“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.”
I believe that hair is probably one of the most defining features of any true Southern woman. We are taught from a young age to wash, condition, roll, tease, comb, brush, and curl our hair. Most Southern women my age have been subjected to visiting the beauty shop, not a salon, but the beauty shop, the kind you find in the movie, Steel Magnolias.
The novel is set in 1983, when big hair was all the rage in the South. Zora Adams has the grades and brilliance to go to college, but she doesn't have the means. She sets her sights on beauty school, where she can learn to cut and style hair and make a living for herself.
She's spent most of her life in the shadow of her mother, who is an alcoholic Judy Garland wanna be, complete with hair, make-up, and clothes. But there is only so much a girl can take and she leaves her Mama and her beloved mountains for a beauty school near the coast. She meets Sara Jane Farquhar and they quickly become best friends. She is the first true friend Zora has ever had.
Zora and Sara spend their days at school, learning about fixing hair, fixing hair, and drinking wine. Sara pines after the yard boy while Zora is more interested in the young widower, Winston Sawyer, who drinks himself to sleep every night.
Zora and Sara have some wonderful adventures together. This is what true friendship really is like. I enjoyed the characters, the setting, and the story.
This is a wonderful read for those days when you would just love to get wrapped up in someone else's troubles, heartaches, and blessings.
I would like to thank the wonderful ladies at She Reads for turning me on to this great new author.
Kim Boykin's The Wisdom of Hair is a Spring Okra Pick from SIBA.