Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Thoughtful Dresser by Linda Grant

Even though I enjoyed Linda Grant's novel, The Clothes on Their Backs, I felt a resistance to reading her collection of essays, The Thoughtful Dresser: The Art of Adornment, the Pleasures of Shopping, and Why Clothes Matter. It was the part about the pleasures of shopping, I think, that gave me pause. I'm not very fond of shopping for anything. I like to know in advance what I want, find it quickly and then get out of the store.

I'm not much into fashion, either, so I didn't know if I'd be able to relate to Grant's text. I was wrong. I liked seeing the root of themes and ideas Grant used in her fiction, such as "In the worst circumstances of your life, if you are left with nothing, the last nothing you own are your clothes." Another good point is this: "Society will allow you to starve to death and not lift a finger, you can die for want of medical attention, but you will not be allowed to go about naked." Police will come, put a blanket around you, and take you away.

Some pieces held my interest more strongly than others, especially those about Catherine Hill, a survivor of Auschwitz-Birkenau who came to Canada as a refugee after the war. "Thoughtful" is a good word to describe this book.


avisannschild said...

Just looked up Linda Grant on your blog and came across your three reviews. This one caught my eye because I'm a big fan of essays (particularly if they're written by women!). Like you, I'm not much of a shopper, however, though this books sounds interesting all the same.

Lindy said...

Yes, this is a good one to start with, since you are a fan of essays. I like her fiction too.