Book Review: The Snarls: A Hair Combing Story, Becca Price (2014)

Sunday, March 9th, 2014

A Horror Comedy for the Curly-Haired Crowd

four out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free electronic copy of this book for review through Library Thing’s Member Giveaway program.)

One of my most vivid childhood memories involves my mother, my unruly mane of curly hair, and a blow dryer. I’m sure you can fill in the blanks.

It was a weekend night – Friday or Saturday – which I remember because the bath night ritual wasn’t rushed as per usual. I’d just gotten out of the tub and my mom was patiently drying my hair, expertly juggling the blow dryer and comb, trying to work out the tangles and knots as she went. (She did my hair for me until I was well into the double digits. There was too much to tame on my own! The situation became so untenable that she even resorted to bribery in a failed attempt to get me to cut it.) I must have been fidgeting, because before I knew it, the blow dryer was hanging from my head, motor forever silenced and reeking of burnt hair. Long story short, the older boy from next door disassembled the dryer while my mom held it in the air, so that it wouldn’t pull painfully at my hair. I believe that a pair of scissors was also involved. Embarrassing enough on its own, this incident was only magnified my the huge crush I harbored on said boy, and for many years after that. I’m still scarred.

So when I spotted Becca Price’s The Snarls: A Hair Combing Story on Library Thing, my interest was piqued. I’ve been fighting the good fight against tangles and snarls my whole life.

While I had expected a child’s picture book, The Snarls is more like a short story, the updated edition of which features illustrations. The story’s kind of cute and imaginative (though probably more so for a younger reader than I!), telling of how Snarls (with a little help from their cousins the Tangles) gather in families, communities, and societies, setting up shop on a curly-haired child’s head, only to be defeated by their arch-enemies Combs, Water, Conditioner, and Detangler. Amazon lists the length of this book as 14 pages, but only 6 pages of this belong to the story itself (with 5 illustrations spaced throughout). It’s easily readable on a Kindle.

For kids whose hair seems to fight them at every turn, The Snarls may provide some levity to what can sometimes be a frustrating situation.

(This review is also available on Amazon, Library Thing, and Goodreads. Please click through and vote it helpful if you’re so inclined!)