Books are food for my soul! Pull up a beach chair and stick your toes in the sand as the Jersey surf rolls in and out, now open your book and let your imagination take you away.

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Wisdom of Hair by Kim Boykin (Author Guest Post / Book Review / Contest Giveaway)

In association with Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews welcomes Kim Boykin, author of The Wisdom of Hair!

Author Guest Post

“I cut my bangs with some rusty kitchen scissors.” Those nine little words are the beginning of Miranda Lambert’s new hit song that snatch us into her story. Even if you hate country music, you listen because you have to know why a woman would do such a thing?

Now, let’s get personal. Think back to the last time you cut your own hair. Were you just trimming your bangs a few days ago or were you in a closet with your pretty locks in one hand and a pair of scissors made for hacking through construction paper in the other? And for God’s sake, why did you do it?

I suspect you may have cut your own hair for the same reason Zora Adams, the protagonist of The Wisdom of Hair did the day her father was buried. She was just nine years old then and was too young to know that she was changing her hair because she wanted to change her life.

When The Wisdom of Hair begins, Zora is a young woman and things at home are so bad, she’s contemplating shaving her head. But she puts the clippers down and does something braver than the change that comes with a new hairdo.

She opts to leave home for beauty school and a chance at a better life. For the first time ever, Zora has real friends and a true BFF. Sure she has a hot romance with the wrong guy, but her friends help her sort things out and she finds her calling fixing hair and changing lives.

Okay, back to you. Now that you know you change your hair to change your life, what does that do for you? Since I realized this truth, it’s made me question my motives before I beg my stylist to go three shades lighter or for bangs. Again. But when I do get a new hairstyle, when I believe in the wisdom of hair, it makes the change that comes with that new hairdo all the more powerful and real. I hope it does the same for you.

About The Author

Kim Boykin learned about women and their hair in her mother’s beauty shop in a tiny South Carolina town. She loves to write stories about strong Southern women, because that’s what she knows. While her stories are always set in South Carolina, she lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, with her husband, three dogs, and 126 rose bushes.

The Wisdom of Hair by Kim Boykin ~ Virtual Book Tour Page: Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours

Virtual Book Tour Contest Giveaway

Win A $20 Amazon Gift Card

Contest Dates: March 11 - April 1

Everyone who leaves a comment on The Wisdom of Hair by Kim Boykin ~ Virtual Book Tour Page: Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours will be entered to win a $20 Amazon gift card! Anyone who purchases their copy of The Wisdom of Hair before April 1 and sends their receipt to, will get five bonus entries.

The Wisdom of Hair - Book Trailer

Book Review

The Wisdom of Hair by Kim Boykin
Publisher: Berkley Trade / Penguin Publishing
Publication Date: March 5, 2013
Format: Paperback - 304 pages / Kindle - 475 KB / Nook - 857 KB
ISBN: 0425261050
Genre: Women's Fiction

BUY THE BOOK: The Wisdom of Hair

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author / publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours.

Book Description:

Life can be beautiful, but it takes a little work...

“The problem with cutting your own hair is that once you start, you just keep cutting, trying to fix it, and the truth is, some things can never be fixed. The day of my daddy’s funeral, I cut my bangs until they were the length of those little paintbrushes that come with dime-store watercolor sets. I was nine years old. People asked me why I did it, but I was too young then to know I was changing my hair because I wanted to change my life.”

In 1983, on her nineteenth birthday, Zora Adams finally says goodbye to her alcoholic mother and their tiny town in the mountains of South Carolina. Living with a woman who dresses like Judy Garland and brings home a different man each night is not a pretty existence, and Zora is ready for life to be beautiful.

With the help of a beloved teacher, she moves to a coastal town and enrolls in the Davenport School of Beauty. Under the tutelage of Mrs. Cathcart, she learns the art of fixing hair, and becomes fast friends with the lively Sara Jane Farquhar, a natural hair stylist. She also falls hard for handsome young widower Winston Sawyer, who is drowning his grief in bourbon. She couldn’t save Mama, but maybe she can save him.

As Zora practices finger waves, updos, and spit curls, she also comes to learn that few things are permanent in this life—except real love, lasting friendship, and, ultimately… forgiveness.

Book Excerpt:

Normally, the church office mails out a letter with all of the necessities for baptism day including a change of clothes and an extra pair of underwear, which is underlined twice. I know this because I saw Jimmy’s letter before he was baptized. I didn’t know you were supposed to keep your clothes on underneath the gown, so while everybody else was wringing wet, the only thing I had on under my gown was my bra and panties. I stuffed them in a little plastic bag the handkerchief lady had given me after the service and avoided shaking the preacher’s hand because it just didn’t feel right without underwear.

When I saw Sara Jane and Jimmy, they hugged me, and Mrs. Farquhar and Mr. Farquhar were so happy they cried. We went home to their place for Sunday dinner, and Mr. Farquhar told me about when he was baptized in the river near his homeplace. He remembered everything about that day and described it in such a way that I wished I had been baptized in a river, too. After dinner, Sara Jane and Jimmy dropped me at my apartment. I told her that I was ready to meet Jimmy’s friend, maybe even go to one of the engagement parties with him. I climbed the steps to my apartment and didn’t give Winston Sawyer a second thought. When I opened the door, I was ready to ask him to leave if he was there and reclaim my own place and my own self. But then I saw a table set for two and a dozen roses arranged in a pretty glass vase.

He walked out of the bedroom with a big box behind his back. “You’re home,” he said, kissing me lightly on the lips and lingering close just long enough to weaken me considerably. “I’m sorry about last night,” he said, kissing me again while I tried to recall my name. “I have something for you.” He handed me a dress box that was wrapped in pretty blue paper. “Go ahead, open it.”

I did hesitate, but not long enough to really count. He watched my face and knew I had forgiven him before the bow hit the floor.

“I was in the coffee shop across the street from the store the day you tried it on,” he said. “I knew you wanted it. You looked so beautiful. Do you remember?”

Of course I remembered. I’d tried on that indigo beaded gown at one of Emma’s fancy little dress shops downtown. I don’t know why I even bothered to go in there. I knew I’d never be able to afford that pretty thing in the window. But I just had to try it. The woman said she didn’t usually do layaways but it looked so good on me, she said she’d make an exception. As nice as she was, I knew it’d take me a year to pay for it, so I said no.

“The woman who owns the store has a kid that was in one of my classes last semester. I got her to go down to the store this morning so I could have it for you when you came back. I wanted you to have something nice to wear to your graduation dinner.”

I ran my fingers over the beads that were not the loud, flashy kind. They were the exact same color as the dress, and they made the dress look like something out of Vogue. I could tell he wanted me to rush into the bathroom and try it on, but I didn’t. The new creature inside me was battling the old creature.

“I saw the invitation on the refrigerator. I want to take you,” he said, as he reached for my hand and held it in his and kissed it, making sure he was truly forgiven. “To the dance.”

I was in and out of that dress in a matter of seconds.

My Book Review:

The Wisdom of Hair is an emotional story of family, friendship, self-discovery, love and forgiveness. The year is 1983 in the mountain town of Cleveland, SC. Nineteen year old Zora Adams has had enough of taking care of her narcissistic, alcoholic, man chasing, Judy Garland obsessed mother. Striking out on her own is the only way that Zora can have a better life of her own. Taking advice from her high school teacher, Zora leaves her mountain hometown for a coastal town in South Carolina, where she enrolls in the Davenport School of Beauty. Zora's journey of self-discovery will provide her a chance to grow, make friends, embark on a career in hair styling, find love, learn life lessons, and gain the courage to let go of her past.

I am a huge fan of Southern Women's Fiction, and in The Wisdom of Hair, author Kim Boykin weaves a thoroughly enjoyable tale that fulfilled my expectations.

Written in the first person narrative, Zora Adams takes the reader along for the ride on her journey of self-discovery. When the reader first meets Zora, she is a shy young woman who is wiser than her years because she is the enabling caretaker of an alcoholic mother. Suffocating in her role, Zora strikes out on her own in search of making a better life for herself. Her journey takes her to a coastal town in South Carolina where she enrolls in the Davenport School of Beauty. Zora grows as she makes new friends who will ultimately change her life: Mrs. Cathcart, owner of the beauty school; outgoing classmate Sara Jane Farquhar, whose close friendship provides Zora with a family that she desperately craves; and a romantic relationship with Winston Sawyer, a young widower who is drowning his grief in alcohol. Each of these people will help redefine, shape, and change Zora's life in a profound way.

This beautifully written and captivating story engages the reader to follow along as Zora's journey of self-discovery leads her on a path of experiencing life at its fullest, while embracing life's challenges and lessons, and having the courage to let go of her past as she forges a life of her own. This story has shades of Steel Magnolias running through it, as it gives the reader a warm and fuzzy feeling as they follow Zora, Sara Jane and Winston's stories. I loved that the author chose the 1980s time period for this story, it embodied all the fun that made up that decade. I also love the hair salon setting, it brought to mind many fond memories of spending time in my family's salons in both NJ and NC.

With a quirky cast of characters; witty dialogue and interactions; a richly descriptive setting; and a storyline that delves into the complications of family, friendships, love and life; The Wisdom of Hair is an entertaining tale of hair styling and self-discovery that simply made me smile.



  1. Thanks for being a part of the tour!

    1. Hi Samantha! Thank you for the opportunity to host the virtual book tour event. :)