41. 32 Candles

Davidia Jones’s voice takes us through her difficult life living with her mean and brutal mother in a small town called Glass, Mississippi.  She is a constant victim of bullying through middle school and high school, but still manages to fall head over heels in love with a gorgeous football player, who is new at school.  This unrequited love, along with her favorite Molly Ringwald films are the things that lull her through those harsh moments at school, until an insensitive prank drives Davidia to Hollywood where her life takes more dips and dives than even she could imagine.

32 Candles was an excellent five-star surprise for me!  I wasn’t sure what to expect but it has everything going for it.  The fact that it has a bit of the 80s culture, hence 16 Candles, The Breakfast Club, and company is an A plus.  It’s refreshing to read a book that has eighties culture for a change and yes it’s my generation.  I graduated from high school in 1984 and I could hear the Thompson Twins banging in the background.  This story will lift your spirits and definitely drive you to look for the silver lining in every black cloud.

Ernessa T. Carter has given Davidia a warm, fluid, sensitive, real voice that we follow on bated breath.  It’s a little hard to put down once you get into it.  Honestly, the first twenty to thirty pages may seem slow, but you will soon begin to get wound up in Davidia’s life and care about her.  She’s vulnerable, sensitive, intelligent, and talented.  32 Candles has been highly acclaimed by critics, “Carter winds up this disarmingly moving tale with not one but many surprises, in which both Davie and you will win.”——Essence and “First there was Stella and she got her groove back, then there was Bridget Jones and she managed to find her love despite her own lovable neuroses.  Now there is Davie Jones.  32 Candles, at last, is the answer to the question ‘What should I read next?'”—–Erica KENNEDY, author of Feminista and Bling

Ernessa T. Carter is a graduate from Smith College and Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania with a Masters in Fine Arts.  She has worked as a radio journalist, a music teacher, and as an ESL teacher in Japan.  Not to mention she is a retired L.A. Derby Doll (roller derby).  32 Candles is her first novel, but Carter co-wrote a natural hair book with Nikki Walton (founder of the exceedingly popular natural hair site www.curlynikki.com ) called Better Than Good Hair:  The Curly Girl Guide to Healthy, Gorgeous Natural Hair.  Carter blogs and is the editor in chief of  fierceandnerdy.com .  She has just finished rewriting her second novel and non-fiction novel, so we’ll have to keep a look out for their release dates.  Hope one of the two or both will be coming out soon.  She is also expecting twin girls.  She wrote a very emotional, positive post about fertility treatment and getting pregnant.   Check it all out on fierceandnerdy.com!

A metaphor is like a simile.

                            ——–Author Unknown

2. The Science of Black Hair

Two years today I did a leap and big chopped* after transitioning* for four months to become natural.  I hadn’t seen my natural hair for more than 30 years.  I didn’t even know what my natural hair texture would be like.  The only thing I had to go on were many pictures of me with my long plaits hanging down on both sides, with hair ribbons and bows.  I’d completely forgotten everything about its texture and its length, but I did remember the discomfort of having my hair done, tender headed.  At the end of the summer in August 2009,  I was desperate for my scalp to stop itching after the last relaxer* that I had gotten on holiday in the States.  So I decided to only shampoo, condition, moisturize and air dry my hair during the transition period since my hair was very short anyway.  That went well until January 7, 2010 when I got fed up with scraggly ends which I was afraid would break, not to mention I was starting to look like a wet cat, and cut off all the relaxed ends.  I was left with 3cm of hair all over my head.  Somehow, I felt liberated and a lot of cold air on my scalp when I went out in the cold Normandy winter.  I regretted nothing.

Recently, natural hair has become more popular as an alternative to relaxing, weaves, and wigs. Although, black women who decide to big chop without having done research find their hair journey to be a trying and daunting task.  So, if there are any wannabee naturals, natural newbies, transitioners, loc wearers, or even relaxed hair wearers reading this post, I suggest you save yourselves the grief, the product junkie-ism, and wondering how to care for your hair.  Go out and get The Science of Black Hair!

This book is what we’ve all been waiting for.  It details everything from explanations on how hair grows, the structure of black hair, product analysis, regimens, children’s hair care, caring for relaxed hair, etc.  Everything is touched on in this book.  I read it in one week but my copy is full of highlights and dog-eared pages.  It’s the book you will refer to throughout your hair journey, whether you’re at the beginning or reached your hair goal.  There has been no other book like this written.

Basically, the book is about 250 pages and is separated into five major units:  1. The Science of Black Hair, 2.Healthy Hair Management, 3.  Working with Chemicals in a Healthy Hair Care Regiment, 4 Children’s Hair Care, and 5. The Hair-Total Body Connection.”  Under each of these units, there are various chapters that deal with the specificities of the unit, containing micrographic pictures (really cool!), graphs and information boxes.  There is a full in-depth index, a glossary, and product ingredient glossary in the back.  If you’re interested in doing more research on hair you can refer to Davis-Sivasthy’s references.  There you will find the references she used to write this informative book.  I also recommend buying the hardcover because it’s the kind of book you will refer to throughout your hair journey.

Today is my 2 year “nappy” anniversary and I’m proud to have made it from 3cm of hair length to the 21cm I have today.  I didn’t read this book until last week but it has confirmed the things I had to find out the long, hard way and enlightened me with new information, like the importance of a good balance between moisture and protein.  This is essential to healthy afro hair growth.  It’s also the most difficult to pinpoint because all afro hair is very different.  I feel as though after reading The Science of Black Hair that I’m getting even closer to perfecting this important combination.  Davis-Sivasothy has also added some Q and A street interviews, which add a certain authenticity to the book.  All in all an excellent, easy read and all for only $32.95 in hardback and $24,95 in paperback on Amazon.com

Look how far I’ve come.  After reading The Science of Black Hair I know I can go even further…….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For those of you looking for supplementary information about natural hair there  are many hair care forums and You Tube channels that can help you along your hair journey.  My favorite hair care forum is NaturalSunshine.com.  Some of my favorite You Tube hair channels are MsRosieVelt, tastiredbone, africanexport, louloumatou, Naptural85, ahsiek1118, TheNaprika, 160Days2Lose2, tonidaley80, whoissugar, beuniquehaircare, FusionofCultures, and BlackIzBeautyful to name a few, but there are so many more……Once you start watching you won’t want to stop!

*Big Chop – BC: to cut off all relaxed ends of the hair leaving a very short afro known as TWA(teeny weeny afro)

*transition – growing out a relaxer and just trimming the ends regularly until all the relaxer is gone.

*relaxer – chemical processing the hair using a lye product, sodium hydroxide, which is put on the roots of the hair about every 6-8 weeks to keep the appearance of straight hair.