Sima’s Under­gar­ments for Women

Ilana Stanger-Ross
  • Review
By – January 9, 2012

A woman must be as selec­tive in choos­ing her under­gar­ments as she is in choos­ing her friends because just like a real pal, a well-fit­ted bra can sup­port and com­pli­ment just as eas­i­ly as it can inter­fere and impede. Though most of us head to a chain like Victoria’s Secret to buy a one-cup-size-fits-all bra, there are still those few lin­gerie shops around the coun­try in which the own­er helps each dis­tinc­tive body find its per­fect brassiere, for any occasion. 

In Ilana Stanger-Ross’ nov­el, Sima’s Under­gar­ments For Women, pro­tag­o­nist Sima adores intro­duc­ing her cus­tomers to new friends like under­wire bras, strap­less bras, enhanc­ing bras, suck-it-in bras, etc. In fact, Sima has been help­ing women love their bod­ies and enhance their ass­es­ts for so long in her base­ment shop in the ultra-Ortho­dox Brook­lyn neigh­bor­hood where she lives that she can tell a woman’s bra size imme­di­ate­ly. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, the only per­son Sima can’t seem to cor­rect­ly (emo­tion­al­ly) size, grow­ing dis­tant from her hus­band and friends, is her­self. That is until the arrival of a viva­cious new employ­ee, Tim­na, shakes up her store and her life. 

With her cus­tomers’ nev­er-end­ing sto­ries and juicy secrets, Sima has been able to keep her own secrets bound as tight­ly as the breasts she helps shape. But when Sima finds her­self inter­fer­ing in her young, Israeli employee’s pri­vate life and aching for Tim­na as if she were her own daugh­ter, the bra-mon­ger is forced to unclasp her own painful past to under­stand her moti­va­tions. It is in this process of unhook­ing the riv­ets of her mem­o­ry and remov­ing the emo­tion­al con­straints that Sima finds her own hap­pi­ness, her own per­fect size.
Mar­garet Teich is a free­lance envi­ron­men­tal writer and eco-con­sul­tant liv­ing in New York City. Check out her blog, Gspot​ting​.net.

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