Sima's Undergarments for Women [NOOK Book]


In a hidden bra shop in Brooklyn, one woman's fifty-year-old secret comes unhooked.

There are some life-long quests that all women have in common-meaningful work, true love, and a bra that doesn't leave red marks on your skin. With a gracefulness evocative of Amy Bloom and Alice McDermott, prizewinning writer Ilana Stanger-Ross has created a secret underground New York ...
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Sima's Undergarments for Women

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In a hidden bra shop in Brooklyn, one woman's fifty-year-old secret comes unhooked.

There are some life-long quests that all women have in common-meaningful work, true love, and a bra that doesn't leave red marks on your skin. With a gracefulness evocative of Amy Bloom and Alice McDermott, prizewinning writer Ilana Stanger-Ross has created a secret underground New York sisterhood where women of every shape and creed can come to share their milestones, laughter, loves, and losses against a backdrop of discount lingerie.

In the comfort of her Brooklyn basement bra shop, Sima Goldner teaches other women to appreciate their bodies, but feels betrayed by her own. Shamed by her infertility and a secret from her youth, she has given up on happiness and surrendered to a bitter marriage. But then Timna, a young Israeli with enviable cleavage, becomes the shop seamstress. As the two serve the colorful customers of the orthodox Jewish neighborhood, Sima finds herself awakened to adventure and romance. Years after giving up on their marriage, Sima and her husband, Lev, must decide if what they have is worth saving.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

In Brooklyn's Borough Park, Sima Goldner runs a bra shop from her basement while tolerating her oafish husband, Lev, who lords over the upstairs. But when young and beautiful Israeli expatriate Timna takes the gig as the shop's seamstress, Sima confronts some long-hidden feelings, fears and impulses, and her formerly small life opens up. From the very first page, this is an assured narrative with an even surer voice; readers will know that they are in the hands of a real storyteller as Sima and Timna forge a partnership. Neighborhood subplots bubble along nicely as Stanger-Ross charts Sima's awakening and shows how Timna's arrival and continued presence affect Sima. The bra shop works wonderfully as a stage and forum for the many ladies who tromp through it. This ends up being much more than a novel of female bonding-it's a subtly powerful treatise on friendship, trust and love, written with plenty of verve. (Feb.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

Sima Goldberg, owner of a bra shop in Brooklyn, NY, is the kind of woman whom other women trust. Sima is privy to the thoughts and desires of her clientele as she custom-fits each one with undergarments that lift, correct, and enhance their female figures...all at discount prices, of course. But while her patrons bare their souls to Sima, she manages to keep the biggest secret to herself, one that has been a burden for over 46 years. It is only when Sima hires Timna, a young Israeli girl, to be her assistant that her secret is exposed. Timna is a free spirit who moves through Sima's life offering her the allure of love and adventure, yet when Timna flees, she leaves behind a wake of destruction. Debut novelist Stanger-Ross writes about the intimacy among women whose lives are defined by their Orthodox Jewish community. She deftly reveals just enough information about her characters to excite the reader's curiosity without making the story line predictable. In the end, this is a tale about appreciating one's life, and isn't that what life is about? Recommended only for libraries with mid-size to large Jewish fiction collections.
—Marika Zemke

Kirkus Reviews
A mild first novel about an unhappy older woman whose life brightens when she hires a new assistant for her lingerie shop in an orthodox Jewish neighborhood of Brooklyn. Sima's marriage to Lev, a retired teacher, has been a long slog of mutual loneliness ever since Sima realized she could not have children. Although she can be charming with her female customers, whose daily life Stanger-Ross captures with a lively eye for detail, Sima has become a bitter, shrewish wife to passive Lev, whose every tic annoys her. But from the moment Timna, a beautiful Israeli girl staying with family in Brooklyn, wonders into the lingerie shop Sima runs in the basement of her Boro Park house, Sima's life begins to change. Timna not only brings youthful energy to the shop and willingly chats with Lev, she also willingly shares her joys and worries with Sima. Waiting for her boyfriend to finish his compulsory military service, she has met some fast-lane Israelis in New York. She seems the daughter Sima always dreamed of having: beautiful, energetic, loving. Fascinated by Timna's adventures and increasingly dependent on her, almost obsessed, Sima remembers her unsatisfactory relationship with her own mother and the early years of her marriage, when she and Lev shared moments of genuine happiness before she learned the secret she has held back from him all these years: her infertility stems from scars left by a cured venereal disease she contracted during a brief adolescent fling. Sima's coldness toward Lev stems from her guilt. When she finally tells him the truth, he says it wasn't worth ruining their marriage. Meanwhile, Sima is worried about Timna, whom she suspects, based on circumstantial evidence, ispregnant. Following Timna into Manhattan, Sima has a near romantic encounter of her own. Eventually Timna reunites with her boyfriend and goes on with her life, while Sima and Lev resuscitate their moribund relationship. Filled with gentle uplift, but sorry-for-herself Sima is a difficult heroine to like.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781468304909
  • Publisher: Overlook
  • Publication date: 2/5/2009
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 392,955
  • File size: 483 KB

Meet the Author

Ilana Stanger-Ross grew up in Brooklyn. She holds an undergraduate degree from Barnard College and an MFA from Temple University. She is currently a student midwife on the University of British Columbia faculty of medicine. She has received several prizes for her fiction, including a Timothy Findley Fellowship, and her work has been published in Bellevue Literary Review, Lilith magazine, The Globe and Mail, and The Walrus magazine, among others.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 5 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 3, 2009

    more from this reviewer


    I like discovering new authors and also jewish fiction so it was a perfect combination for my reading tastes. It was a great debut novel. The only thing that really bothered me with this book was the main character Sima was a little bit too obsessed with Timna when she started following her.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2014

    Freedom Chasers Rules

    These are the Freedom Chasers rule that MUST be kept. If not, you will find yourself in trouble. <p>
    1. Do not Forcemate and NEVER encourge it. This is one of the most important rules, if you break this you will find yourself without a program with power other than Sewoa. <br>
    2. Powers are allowed but godmoding isn't. Godmoding is where you control other people and have exessive powers. If you say that you hurl a lighting bolt at someone an itleaves a mark, and other things, why do the other people even bother? Now, if you coutinueslessly dodge other things, then godmodding is accepted. Exessive powers include teleporting exessively, bringing back the dead, and controll of, well, everything. <br>
    4. Cursing is allowed but if someone asks for you to stop, please do. Now, i that person does a five page essay on why it is bad, by all means FLIP THEM OFF. <br>
    5. There are speical leader powers that leaders can only have. That power is mind-reading. If you have that power reduce it to monitering emotions. <br>
    6. ONLY HEALERS HEAL! If other people do the healer's (medicene cat) jobs then the rper will feel unneeded amd quit. <br>
    7. Healers can have mates and children but if you do have kids then you will be demoted to co-healer untill the kids are old enough to become trainees. <br>
    8. Stick to the time scedule. One week=three months. Depending on the animal, time in the nursery/trainee will be one week to three weeks. No less. <br>
    9. Advirtise contsantly. If you are locked out of the Erin Hunter books, imrovise. Harry Potter, Hunger Games, Bloodclan are great examples. <br>
    10. Use the areas beyond the borders to express being locked out. That way, you won't have to depend on other people. <p>
    Bios are useful, but not manditory. Ranks are next result.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 9, 2013

    I loved the book though it at times made me very sad for the mai

    I loved the book though it at times made me very sad for the main character, Sima. She is missing so much in her life as she goes through the motions of living with her regrets at not ever having had children. She lets her marriage flounder rather than open herself to the pain of acknowledgment. She begins to come alive when she hires the beautiful Israeli, Timna whose life she covets and judges. Her obsession with Timna's beauty leads her to excess and then to an abrupt self examination that finally frees her and leads her to happiness .
    Excellent writing, beautiful descriptions, and realistic conclusions.

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  • Posted June 15, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Sima's Showcase ... so much more than a bra shop!

    Sima's Showcase sounds like a great place to hang out, and I wish there was a place like it in our neighbourhood. Not only is this amazing little shop a place to get perfectly fitting lingerie, but it is also a place of unbelievable friendship, warmth and caring.

    Sima had a major disappointment as a young bride, and she built invisible walls to protect herself from further hurt and disappointment. For most of her life she was in a lonely and unfulfilled place. She basically felt sorry for herself, and did not allow herself to experience any joy.

    When Timna, a young Israeli woman, comes to work in Sima's lingerie shop for a few months, the two women form an unlikely friendship. Through laughter, as well as trials and misunderstandings, they both finally realize that it is never too late to open the door to whatever life has.

    This is a fantastic book about the beauty of friendship, transformed lives, and unconditional love. I recommend this to anyone who would like a beautiful escape into the secret lives of some very extraordinary women, who just happen to be surrounded by beautiful lingerie. Can it get any better?

    This book is so much more than the story of a bunch of women in a bra shop. It is about how we deal with disappointments, challenges and frustration. We need to do more than just go through the motions in our life ... or we will miss out on what life is all about.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 12, 2009

    fun read

    Love the book and shared it with friends.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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