"Cutting Away to What is Really Important in Life"
Reviewed by Susan Dyer
Posted June 22, 2013
Contemporary Chick Lit | Women's Fiction
THE WISDOM OF HAIR by Kim Boykin is the story of Zora Adams. She is
from a small town in the mountains of South Carolina. It is just her and her
mom as her Dad passed away when she was a little girl. Her Mom has
gone off the deep end since Zora's Daddy died. She dresses like Judy
Garland and brings home all kinds of men. In 1983 when Zora is 19 she
finally leaves all that behind and goes to a coastal town called Davenport to
go to the Davenport Beauty School. There she meets Mrs. Cathcart and
also a girl who will become her very best friend, Sara Jane.
Her old teacher from high school is the one who takes Zora off the
mountain. Mrs Cunningham tells her about her friend, Winston Sawyer,
who needs a tenant and in exchange for rent, all she had to do was cook
dinner for him. Zora is instantly taken with Winston but he is too drunk to
ever notice her. He has just become a widower and it seems he is
drowning his grief and sorrow in a bottle of scotch. Zora often spies on
Winston when he is leading for work and coming home. She has all kinds
of fantasies about the two of them together.
Sara Jane is the perfect stylist but can't pass any of the written tests. Zora
agrees to help her and the two become best friends along the way. Sara
Jane's family kind of adopts Zora as their second daughter and Zora has
never felt such love from her own family as she does from them. Sara
Jane falls in love with Jimmy, a yard boy who Winston has hired to clean up
the place, and her life will never be the same. First she has to get her
daddy to accept him. He is set in his ways and has a problem with his
baby girl seeing a yard boy who happens to be Mexican.
Zora is still pining away for Winston who doesn't seem to notice her at all.
One day she decides to bring him his dinner instead of leaving it on the
picnic table like she usually does. She takes her time getting ready and
just abut knocks his socks off when he pulls up and sees her sitting there.
Finally, he talks to her. She is so in love with him already, him not so
much. They begin a relationship if you could call it that. He starts
spending time in her apartment above the garage and she says it's like
almost being married. They eat together and spend time in her bed but
that is all. When Zora questions why they never do anything else, he tells
her that's all he can give her right now. Is he still grieving his wife? Is he
not in love with Zora? Why doesn't he ever take her any where? You will
have to read THE WISDOM OF HAIR to find out.
I fell in love with all the characters in this book. The crazy ones at the
Davenport Beauty School and well as Sara Jane and her parents. I wanted
Zora to get away from Winston. She deserved better and didn't want to
end up like her Momma. I could not it this book down and had to hurry and
finish to find out what happened to Zora. I love the friendship that Zora and
Sara Jane shared.
In 1983, on her nineteenth birthday, Zora Adams finally says
goodbye to her alcoholic mother and their tiny town in the
mountains of South Carolina. Living with a woman who dresses
like Judy Garland and brings home a different man each night
is not a pretty existence, and Zora is ready for life to be
With the help of a beloved teacher, she moves to a coastal
town and enrolls in the Davenport School of Beauty. Under
the tutelage of Mrs. Cathcart, she learns the art of fixing
hair, and becomes fast friends with the lively Sara Jane
Farquhar, a natural hair stylist. She also falls hard for
handsome young widower Winston Sawyer, who is drowning his
grief in bourbon. She couldn’t save Mama, but maybe she can
As Zora practices finger waves, updos, and spit curls, she
also comes to learn that few things are permanent in this
life—except real love, lasting friendship, and, ultimately…
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