Pre-teenage Angst
Shefali Sewak
WHY IS MY HAIR CURLY? by Lakshmi Iyer Red Panda, 2020, 144 pp., 250.00
December 2020, volume 44, No 12

Given that the picture on the book cover of Why is My Hair Curly? is of a curly-haired girl in reverie holding a pen with a journal in her hand, coupled with the title, one might anticipate the book to be about a young girl’s travails of managing curly hair. One would be wrong.

The protagonist, Avantika, is a young girl who happens to have curly hair. The story kicks off with her and her younger brother, Avnish, getting on a Shatabdi train along with their parents to go back home to Chennai after a vacation at their paternal grand-parents’ home in Coimbatore. Avantika is relieved to be getting away from her cousins who spent the holiday teasing her and calling her names like ‘Medusa’.

While on the train, Avantika runs into a young girl named Vibha. The two girls have a fleeting conversation, in the course of which Vibha compliments Avantika on her beautiful curly hair. Being the first time that anyone has said anything nice about her hair, Avantika is taken aback and unsure of how to respond, but the compliment stays with her.

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