cover image Me, My Hair, and I: Twenty-Seven Women Untangle an Obsession

Me, My Hair, and I: Twenty-Seven Women Untangle an Obsession

Edited by Elizabeth Benedict. Algonquin, $16.95 trade paper (336p) ISBN 978-1-61620-411-2

Hair—whether cut, colored, coveted, allowed to go grey, or, under difficult circumstances, lost—can tell a woman’s story and proclaim something about her to the world: her sense of self, her politics, or her role models. In this splendid collection edited by Benedict (Mentors, Muses & Monsters), 27 female authors (including Jane Smiley, Deborah Tannen, Bharati Mukherjee, and Maria Hinojosa) discuss their trials with, and theories about, hair. By turns wry, tender, pointed, and laugh-out-loud funny, the selections take us along on the contributors’ tangled, complicated, and thoroughly engaging journeys. Hair and hair styles emerge as an arena for conflict with daughters, mothers, and sisters; a middle ground between tradition and change; and a means of expression of power, freedom, and feeling at home in one’s skin (or hair). Among the many insights offered: Audrey Hepburn and Jackie Kennedy are very common role models, and a good hairdresser is worth keeping forever. Going grey can bring liberation or call for a dye job; the loss of hair to chemotherapy means less than winning the war against the disease within. These talented women make it clear that hair is a distinct, if sometimes exasperating, marker of identity and meaning. [em]Agent: Gail Hochman and Marianne Merola, Brandt & Hochman. (Oct.) [/em]