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Paperback Sima's Undergarments for Women Book

ISBN: 0143117483

ISBN13: 9780143117483

Sima's Undergarments for Women

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Format: Paperback

Condition: Very Good*

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Book Overview

Read Ilana Stanger-Ross's posts on the Penguin Blog. A heartwarming tale of an unlikely friendship amid love, loss, and lingerie In the basement of her Brooklyn apartment, Sima Goldner welcomes women of all shapes and sizes with warmth, acceptance-and a bra that gives them the support and lift they need. But Sima, regretfully childless at sixty, and harboring a secret that has embittered her marriage, can't seem to do the same for herself. Then Timna,...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Love, Loss, Regrets

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


What a wonderful book. I laughed and I cried and when I was finished I felt that I truly knew these amazing women. I hope that the author takes time from her career to write more books. She is truly gifted.

Every woman's story

I love love love this book, I couldn't put it down! It's beautifully written, alternating the humor and the tragedy of lives lived. Stanger-Ross has crafted rich, genuine characters - I felt Sima's silent emotional struggle as though it were my own, while Timna felt like so many young women I have known. Sima is a local wonder in her tiny basement lingerie shop, where "in a glance she could see their size, the back and the cup combined. '36-D,' she'd say ... In vain the women protested, 'but I'm a 34. I've always been.' [But] when on her advice they slipped back on their shirts to evaluate the shape a new bra gave, they inevitably agreed." Her loyal customers rely on her to fit them, their sisters and their daughters with the perfect underwear while at the same time hearing their joys and sorrows and providing meaningul advice. This role has been Sima's for so long that she has completely forgotten how to think about her own problems, her own needs -- until Timna arrives, a breath of fresh air for the shop and the daughter that Sima and her sad husband Lev never had. Watching Timna explore New York and her own freedom and youth, Sima is forced to examine her own life and the secrets and shames she has held since adolescence - and ultimately to accept her husband and begin the task of rebuilding their love. With graceful, unselfconscious prose Stanger-Ross brings to life the hidden stories all around us. I give this book a rousing 5 stars -- read it and you'll want to share it with all the women in your life.

Moving and lyrical

I was moved by this wonderfully written novel. The character of Sima is so rich - flawed but true - and her story unfolds with so much depth and emotion. Themes of motherhood, longing, regret and desire interweave beautifully - and in such a unique setting. The writer crafts her story - her sentences even - with such lyrical and evocative language, it's truly a delight to read. This really is a gem of a book!

Big-Hearted Tale

Ilana Stanger-Ross's first novel is a gem. The setting of a lingerie shop in the basement of a house in Boro Park, Brooklyn is realistically and lovingly evoked, and Stanger-Ross treats her characters as a benevolent parent, with an open heart and patient understanding they don't always exhibit toward themselves. This is a world in which family and friends and marriage matter, without apology or embarrassment, and yet it is not idealized either. Notably, the protagonist is a woman is her mid-60's, not beautiful or glamorous, but observant and receptive to the beauty and life around her. That receptivity ultimately allows her to put aside disappointment and re-inhabit her life.
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