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God Loves Hair

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4.03  ·  Rating details ·  638 ratings  ·  91 reviews
God Loves Hair is a collection of 20 short stories following a tender, intellectual, and curious child as he navigates complex realms of sexuality, gender, racial politics, religion, and belonging.

Told with the poignant insight and honesty that only the voice of a young mind can convey, each story is accompanied by a vivid illustration by Toronto artist Juliana Neufeld.
Paperback, 99 pages
Published May 2010 by Vivek Shraya
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Average rating 4.03  · 
Rating details
 ·  638 ratings  ·  91 reviews


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Jessica | JustReadingJess
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
...more
RoshReviews
Mar 14, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: anthology, 4-stars
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
Jun 10, 2019 rated it liked it
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
Aug 21, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir, adult, lgbtqia-lit
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
...more
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
...more
Saleha
Mar 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Ayushi Pandey (_theliteraryartisan)
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
Kel
Sep 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Neha
Aug 13, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
zola
Mar 29, 2021 rated it did not like it
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.
...more
Tiffanie
Dec 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
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
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
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
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
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
Shelves: lgbtqia, poc-author
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
...more
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
Brit
Nov 29, 2021 rated it it was amazing
A sweet, heart tugging, hilarious memoir. The first time I read it all in one sitting and I often go back to read my favourites.
Anne Logan
Dec 09, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’ve raved about Calgary author and artist Vivek Shraya on this blog before, so when given the chance to review the 10th anniversary edition of her first book God Loves Hair (previously self-published) I was excited to dive in and witness the evolution of her writing. Now that she’s a famous Canadian, it made sense to re-release this book with new illustrations and a lovely foreword by equally-famous Canadian author Cherie Dimaline. This book is technically written for a young adult audience, an ...more
Zoe
Oct 15, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: queer
Honestly, I think Vivek Shraya is an artistic goddess and I would honestly read her shopping list, or listen to her playing ukulele under the shower, or other ridiculous things.
This little book nwas especially lovely, with georgeous illustrations and hard hitting but untimatley sweet little stories about gwoing up queer and brown.
<3
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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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