Our pick for September is
Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress by Susan Jane Gilman. Those of you who read Mennonite in a Little Black Dress with us a few months ago should come next month and we can see which one we liked better. Here's a synopsis of the book: Gilman has a gift for showing the humor in the ordinary. Her memoir takes readers from her childhood in the late 1960s and early '70s through adulthood and marriage. As the book opens, she is reminiscing about the summer of 1969 when she was four and her parents took her to a commune where one of their friends was filming a documentary. She got to personify innocence by dancing naked on the beach with other children. Other experiences include the challenges of being the only Jewish girl attending a private Presbyterian school, her mother's enthusiasm for transcendental meditation, and her own infatuation (and ultimate meeting) with Mick Jagger. Set against the backdrop of New York's Upper West Side, her descriptions of the insecurities that plagued her as an adolescent ring with truth. Gilman's narrative illustrates how the highs and lows that mark the teen years are remarkably similar among generations, and suggests that perhaps the gap isn't so wide after all. As she shares some of her adult experiences–career choices, the effects of her parents' divorce after she and her brother were grown, a work-related trip to the Polish concentration camps–her refreshing blend of humor and frankness does not trivialize the significance of her observations. Gilman's is not an extraordinary life, but she offers a view of American culture over the past 35 years that is compelling and highly readable.