Karen's Reviews > Going Gray: What I Learned about Beauty, Sex, Work, Motherhood, Authenticity, and Everything Else That Really Matters

Going Gray by Anne Kreamer
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Jan 10, 12

bookshelves: aging, feminism, memoir, nonfiction
Read in January, 2012

Kreamer writes an entire book about her decision at age 50 to stop coloring her hair and let it go gray. At times I wondered why this was a book-length work when an essay would probably cover most salient points. At times I wondered how I could read so much about appearances. However, when I allowed myself, I recognized that hair color does function as a strong signifier in society.

It's an annoying FACT that appearances to make a difference in our relationships with work, family, romance, friendships and personal identity. This makes me livid, but once I accept this as true, I am glad for Kreamer's meditations, interviews, statistics, analyses and neurotic ramblings about what the color of our hair means for adult women of all ages. She focuses more on mature women: i.e., 50+ but she also reviews the history of her hair styles and makes comments about women of all ages and even touches a bit on the significance of men's hair color.

[I did have to forgive her for name dropping, but it was also interesting to read what she learned from her affiliations with Nora Ephron, Emmylou Harris and others. Kreamer was educated at Harvard and worked for Nickelodeon. She may be off-putting because she is so clearly cut from the East coast, ivy league, high achieving, I get invited to very tony dinner parties, let's vacation in Europe, well-heeled set. But it's also enlightening that despite these advantages, she is a total wreck at times about her self-worth as conveyed by her hair. So that makes her relatable to all women.]

If you can steel yourself to think long and complexly about gray hair, you will find that Kreamer will offer clear pathways and thought-provoking prompts for your ruminations.
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