Friday, June 6, 2008

Review: Target Underwear and a Vera Wang Gown, by Adena Halpern

Target Underwear and a Vera Wang Gown is the story of Adena Halpern’s closet. If you’ve ever found yourself opening up your closet just to marvel at all the clothes you’ve amassed over the years (and maybe even tried some of them on, just for fun), you'll know what she talks about in this book. In little vignettes, she illustrates the major (and minor) moments of her life and what she wore on those occasions. She tells us stories of: the men’s boxer shorts she wore when she was a teenager, desperate to hide her curves; the six-inch heels that, at 4’11’’, she couldn’t live without; the $4,000 Vera Wang gown that Halpern bought after a breakup; and the Juicy Couture drawstring pants she practically lived in, in 2001 and 2002.

Target Underwear and a Vera Wang Gown follows Adena’s story from her childhood outside of Philadelphia, through college in New York, to her move out to LA to live with an old boyfriend, and to work. Halpern and I grew up in the same area (though not in the same decade), so it was fun to recall the sites of her shopping sprees and know exactly what she was talking about. Along the way, Halpern goes through countless breakups, a few jobs, and a particularly ornery (but loveable) personal stylist. But her closet is a constant dependable in her life.

Halpern stories are funny and relatable, though not particularly newsworthy. But I don’t think there are many people who can say that they weren’t picked on in middle school for something they wore, and Halpern recounts some wardrobe malfunctions that would make Janet Jackson proud.

The narrative of this memoir is told in a variety of ways: from the first person (as might be expected), to the third person. The third person narration, which is used in a story about a favorite pair of black drawstring pants, was a little bit disconcerting to me.

But this book was the perfect chick lit, nonfiction way to pass an afternoon. It makes me want to go and consider everything in my closet…


Eva said...

Sounds like fun! I'm off to see if my library has it. :)

Nicole said...

Sounds like an interesting way to write a memoir. I may have to check that one out.


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