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God Loves Hair

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  409 ratings  ·  60 reviews
"A touching poetic exploration of budding sexuality, the mysticism of religion, and family dynamics. Shraya's text and Neufeld's illustrations capture the confusion, innocence, and de3lusions of adolescence bang on."?Brian Francis, author of Fruit

I am often mistaken for a girl. Not just because I like to wear dresses or makeup. I don't mind. My parents are from India and h
Paperback, 92 pages
Published September 9th 2014 by Arsenal Pulp Press (first published May 2010)
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4.01  · 
Rating details
 ·  409 ratings  ·  60 reviews

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Jenni Frencham
Shraya, Vivek. God Loves Hair. Arsenal Pulp Press. 2014. $18.95. 110p. SC 9781551525433.

God Loves Hair is a compilation of short stories where the author explores what it’s like to come of age in Hindu family in Canada. The stories range in length from one paragraph to a few pages, and each is accompanied by a full-color illustration. Shraya covers the gamut of topics, from gender and sexuality to politics and bullying.

Told from a first-person perspective as a series of memory snapshots, these
Mar 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In this poignantly idiosyncratic book of short stories, a Canadian kid of South Asian origin negotiates his relationships with god, his body, his sexuality, and the world around him. The stories are funny, a little sad, often surprising, and accompanied by gorgeous illustrations. The author articulates the young narrator's voice with both clarity and tenderness. My own childhood shares some similarities with that of the protagonist, and I recalled with a startling immediacy the fear and confusio ...more
Everything Vivek Shraya does is amazing. Such beautiful prose--she writes in such a frank and honest way about race and gender and everything.
Lin Lin
The author knows so well the anxiety and worry teenage boys from India go through as they come of age in the United States. Their identity at school, their struggle with the invisible forces to "fit in" or "blend in", and their sense of maturity become the issues every young person can relate to.
Sep 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely gorgeous
After reading this and She of the Mountains, I think I have a new auto-read author.
God Loves Hair is a beautiful little collection of stories. The way these stories tie together and form a picture of life in Canada for someone who is both LGBTQ+ and brown. I hope that Shraya's work comes to find greater recognition because we all need to read more stories like this.

I would definitely recommend this. This isn't my first time reading Shraya and it won't be my last--I already have two of her other books on hold with the library.
May 03, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Collection of stories, usually about three pages long. Roughly in chronological order in the life of the main character, but not entirely. Focuses on being brown, being religious, and navigating gender (and how all those things relate), but the book is also a story of growing up more broadly.
This collection of short stories is more like a poem, weaving filaments together with a light touch, no matter the gravity.
Dec 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved the pairings with the illustrations here and can definitely see the beginnings of She of the Mountains. Strong, beautiful, and relatable.
Vivek Shraya always wows me with her sensitive explorations of identity, sexuality, belonging, race, Hinduism.
Mar 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful art, atypical format, poignant short stories - well worth a read.
Abby Franks
Mar 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, books-read-2017, lgbt
Intriguing, heartfelt, and heartbreaking.
Anne Holly
Certainly readable, but rather underwhelming. The fragments are personal and sometimes compelling, especially since some of the vignettes call me back to my own childhood (by the sounds of things, we lived around the same times), and the religiosity is both sweet and heart breaking.

However, if you are looking for some sort of frame or conclusion, this isn't the piece for you, and I found myself bothered, for some reason, that the illustrations were not done by the writer - I'm not sure, but the
Challa Fletcher
This is a great insight into a different nationality and culture; their expectation and values. I was hoeber confused by the movement of the story. At first it seemed we were growing up with the main character. but then we seemed to go back to a younger age and then back again. For it to be such a short book I was shock how I lost track.
I loved how certain things were implied. They didn't have to be said directly but you still knew. Showing somethings are the same regardless of culture and fami
Dec 12, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Vivek Shraya is adept and skilled at using short poetic passages to convey the many feelings entangled in adolescence. I especially loved this volume's detailed descriptions of being a youth learning about things for the first time, tune in for an especially beautiful way of dealing with depression and suicide. Shraya's words are paired with beautiful drawings from illustrator Juliana Neufeld, creating a richer story about youth and growing up. I enjoyed Shraya's She of the Mountains more than t ...more
A series of short stories and illustrations describe coming of age in a Hindu family in Canada. The stories explore themes surrounding gender identity, sexuality, race, religion and appearance. As Vivek struggles to figure out exactly who he is and where he belongs, he contends with family expectations and school bullying. The perspective provided by Vivek's stories is unique, honest, and compelling. I wish there had been more stories and that they had been linked in a more obvious way, though. ...more
Oct 12, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a weird little book, but it's pretty impossible not to like it. These 20 short stories each begin with a striking illustration done in a really cool and colorful style. The stories themselves are all very short--usually just a few pages--and they're clearly autobiographical, despite being labeled as fictional. They begin at birth and follow the main character through young adulthood as s/he tries to figure out how to fit in as the Hindi son of immigrants in Canada and grapples with issue ...more
Sep 01, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
God Loves Hair was originally self published by musician Vivek Shraya. Now Vancouver's Arsenal Pulp Press is releasing this collection of beautifully illustrated stories that detail the life of an Indo-Canadian child who is navigating the immigrant experience, parental expectations, puberty and sexuality. God Loves Hair will resonate with any reader who has felt that they don't quite fit in to the world in a way that is expected. Painful, tender and visually arresting, this is a book that like i ...more
C.E. G
Great little vignettes on growing up queer, genderqueer, Indian, and Hindu. The illustrations at the beginning of each chapter were beautiful. I think the format would be a tough sell to the target audience (teens), but I can see some adults really loving this. The tone felt a little too emotionally detached for me at times, but that's just personal preference.
I liked the writing so I'll definitely give She of the Mountains a read. This book can be read by teens and adults alike, maybe even younger if you're ready for some dark themes being lightly touched upon.
Jul 06, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Honest, yet humorous. Growing up is hard, and Shraya tells how his teen years were especially hard because he didn't quite understand himself or fit in. This book is a helpful reminder to adults that teens need people to listen to them and not to trivialize their experiences. Also, the artwork was fantastic!
Sarah Rosenberger
Collection of short stories about growing up Indian, Hindu, and queer in Canada during the '90s. A quick read with great artwork, but the Jodeci and Bugle Boy references might make it tough sell for today's teens.
A mix of short stories about a young boy from India living in Canada dealing with his family, friends and Hindu culture all while navigating his sexuality and growing up. Minus one star for the awkward shape and design of the book.
May 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not quite sure what to say about this book. Sensitive stories about sexuality, race, religion, immigrant experience, bullying, are heartbreaking at times and very real. An important book for older YA who struggle with LGBTQ issues, or any of the issues which the author touches.
Jenni Cavallero
Shraya's honesty and raw discourse in this book it both endearing and heart wrenching as he describes his life growing up and some of the hardships he goes through being not only outcasted from society, but trying to find his place within his family and himself as well.
Sheila Heuvel-Collins
This book appealled to me from every angle: religion, gender, family, coming-of-age. The fact that it's short fiction made it more appealling, and the illustrations were the cherry on top of the icing on the cake. I've used it with several of my high-school students, and they've all loved it.
I wanted to enjoy this collection of vignettes more, but the disjointed nature kept me at arm's length. Perhaps intentionally, since many of the stories have to do with the narrator's own alienation, but the whole thing just felt kind of flat.
Sep 15, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a quick read. I liked the style and was interested in the main character, but the book feels as if it was never completed. It was the start of a great idea and then just published as that rather than a complete piece.
Jul 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories, 2018
one of the most common reading experiences i have as an adult is the desire to travel back in time and give a book to adolescent!me to read. a sort of personal required reading list that never was, let's say. this book has just been added to that list
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Vivek Shraya is an artist whose body of work crosses the boundaries of music, poetry, fiction, visual art, and film. A Publishing Triangle Award winner, her books include I'm Afraid of Men, even this page is white, The Boy & The Bindi, and She of the Mountains. Shraya is one half of music duo Too Attached and founder of publishing imprint VS. Books. She teaches creative writing at the Univer ...more
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