Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Wisdom of Hair

Title: The Wisdom of Hair Author: Kim Boykin Publisher: Berkley Books Pages: 292

From Amazon:
“The problem with cutting your own hair is that once you start, you just keep cutting, trying to fix it, and the truth is, some things can never be fixed. The day of my daddy’s funeral, I cut my bangs until they were the length of those little paintbrushes that come with dime-store watercolor sets. I was nine years old. People asked me why I did it, but I was too young then to know I was changing my hair because I wanted to change my life.”

In 1983, on her nineteenth birthday, Zora Adams finally says goodbye to her alcoholic mother and their tiny town in the mountains of South Carolina. Living with a woman who dresses like Judy Garland and brings home a different man each night is not a pretty existence, and Zora is ready for life to be beautiful.

With the help of a beloved teacher, she moves to a coastal town and enrolls in the Davenport School of Beauty. Under the tutelage of Mrs. Cathcart, she learns the art of fixing hair, and becomes fast friends with the lively Sara Jane Farquhar, a natural hair stylist. She also falls hard for handsome young widower Winston Sawyer, who is drowning his grief in bourbon. She couldn’t save Mama, but maybe she can save him.

As Zora practices finger waves, updos, and spit curls, she also comes to learn that few things are permanent in this life—except real love, lasting friendship, and, ultimately… forgiveness. 

When I fist began this book, I was immediately taken in by Zora and her escape from life with her Judy-Garland-obsessed alcoholic mother. However, as Zora embarked on life in her new apartment and began beauty school, I started feeling like this was going to be another star-crossed romance in which a woman hitches her star to the first handsome man she sees and they all live happily ever after. In her quest to "save" Winston from his alcoholism, Zora very nearly loses herself. Fortunately, she comes to her senses (but I won't include spoilers).The story also paints an excellent picture of the many facets of alcohol and it's use (and abuse). Honestly, this one didn't leave me hanging on the edge of my seat. However, it was interesting enough to continue with. I'd definitely like to see a sequel. I'd like to know what happens to Zora in the future- whether she continues with her independence or succumbs to her mother's way of "living her life like it wasn't worth anything unless she had a man under her roof."

Read this book if...
*you love southern fiction
*you love stories of friendship
*you love stories of finding strength and independence in the face of adversity

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