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The Wisdom of Hair
by Kim Boykin

Published: 2013-03-05
Paperback : 296 pages
6 members reading this now
3 clubs reading this now
2 members have read this book
Recommended to book clubs by 1 of 1 members
"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 ...
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Introduction

"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.

Editorial Review

No editorial review at this time.

Excerpt

I woke up that next morning with Winston Sawyer on my mind and started cleaning. I wiped down the countertops and cabinets good. The steamy water full of pine cleaner cleared my head but had a tough time cutting through years of greasy dirt on the hood over the little stovetop. I flicked the switch on the fan back and forth to see if it worked, but it didn’t. Then I heard his car door open. He started the engine up. ... view entire excerpt...

Discussion Questions

1. Dressing up as someone else is a common theme. For example, Zora's mother dresses up as Judy Garland, and Winston frist notices Zora when she is wearing his wife's dress. Do you think this signifies that the characters are striving to be something more than they are, or is it simply a sign of their insecurities?

2.Zor straddles two worlds: her life in the mountains and her life in Davenport. How much of a person's character is shaped by his/her upbringing , and do you think it is something that can ever be truly left in the past?

3.The novel is filled with lasting felmale bonds, and Zora refers to Mrs. Farquhar and Sara jane as "the sisterhood." How do these strong female characters and their relationships with one another compare to their relationships with the men in the novel?

Suggested by Members

email the author and ask for a phone or skype session
talk about your own hair salon and how a new hair style or just a cut makes you feel
talk about family and friends and how you can create your own family
by ncvlib (see profile) 10/03/13

Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

Kim Boykin learned about women and their hair in her mother’s beauty shop in a tiny South Carolina town. She loves to write stories about strong Southern women, because that’s what she knows. Kim is an accomplished public speaker, serves on the board of the South Carolina Writer’s Workshop, and edits the organization’s monthly newsletter. She lives with her husband, three dogs, and 126 rose bushes. Visit her website to learn more about her second passion after writing, food.

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Member Reviews

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  "The Wisdom of Hair"by ncvlib (see profile) 10/03/13

One of our members won copies of this book for our club which was an added bonus. Then to top it all off the author, Kim Boykin agreed to discuss her book via a telephone chat session. She was a delight... (read more)

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