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Me, My Hair, and I: Twenty-seven Women Untangle an Obsession Paperback – September 29, 2015

4 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Truth and wisdom do such a delightful dance throughout "Me, My Hair, And I" that you finish the essay collection wondering why we don't spend more time, not less, obsessing over our tresses. . . A deliciously enlightening read, equal parts fun and poignant.” —Chicago Tribune

“This anthology of essays by women explores a surprising range of issues, including identity, relationships, vanity, femininity, aging, and society.” —NYTimes.com

“Here, in a series of astonishingly good essays, writers wax eloquent about the emotions wrought by our locks: ‘good hair’ and ‘bad hair’ in African-American culture; envy of our follicly gifted siblings; the quest for delusional hairstyles; and much more.”—People
 
“Women show their roots in ‘Me, My Hair, and I.’” —Vanity Fair 

“[T]hese twenty-seven essays are beautifully revelatory and deeply personal accounts of each woman's hair”—Bustle

“The long and the short of it is that one of the most intimate—and fraught—relationships women have is with their hair . . . it’s that relationship that’s explored in Me, My Hair, and I, a collection of essays from a diverse range of authors . . . These essays are by turns funny and poignant. They will spark a sense of recognition in any woman who has ever suffered a bad hair day.” —BUST Magazine

“Benedict has a knack for zeroing in on subjects with far-reaching, often surprising implications and resonance. In her third invitational collection, she has definitely tapped a nerve . . . Women spend enormous amounts of money and time on their hair, agonizing over every decision.  Variations on these themes are tackled with candor, wit, insight, and emotion by Benedict’s 27 eloquently entertaining contributors . . . [An] irresistible, pithy, and right-on anthology.” —Booklist

“[A] splendid collection . . . By turns wry, tender, pointed, and laugh-out-loud funny, the selections take us along on the contributors’ tangled, complicated, and thoroughly engaging journeys.”—Publishers Weekly

“This collection is not only unique for the subject matter it addresses. It also provides cultural commentary that is by turns insightful, humorous, and moving. . . Surprisingly engaging reading.” —Kirkus Reviews

“We wear our hair every day, and this collection demonstrates—with great clarity and insight—the complexities of what that means for women of all backgrounds. An important conversation and worthy of note” —Library Journal 

From the Back Cover

Hair matters. And these writers go to great lengths to help us understand why.

Adriana Trigiani on trendy hair:
“I figure when Madonna gets scared about changing her hair, something is about to blow again, like Vesuvius.”

Marita Golden on black hair:
“Black women’s hair is knotted and gnarled byissues of race, politics, history, and pride.”

Anne Kreamer on going gray:
“Much to my surprise, when I stopped coloring my hair, time began to slow down, in a good way.”

Maria Hinojosa on curly hair:
“As I came to accept and even love my wild hair, it became a way for me to feel power that I had never experienced.”

Alex Kuczynski on waxing:
“‘Very beautiful.’ I will never forget those words. I associate them with shock and vulnerability—and chafing.”

Deborah Feldman on covering hair:
“Eventually I threw away my wigs. I abandoned the community that had forced me to wear them.”

Suleika Jaouad on lost hair:
“Chemotherapy is a take-no-prisoners stylist.”

Patricia Volk on products:
“High-functioning hair obsessives rarely go it alone. We have a team. The products, the people.”

“Untangles the many truths about hair, and the lives we lead underneath it.” —Pamela  Druckerman, author of Bringing Up Bébé

“[A] splendid collection . . . By turns wry, tender, pointed, and laugh-out-loud funny.” —Publishers Weekly

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Algonquin Books (September 29, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1616204117
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616204112
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 0.6 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #295,527 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By sb-lynn TOP 500 REVIEWER on October 6, 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a collection of essays written by women writers about....their hair. And in case you think that this means this book is frivolous or vapid, it isn't. There is a lot of humor in this book (I found myself laughing a lot,) but there is also a lot of insight and profundity.

Women have been obsessing and worrying about their hair since time immemorial and there is so much emotional baggage linked to our hair that affects our self-image and confidence. The essays all look at the ways that hair can be so important - both in terms of the way we see ourselves and our families and the way society see us. Just for an example, in an essay by Jane Green regarding the 1970's:

"Straight, glossy hair was beautiful. Rampant, frizzy curls were not. At school, the popular girls had the hair I coveted. Silky and blonde meant popularity, likability, success. My curls were creative and shy; they never quite fitted in. But I could lose myself in books, and in other, easier worlds, and convince myself that if I cut my hair and dyed it blonde, the romantic hero could fall in love with me too."

The essays are written by women with different backgrounds and ethnicities. Although each person may have their own stories about their anxieties and relationship with their hair, there is a lot of commonality. And by the time you finish reading all the essays you realize how complex and emotionally-charged the topic really is.

I highly recommend this book. I started reading it and could not put it down. Not all of the essays resonated with me, but most of them did and I often found myself shaking my head in agreement. As I said earlier, there are some profound insights to be found here as well as a lot of humor.
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By Paule on October 19, 2015
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Having a personal struggle with my hair all my life this book was an eye opener..........here I thought I was the only one with these feelings!
It has helped me know that their are others with 'hair issues' and that I am not alone. The contributors to this book were excellent....I could hardly put it down.......who would think such a subject would be so interesting and conjure up so much empathy for those of us who struggle with this issue.
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I have ordered this as a gift and just received the copy today. I have started reading it.. (is that allowed of a gift?) and I think I will have to buy my own copy, I at 43 have been through a lot with my hair in my life and it absolutely tells the story of my life.
A question I had and for some reason I cannot ask a question here like on other Amazon listings. The edge pages of my copy are not even they are choppy like they missed the final pass through the paper cutter.. anyone else's copy like that? As a lover of books I find this bothersome.
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I smiled often as I read this book. Hair is so important to us, and has a big role in our growing up. It is interesting to read other womens' thoughts and experiences with their hair. I even bought a hardcopy for my hairdresser -- she loves it!
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While there are several essays in this book that I related to, or moved me, I was surprised at the lack of variety in this compilation. Mostly middle-aged women are represented, and while that's where I fall, it would have been interesting to hear from more younger women. Also, these pieces are primarily thoughtful and serious, and it seems like the topic of women's obsession with hair would be fertile ground for humor.

I'm wondering if these essays were written for this book, previously published, or a mix - and when they were written. These days many young women are coloring their hair green or magenta, and I would like to know WHY. :)

Other essays left unwritten - "To Scrunchie or Not to Scrunchie," "Why I Never Wear My Hair Up," and "The Summer My Friends and I Shared A Cowboy Hat."

All that said, there are lovely essays here. I particularly enjoyed Anne Lamott's contribution, "Sister," about her path to dreadlocks, and Jane Smiley's fun piece, "At Last, I Learn How to Turn Heads," about the impact of a great cut and color.

Maybe there'll be a "Me, My Hair, And I" Part Two?
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This book was a Mother's Day gift for my mom. She is a hair dresser and I thought she would like a book on the way people feel in their hair. She just started reading it but so far she likes it. I feel it was a great gift.
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Just finished this--it's wonderful.

It's not important, incidentally, that the reader have the exact same hair issues as the authors, but that the reader enjoy the struggle of humans engaged with a force of nature that WILL have its own way, despite chemicals, heat, scissors, and wishful thinking.

There may be women who never had their mom police their hair's appearance, who never got very lucky or unlucky in a choice of hair stylists, who never ardently wished for a totally different head of hair. I am not that woman, nor do I believe I have ever met her (there can't be many).
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A fantastic read. You learn, you resonate, you nod like a church lady. Great job picking different voices.
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