Oh my gosh, my heart! I’ve been looking forward to this graphic novel since Claribel A Ortega first announced they were writing this story, and I’m so glad I was able to receive an early copy.
Marlene hates going to the salon and straightening her hair every Sunday, but has been taught it’s necessary for her to be presentable and accepted, both by her peers and her family. Seeing her Tía Ruby with her natural curls at her cousin’s quiñce and seeing her favorite character in Super Amigas with natural curls, Marlene wants to try wearing her hair natural as well. The journey she takes to learn how to care for her hair and listen to the voices that believe she’s beautiful rather than saying she needs to change is such a powerful and important story.
I truly adored this story and my heart is so full with the way Marlene is able to love her hair and deepen her bonds with her best friend Camila, her tía, and her mom. This is so full of love and care, and the art is so perfect for this story. It has several important messages about the anti-Blackness that is such a fraught aspect of conversations around hair, as well as discussions of how generational messages impact the latest generation. Marlene having her aunt to show her how to take care of her hair and hearing stories of how her dad helped her mom love her hair while he was alive after the messages she’d received from Marlene’s grandparents was such an important part of showing different journeys and paths to loving your natural hair. I highly recommend this graphic novel be picked up by everyone because it is so sweet and also has such an important message about what constitutes “good” hair.
[I received an advance copy via Netgalley; this in no way influences my review.]