Friday, June 21, 2013

Wisdom of Hair Blog Tour: Book Review + Giveaway

For this stop on the Wisdom of Hair blog tour, I'm posting my review of the book! I want to thank the girls at Book Nerd Tours and Kim Boykin for giving me the chance to be apart of this tour.


Life can be beautiful, but it takes a little work...

“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.

Plot: When I first started reading, I was completely excited about the book because it reminded me of the atmosphere of The Help. It had this bright and retro feel but with dark undertones. The plot of the book revolves around a young girl who gets the chance to learn about hair and move away from the damage her mom had done. During this time, she stays in the guest house of a man, Winston, who she's enamored by. Without giving much away, I have to say that I was definitely riveted by the characters, not only Zora but Sara Jane, Winston and even Mrs. Cathcart. Each one of them give a bit more to the story kind of like how they contribute to Zora's life. Just like the characters, the lessons that Zora learns in hair also contribute to moving the story and showing Zora's maturity throughout the novel. There was only one element in the plot that I wish was more drawn out and that was the romance. There was a huge build up to it which kept me drawn for awhile. However, the way that the romance turned out didn't really "wow" me because it was in and out so quickly. I wish that it lasted for as long as the longing Zora had was.
Characters: Zora - Zora was a great main character because she had her flaws and her attributes. She was good with hair and helped her friends, but she didn't know what to do about Winston or her former life. It was nice to see a main character that wasn't black or white but both. Zora wasn't perfect and you, as the reader, could feel that she knew that. And, the decisions she made she felt were best, even though they might not be.
Sara Jane - Freaking loved Sara Jane! She was the foil character to Zora in my opinion. She showed this vibrancy and spunkiness that I loved. She was sort of the embodiment of Zora's new life through Sara pushing Zora to talk to Winston and introducing her to new ways of and things in life.
Winston - I was a bit frustrated by Winston's characterization. I wish there was more time to unravel why he was the way he was and what Zora was to him. It may have been better to even switch point of views to see what his mindset was because it did seem out of blue sometimes with no explanation. However, it was understandable to be frustrated with Winston because Zora was as well, and Boykin was probably just showing the reader how frustrated Zora was by making us the same way.
Cover: The cover embodies the atmosphere of the era the novel is set in. It's this sort of feel good era where for the most part many people are happy or content with their lives, but it's sort of a contradiction for Zora's life. She has a dark childhood and some parts of her new life are dark as well, so it's kind of like a blunt contradiction.
Overall rating: My overall rating for the book is three out of four. The characters and plot are compelling and pushed me back into my old mood of obsessively reading. I would recommend this to anyone who loved The Help or the eighties. It has a bright theme to it but also shows the darkness behind all of it. If you want to get yourself back into reading, this is the book to do it. There are so many themes and characterizations that you'll keep reading page after page!
Thanks again to Kim for letting BNR get the chance to review her novel! If you would like the chance to win a Kindle, fill out the Rafflecopter below!

About the Author:
I was born in Augusta, Georgia, but raised in South Carolina in a home with two girly sisters and great parents. So when you read my stuff if there is ever some deranged mama or daddy terrorizing the protagonist, I want to make it clear, it’s not them.I had a happy, boring childhood, which sucks if you’re a writer because you have to create your own crazy. PLUS after you’re published and you’re being interviewed, for some reason, it’s very appealing that the author actually lived in Crazy Town or somewhere in the general vicinity.
What I did have going for me was two things. One, my grandfather, Bryan Standridge, was an amazing storyteller. He held court under an old mimosa tree on the side of his yard, and people used to come by in droves just to hear him tell stories. He told tales about growing up in rural Georgia and shared his unique take on the world. As a child, I was enthralled, but when I started to write, really write, I realized what a master teacher of pacing and sensory detail he was.The other major influence on my writing is my ADHDness. Of course when I was a kid, nobody knew what that was. Compared to my older sisters, I knew something was “wrong” with me, so I learned to multitask like crazy and excel at things I did well to make up for things I couldn’t do like math and sitting still.Today, I’m an empty nester of two kids with a husband, three dogs, and 126 rose bushes. I write stories about strong southern women because that’s what I know. I’m an accomplished public speaker, which basically means I’m good at talking.

If this doesn’t tell you what you want to know, check out my blog for a few laughs and some good stuff on writing, gardening, food, and, of course, hair.

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