Write Faster! Please.

I also finished reading a book called Sima's Undergarments for Women, a debut novel by Ilana Stanger-Ross. I have had this book (in galley format) for two years and I am so sorry it took me this long to read it. At least now it's out in paper!

Really, this little book is so good, and would be such a good book group book, I am going to write a shelf-talker for it as soon as I get to work!

It's about a woman, Sima, in her mid-60's, maybe, who owns a shop that fits women for undergarments. She can take one look at a woman, see what she needs, and fit her for a bra that will be not only functional but make the woman feel beautiful and sexy. Into this little shop filled with neighborhood women and children comes Timna, a young woman, new to New York, fresh from the Israeli army, in need of a job. Timna is a seamstress and is living with her cousins until her fiance', Alon, gets out of the Army and comes to join her.

During the few months Timna works with Sima, we watch as Sima's years-long, very well-hidden secrets and resentments, her hopes and dreams, begin to come loose and threaten what she thought was a good, if not very exciting, life.

Sima and her husband tried to have children for years. When Timna comes into their lives, Sima begins to see what her life could have been like. She begins to obsess over Timna and her life with her friends in New York, her fiance' and what kind of life they will have.

Sima regrets much of her life and how it got to this point. We see how it happens when Sima remembers her life as a girl, her early married life, and how sad she has been.

It's a book a lot of women, and some men, maybe, will identify with in one way or another. Sima's worry all these years about why she couldn't have children (and I was SO PISSED at that scene), her regrets, the bitterness that sours her life, her need to have something to do to get away from her house and her husband...when a beautiful young woman joins her, showing her what her life might have been, it all boils over.

Sima's secrets, and her inability to share them with her husband, has eroded their lives into a series of unhappy moments joined only by recriminations and bossiness. The only beauty she has is in her basement shop where she has the ability to change the way her women customers see themselves, where she can show girls buying their first bras that they will be lovely.

I have to insert that I really like Sima's husband. It is obvious that he still loves her and would do anything to make her happy, except for the one thing he can't help her with. He brooks no bullshit and I love how insightful he is.

There is a lot of humor in the book, strong friendships and the kind of talk that only happens when women are unclothed and comfortable in front of other women, there is a lot of information about being a Jewish woman in a Jewish neighborhood, and there is a lot of wishing going on. I loved this book. I found myself wishing I knew someone like Sima; I would love a bra that does what it's supposed to do!

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