Lesser writes with a sense of humor and a strong, clear voice that brings to mind aspirational chick-lit novels. Her reflections on coping with the death of a parent are particularly poignant, as she uses a scarf, given to her by her dying mother, to represent her parent’s wish for her to be happy.”
“…sharply observant and deeply personal…”
“I’d like to be one of Rachel Levy Lesser’s best friends even though I’ve never met her. You will too after you see how honestly she writes about her young life. She’s smart, funny, savvy, and knows what she wants in best friends, men, mothering, and fashion. Compare Rachel’s life to your own. You’ll recognize much and learn much.”
—Ilene Beckerman, author of Love, Loss, and What I Wore
“In fluid, engaging prose, Rachel Levy Lesser draws readers into her episodic coming-of-age story, from prep school student to mature mother and writer—accessorized charmingly throughout by symbolic talismans. Though grieving for her lost mother, she exudes a palpable joie de vivre, attracting a lively coterie, including us who read, as Best Friends Forever.”
—Paula Deitz, editor of The Hudson Review
“Rachel Levy Lesser had me on page one. Her storytelling is heartfelt, engrossing, entertaining, and as addictive as reading a friend’s diary. Life’s Accessories will undoubtedly leave readers wanting Lesser to add to her collection.”
—Amy Blumenfeld, author of The Cast
“In Rachel Levy Lesser’s episodic memoir, worn talismans give her the strength to claim her voice, weather grief, and navigate a rich and full life. Reminiscent of Ilene Beckerman’s classic Love, Loss, and What I Wore, Lesser captures the pressures and pleasures of a new generation of women as her warmth and wisdom shine through.”
—Andrea Jarrell, author of I’m the One Who Got Away
“I literally could not put this book down. I fell in love with Rachel on page one, and by the last chapter I was convinced she was my long lost BFF. She writes with humor and grace, and takes us on her life’s journey with vulnerability and wit. It’s a winning combo! Rachel is as real and authentic as it comes. Wish we could be mom friends in real life!”
—Ali Katz, author of One Minute to Zen
“Life’s Accessories is a charming and deeply relatable exploration of the significance inanimate objects—clothing and accessories—have to remind us of who we are and of where we came from. Lesser imbues each anecdote, centered on a piece of clothing, jewelry, or accessory, with humor, wisdom, and memory. She excavates her own personal history through particular objects in her closet, and makes the personal universal. I laughed, I cried, I nodded vigorously in agreement as I read. I loved this book.”
— Lindsey Mead, writer and editor of On Being 40(ish)
“Life’s Accessories is a poignant story, told through the universal language of stuff. Rachel uses meaningful items from her past to weave together stories that made her into the wife, mother, and daughter she is today. From perms to summer camp, post-baby weight loss to making mom friends, Rachel paints a relatable, compelling picture of her highs and lows, and beautifully writes about the loss of her mother. Life’s Accessories is this season’s must-have accessory for your best girlfriend’s bedside table.”
— Zibby Owens, writer and creator/host of the Moms Don’t Have Time to Read Books podcast
“Life’s Accessories, a new memoir by Rachel Levy Lesser, cleverly uses articles of clothing and jewelry to shape the story of the author’s life. Her stories are relatable and accessible. Reading Lesser’s memoir is like sifting through a closet with a friend, stopping to pause over certain items and remembering why they meant so much in the first place. She artfully reminds us how even just thinking about an object can immediately transport us right back to a moment in time.”
—Beth Ricanati, physician and author of Braided: A Journey of a Thousand Challahs
“Often our memories of those we have lost are mere glimpses and images of the past and our time with that person. In Life’s Accessories, Rachel Levy Lesser honors us with the privilege of those glimpses and images through the beautiful window of her words. You will laugh, cry, and sit with the words of wisdom that Rachel shares. Rachel’s gift of storytelling will find you reflecting on your own memories and the accessories that you carry with the memories of those you have loved and lost.”
—Darcy Walker Krause, director of Uplift Center for Grieving Children
“Through both her sheer bravery and evident joy from mining years’ worth of coming-of-age memories, Rachel Levy Lesser has proven that the term ‘grief book’ is anything but a one-note category. I smiled with tears in my eyes throughout this entirely creative paper journey documenting the LOL-worthy and poignant moments from adolescence and young adulthood, and the hard lessons some of us get schooled in earlier than we might expect.”
—Rebecca Soffer, coauthor of Modern Loss: Candid Conversation About Grief. Beginners Welcome.
“A thoroughly enjoyable read from an author who immediately feels like your best friend as she grabs your arm and reveals stories equally lighthearted and tender about motherhood, family, love, loss, and friendship.”
—Marisa Bardach Ramel, author of The Goodbye Diaries: A Mother-Daughter Memoir
A memoir of vignettes about clothing and accessories.
Lesser (Who's Going to Watch My Kids?, 2015, etc.) begins her story in 1987, when she was entering eighth grade. Her parents decided to move her from a small Quaker school to a prep school near Princeton University, and Lesser struggled hard to fit in. She begged her mother to buy her the kind of signet ring the popular prep school kids had, and her mother finally relented. The ring becomes the first of a series of talismans that ground the author's life experiences; they also form the structure of this memoir, in which each chapter is dedicated to a specific item. Later chapters center on a summer camp necklace, a handbag, indoor scarves, yoga bracelets, and other objects. Along the way, each article takes on symbolic significance; for example, an Elsa Peretti gold-heart necklace packaged in a Tiffany box, which Lesser's parents gave to her on her 16th birthday, came to represent her search for love in high school and college, and a pair of funky Chan Luu earrings represented the true love that blossomed with her husband. At another point, a Kate Spade bag is shown be emotionally entangled with her marketing career in New York City. Some readers may be put off by the privileged perspective of this account, which is repeatedly demarcated by shopping trips to luxury retailers. Overall, the memoir may resonate most with readers who are fans of social media accounts that focus on lifestyle and motherhood. Lesser writes with a sense of humor and a strong, clear voice that brings to mind aspirational chick-lit novels. Her reflections on coping with the death of a parent are particularly poignant, as she uses a scarf, given to her by her dying mother, to represent her parent's wish for her to be happy.
An episodic, sometimes-moving remembrance.