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God Loves Hair

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4.02  ·  Rating details ·  699 ratings  ·  98 reviews
In 2010, Vivek Shraya self-published God Loves Hair, her first book; in the ten years since, Vivek has published six more titles including a novel, poetry collection, graphic novel, and children's picture book, while also working as an artist, musician, and academic.

God Loves Hair is a collection of short stories that follows a tender, intelligent, and curious child as the
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Hardcover, 10th Anniversary Edition, 128 pages
Published September 15th 2020 by Arsenal Pulp Press (first published May 1st 2010)
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Average rating 4.02  · 
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Jessica | JustReadingJess
Nov 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
God Loves Hair by Vivek Shraya is a very impactful collection of short stories.

God Loves Hair follows an Indian boy navigating through growing up and standing out. He has to deal with gender, race, and religion.

I highly recommend God Loves Hair. This book teaches you so much in a short book. Shraya discusses many important topics some of which are not frequently discussed.

I listened to the audiobook narrated by Vivek Shraya and she did a great job narrating. Having the author narrate this book r
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CaseyTheCanadianLesbrarian
It's hard to believe these are Vivek Shraya's first stories! Sweet and funny and sad, they're about her youth and growing up, with topics like plucking eyebrows, being bullied at school, a 'love affair' with God, and more. They often end at exactly the right time, just leaving you wanting more but also with a feeling that the story ended just when it should have. What impeccable timing! ...more
Rosh
Mar 14, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 4-stars, anthology
An interesting collection of stories, as colourful and unique as the author herself. Vivek Shraya is a popular musician, writer and visual artist. Born to Indian parents settled in Canada, Shraya came out as transgender in 2016, at the age of 35 and chose she/her as her preferred pronouns. She uses her childhood memories to create short stories for this book. The stories span a variety of personal experiences, and show a child struggling to come into “his” own in the confusing world around. This ...more
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
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
Kanwarpal Singh
Apr 20, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
God Loves Hair is a collection of 20 short stories following a tender, intellectual, and curious Indian child as he navigates his way in Toronto , Canada in the complex realms of sexuality (being LGBTQ himself), gender (indian parents radical views about being with girl and getting them pregnant), racial politics (being treated unworthy), religion (knowing his truth and accepting it through a photo of Shiv parvati where the god is himself half man, half women, and belonging of the country, to a ...more
Sidharthan
Apr 28, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a set of autobiographical anecdotes from Vivek Shraya. Each begin with a beautiful illustration from Juliana Neufeld. They are all very vivid and textural and give an idea about what we're about to read.

The text itself is almost poetic. I loved how it was broken down from page to page, to give us a pause between them. This would have worked much better in an actual book format. I could still perceive it in the ebook I read though! Vivek Shraya covers a gamut of topics - from the ep
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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
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lauraღ
Sometimes, there is a fire in me, and when it comes out, it's never as pretty. Maybe it's the blue that keeps you cool. If only I were blue.

3.5 stars. Quick collection of short stories following a young boy; ruminations on religion, gender identify and roles, queerness and race, and how he tackles these from his own perspective. A lot of the fresh insightful writing that I noted in the other book I read from Shraya, and skilfully narrated. I loved her thoughts in the preface about art/writi
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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
decklededgess
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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queerpoetssociety_
If you feel guilty about reading only short books and not trying out longer books (more than 400-500 pages) because you find them intimidating, let this be your sign that that doesn't make you any less of a reader. This book is a testament to that. It's barely an hour long but reading it (I'd suggest listening to it if you are able to do so), will teach you so much about society and its stigmatised attitudes towards the trans community and gender-defying patterns, but it will also provide so muc ...more
P.
Apr 20, 2022 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The traditions we take for granted in India assume a special significance for those in the diaspora. In God Loves Hair, a queer kid of Indian origin in Canada being bullied for his gender nonconforming nature seeks solace in religious traditions. A perfectly okay short read in which I liked the queer interpretation of Krishna.
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.
Charlotte Jones
This is an autobiographical set of short stories or vignettes from Vivek’s life growing up questioning their sexuality and gender from a young age.

The introduction to the tenth anniversary edition by Cherie Dimaline was the perfect start to the book. I listened to this one on audiobook narrated by Vivek herself and though I liked the book, I would definitely have benefited from experiencing the illustrations alongside.

Vivek talks about everything from gender and the cultural expectations that co
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Neha
Aug 13, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I found Vivek’s voice throughout this book to be so genuine and tender in certain sections. The stories she tells are so telling of some many things I experienced my own versions of, growing up as the only brown/Indian person in school. The frankness about her sexuality/gender and longing to belong could really make a difference to any young person struggling with the very same issues. Julia Neufeld’s illustrations very much complimented the story as well.
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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zola
Mar 29, 2021 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: trash
i feel harsh but this was awful.. it felt so self-indulgent and pseduo-deep.. I thought it was gunna be a childrens book about hair but no its creative non fiction about a child's sexuality 🤮 NO, I absolutely DO NOT WAnt to read about u masturbating at 4 years old??? this is hardly about "a brown genderqueer kid growing up in an immigrant family" it is clearly the authors childhood, A little "boy"'s relationship to sex growing up. The pictures are really great tho, the only part of the book i li ...more
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
Howard
Apr 04, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really beautiful! I had thought that these would be separate short stories but they all follow one narrative. I loved the illustrations throughout as chapter headers, they really added to the experience of the story. Unfortunately I read this right after a fight with my boss so I was a bit distracted and couldn't give this my full attention but I still really liked it. ...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.
Marina
Disclosure, I am a big fan of Vivek Shraya and she can pretty much do no wrong in my eyes, so take that as you will.
I thought these stories were poignant while maintaining a really beautiful simplicity that just seems to come naturally to Vivek. Short and sweet and 🥰
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.
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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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