I feel that February is that month of the year when all the sexes take personal grooming seriously. It feels very fortunate that during this time of the year, I come across this book. I am a skeptical person when it comes to exploring genres such as autobiography or memoirs. I don’t personally enjoy reading them. But this book ceased my doubts extensively. I’ve not finished reading it completely, but so far, I really liked the book.
‘Me, My Hair, and I: Twenty-seven Women Untangle an Obsession’ is a collective essay told by twenty-seven women coming from all parts of the world. Essentially, this book is filled with different women talking about hair, discussing their love/hate relationship with it. Every women is of a different age, different color, different hair type and different hair story. The essays are humorous, contemplative, provocative and honest. These women write about their individual struggles with hair, their inventive strategies to overcome them and how eventually they accept their hair. This book stresses on the fact that it doesn’t matter where you come from, what your story is and what your priorities are, we all share one common denominator when it comes to hair.
Here it may seem frivolous and superficial at the first glance, but the reason I picked up this book is, I read the first line of the blurbs and it got me pondering. It was,
“ASK A WOMAN about her hair, and she just might tell you the story of her life.”
To think about it, it is indeed true!
The book explores different stories :
- a young girl who gets cancer and how chemotherapy was the ultimate “take-no-prisoners stylist” for her.
- an African -American women who is older, who talks about how she despised her hair when she was young , how aging affected her hair and how she eventually learnt to embrace it.
- a Hindu-Bengali who talks about how hair intervenes with the religious beliefs of her family
- how every mothers’ seemingly excessive concern with so apparently superficial a topic, as their daughters’ hair, become a bonding factor between them.
- and many more….
There are moments in the book which describes the obsessions of these women, in modern day linguistic pattern , adorned with hashtags like #bighairdontcare, #badhairday or hair humors like, “If they see someone with loose ends in their hair, they’ll think you have loose ends in your life” or “Even your hair is corporate now!” or “Dreadlocks make people wonder if you’re trying to be rebellious”, etc.
To sum it all up,
“While it’s easy to make light of our obsession with our hair, very few of the writers in these pages do that. We get that hair is serious. It’s our glory, our nemesis, our history, our sexuality, our religion, our vanity, our joy, and our mortality. It’s true that there are many things in life that matter more than hair, but few that matter in quite these complicated, energizing, and interconnected ways. As near as I can tell, that’s the long and short of it.”
-Excerpt From: Elizabeth Benedict, editor. “Me, My Hair, and I.” iBooks.
Even though this book seems like a democracy created by women, I know few men who equally obsess about hair in a similar fashion. If you are someone who loves beauty or enjoys grooming, this book will definitely reach out to you the most. Nevertheless, even for a non-admirer of ‘girly’ topics, it does live up to entertain you too. Mostly, I would recommend this book for people who enjoy writing essays and would want to explore the different writing styles, especially students.
In conclusion, this book will make you wonder what’s your hair story!
“If you hair is done properly and you’re wearing good shoes, you can get away with anything”- Iris Apfel (Fashion icon)