Me, My Hair, and I: Twenty-seven Women Untangle an Obsession (Paperback)
October 2015 Indie Next List
“Twenty-seven authors share stories about hair and all its meanings in this revelatory collection. Hair can represent class, race, a period in history, health, neuroses, and more. What a wonderful way to ponder our life histories and traumas and still keep a sense of humor as we are invited to remember what hairstyles we were wearing at key times in our lives. Through the focus on hair, this book leads us to consider our stories in both a fun and oddly serious way.”
— Rona Brinlee (M), The BookMark, Neptune Beach, FL
“[A] splendid collection . . . By turns wry, tender, pointed, and laugh-out-loud funny.” —Publishers Weekly
“Untangles the many truths about hair, and the lives we lead underneath it.” —Pamela Druckerman, author of Bringing Up Bébé
Ask a woman about her hair, and she just might tell you the story of her life. Ask a whole bunch of women about their hair, and you could get a history of the world. Surprising, insightful, frequently funny, and always forthright, the essays in Me, My Hair, and I are reflections and revelations about every aspect of women’s lives from family, race, religion, and motherhood to culture, health, politics, and sexuality.
They take place in African American kitchens, at Hindu Bengali weddings, and inside Hasidic Jewish homes. The conversation is intimate and global at once. Layered into these reminiscences are tributes to influences throughout history: Jackie Kennedy, Lena Horne, Farrah Fawcett, the Grateful Dead, and Botticelli’s Venus.
The long and the short of it is that our hair is our glory—and our nemesis, our history, our self-esteem, our joy, our mortality. Every woman knows that many things in life matter more than hair, but few bring as much pleasure as a really great hairdo.
About the Author
Elizabeth Benedict is a graduate of Barnard College and the author of five novels, including the bestseller Almost and the National Book Award finalist Slow Dancing. She is the editor of the anthologies What My Mother Gave Me, a New York Times bestseller, and Mentors, Muses & Monsters, and has written for the New York Times, the Boston Globe, the Los Angeles Times, Esquire, and the Huffington Post, the Rumpus, and Tin House. Two of her essays have been selected for Best American Essays collections. She has taught widely and works as a writing coach and editor.
“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