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God Loves Hair

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4.03  ·  Rating details ·  528 ratings  ·  73 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
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Paperback, 92 pages
Published September 9th 2014 by Arsenal Pulp Press (first published May 1st 2010)
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Average rating 4.03  · 
Rating details
 ·  528 ratings  ·  73 reviews


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Udai
Tiny glimpses on the writers life. It was written in a very simple language but the stories had a deeper meaning to them. I loved the art that accompanied the writings.
Kathy
Nov 12, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thanks to Netgalley for the opportunity to read this book. I loved this book, full of stories of Vivek's ideas snd experiences while growing up. It was thoroughly interesting and entertaining following her journey of self-discovery. ...more
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
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Saleha
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
Saniya
Trigger warnings: body dysmorphia, homophobia and bullying, sexual assault, depression, suicide mention, loss of parent, racism


I’m unsure exactly how biographical this is but it’s a first person narrative of Vivek’s life starting with her mom’s immigration to Canada (?) and ending somewhere in the late teens.

So many of the struggles she has as a brown kid in a white country are similar to what I’ve experienced, the family shame when it comes to talking about bodies and sex and so on are dead o
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Kel
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. ...more
Michelle
This is more a 2.3 or very weak 3. It's slices of life of a Hindu youth in Canada as he makes sense of his queer identity in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

The short stories have an illustration of the topic and title that precede them. The writing is beautiful in what images the author chooses to highlight in so few words. It just feels a bit repetitive sometimes but it might be because it doesn't go into depth. Religion, sex, and puberty are the main topic, but how religion and these topic in
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Elizabeth
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.
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Tiffanie
Dec 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of my favourite reads of 2020. I had a chance to learn from Vivek during my online University class and I think she has a brilliant mind and is very inspiring. I loved this collection of short stories and how it touched on gender and sexuality and how this affects children growing up. I could see myself reflected in a few of the stories despite them being influenced by another culture. I'm excited to read more from her ! ...more
Lily
May 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
A very well-done graphic fiction about a young trans person's childhood experiences of gender dysphoria connected to the traditional Indian role of hair. Skillful and compassionate, detailing experiences of gender and sexuality pre-transition and what that looks like in a Indian-Canadian family that is fairly traditional. ...more
Jessie
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.
Nuha
Jan 12, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of Shraya's stronger works, God Loves Hair details a queer Indian male's journey through adolescence and finding inner peace in his own religion. It is sweet, poignant and delicate work, with the naive heartfelt angst of the teenage years on blast. ...more
Alicia
Sep 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
God Loves Hair is a poignant, poetic, and completely unique mini memoir. Vivek Shraya navigates the topics of gender, sexuality, and race so fluidly.

Trigger warnings: homophobia, references to colorism, reference to sexual assault
Leah Horton
Nov 20, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was such a great memoir. It was simple yet so beautiful. This complicated and often naive journey with focusing on hair is such a unique view into the discovery and confusion of gender and sexuality.
Racheal
Vivek Shraya always wows me with her sensitive explorations of identity, sexuality, belonging, race, Hinduism.
Nicole
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.
Liaken
This collection of short stories is more like a poem, weaving filaments together with a light touch, no matter the gravity.
Miss Susan
Jul 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poc-author, lgbtqia
i'd incorrectly assumed this was a picture book but liked what it turned out to be (a collection of illustrated vignettes about a queer brown religious child growing up) much better

4 stars
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Love
Jul 12, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
It's been awesome to see Vivek transform as an author. This book is very short prose on growing up. Touches on religion, fitting in, gender, and bullying. ...more
Jane
Mar 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful art, atypical format, poignant short stories - well worth a read.
Luca Tanaka
Rep: own-voices LGBTQIA(Trans), Hindu, Indian-Canadian

An illustrated memoir of collected vignettes about mysteries ranging from sexuality to hair to the dwelling place of God told from the innocent and curious perspective of an Indian Canadian genderqueer child.

Objects and feelings encountered:
-joy in imagining
-transformative magic of colors and wardrobe
-a belonging found in prayer
-snowfall, an image of depression
-jeans that possess comfort, tainted
-identities unclaimed and embraced
-a mother's
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Abby Franks
Mar 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-read-2017, ya, 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
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Will
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
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
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Barbara
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
Annie
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
Ellen Friedrichs
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 ...more
Bella
Aug 07, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lambda-books
This book tackles some big issues with grace, the drawings are lovely, and the characters feel very fleshed out. There’s a lot of ambiguity in the story, and it doesn’t come to a particularly satisfying conclusion. In fact, it doesn’t really feel like one story, but instead a series of moments held together. Which is fine, but it’s an interesting book between a children’s book and a young adult book, which makes it a little hard to get into. And I wish the end had been expanded on a little more. ...more
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Vivek Shraya is an artist whose body of work crosses the boundaries of music, literature, visual art, theatre, and film. She is the author of The Subtweet, Death Threat, even this page is white, The Boy & The Bindi, She of the Mountains, and God Loves Hair; and her best-selling I’m Afraid of Men was her­ald­ed by Vanity Fair as “cultural rocket fuel”. She is one half of the music duo Too Attac ...more

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