Sunday, July 19, 2009
109 - Sima's Undergarments for Women; Ilana Stanger-Ross
In Sima's Undergarments for Women, Sima Goldner is a 65 year old woman, who runs a lingerie shop out of the basement of her Brooklyn home, which she shares with her husband, Lev of 46 years.
(Chapter 1- first paragraph......
"SIMA SURPRISED HERSELF BY BLUSHING AT THE ROUND perfection of the young woman's breasts. For thirty-five years, after all, breasts had been her business: she knew the slight curve of the preteen breast, its nipple rigid when unveiled in the cool air of her basement shop; the aching breasts of pregnant women, skin shiny and striped from stretch; the parchment breasts of the elderly, liver-spotted, soft with down; she knew breasts with pink nipples, olive nipples, brown nipples; nipples pushed in and pulled out, tiny as dimes, large as the ringed stain of a coffee cup; she knew heavy breasts on thin women and thin breasts on heavy women; breasts 28A, 52K, and breasts with a cup size between them. She even and of course knew the knotted red scar of the breast that was no longer there, the twisting keloid marker of what science had stolen away".
Sima teaches women to appreciate their bodies, even though her own body has disappinted her. Childless, Sima is saddened by the fact that she was never able to have a child. One day Timna, a beautiful Israeli woman wanders into Sima's shop in the Jewish Orthodox neighborhood. Sima becomes fascinated with this lovely woman. Timna is just out of the Army, and here without a visa, while waiting for her boyfriend to get out of the Army. When Timna learns that Sima is looking to hire a seamstress for the shop, she convinces Sima to hire her. Timna is like a breath of fresh air; she brings new life to the shop.
Sima quickly seems to become obsessed with the young, beautiful Timna, and through her she is forced to think about the regrets she's faced in her own life. A non-observant Jewish woman, who feels shame about her own infertility, she reassesses her life, her marriage and how to spend the remaining years she has left.
(p310)..."How many others like her, she thought, how many others lonely within their walls? And then one day realizing that every room has a door, and opening it".
A beautiful story, filled with colorful and sometimes flawed characters, it is much more than a story about an underwear shop. It is a story about love, loss, regrets and finally acceptance. I'm so glad I decided to read this endearing story. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
RATING - 5/5; COMPLETED - 7/18/09; Library Book