Book Review: Snip, Snip Revenge, Medeia Sharif (2014)

Monday, July 14th, 2014

The Measure of a Woman

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.)

By all outward appearances, high school junior Tabassum “Tabby” Deniz Karim has it all. Pretty, popular, and outspoken, Tabby isn’t lacking in friends – or boy toys. She has not one best friend, but three in “the BeBes” (Boss Tabby, Booty Connie, Bitch Marissa, and Beast Kiki). Her father and stepmother Song are both successful accountants, able to afford a home in the “good” part of Miami and send their daughter to private school. A student at Miami Beach Magnet School of the Arts, Tabby channels her outgoing personality into creative pursuits; she’s a talented and ambitious actress who’s already perfecting her autograph in anticipation of future stardom. And she has a head full of thick, curly, glossy, romantic, waist-length hair.

But under that glorious mane of keratin hides a dysfunctional home life and painfully low self-esteem. Caught in the middle of a hostile divorce, Tabby’s father is cold, inattentive, and emotionally available, while her mom is neglectful to the point of abuse. (And also possibly alcoholic.) Tabby’s half-sister, Caridad, seemingly subsists on a diet of bite-sized candy bars, and every time she stays with her mother and Cari, Tabby spends much of her visit cleaning the filthy condo and bathing her equally filthy sister. Meanwhile, her stepmother is expecting, and Tabby fears that the new baby will eclipse her into invisibility. Mortified by her home life and desperate to keep up appearances, Tabby doesn’t confide in her besties, which only fuels her feelings of alienation and loneliness.

(More below the fold…)

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!)