By Ana Martinez-Ortiz
As innocuous as hair seems, there’s no denying it plays a role in a person’s identity. Hair is a defining physical feature, and it can reveal a lot about a person – if they’re sick, if they’re healthy, if they’re rich, if they’re poor and so on.
In this society, we’ve come to associate hair with success and in some ways, assimilation. But what if we viewed hair as nothing more than something that grows out of the top of our head – what would happen then. What if we worked toward seeing someone beyond their physical attributes and instead focused on the content of their character? What would happen then?
“The Wonder Wig” by Dr. Shon Lewis follows the hair journey of Brooke Bell, a young girl whose life changes after receiving a special wig from her aunt.
The story begins when Brooke “borrows” one of her mother’s wig to impress a boy at school. What starts out as a simple plan, quickly spirals out of control when Brooke has an embarrassing moment involving the wig during school. And that’s just chapter one.
Throughout the book, Brooke discovers that she’s not alone in her hair insecurity and that everyone has struggles of their own from alopecia to hair relaxer and everything in between. While the book takes on fantastical elements, it remains rooted in a reality that people around the globe know too well.
In the end, Bell learns that hair doesn’t equate to beauty and that self-empowerment comes from within.
Overall, “The Wonder Wig” is a simple yet entertaining read. It takes a complicated topic and makes it understandable and relatable. The main message however is illustrated in the first chapter by Brooke’s beloved Granny Lu.
“You have to be happy with how God made you first, and you’re already beautiful, whether you have short hair or long hair, wig or no wig…You remember to always love who you are first, before you expect anyone else to like and love you…Don’t let your hair define who you are.” (“The Wonder Wig”, Pg. 12).