This is a small graphic collection of short stories, mostly about African American women’s hair. I cannot call myself an expert on Black women’s hair. So here we go! No, but really. This book tends to work along a few different lines: interactions with non-Black women (mostly white women) who have thoughts and opinions about Black women’s hair; children saying hurtful things about hair; and in-community stories about hair.
The best of the stories are the ones in which the narrative drive is focusing on Black women as both narrator and audience. I am not in either of these positions so it’s clear that my role here is to read and listen and learn, and be entertained by what I find there. It’s in the stories that seem to be addressing white people that I find lacking. This (I don’t think) is not because I am a white person and feel defensive. I may or may not feel defensive about a lot of things, but I generally am pretty good at staying out of hair politics as a participant. Instead, it feels like wasted energy and wasted opportunity. It also muddles some of the book.
Regardless, this book is funny and charming, and the art is interesting. I don’t know enough about graphic art to call this one way or the other, but it feels like it’s got some R Crumb in it (that 70s pen drawing stuff), a little amateurish flare ala Segio Aragones, and others I don’t know about it. It’s cartoonish in its design, and adds that kind of charm to it.