YA author Margaret Peterson Haddix 's portrayal of a young woman defining herself by her appearance, specially her hair, was very poignant to me. It's a trait, we, women the world over, struggle with. We spend millions ever year to wash, condition, color, brush, pull up, pull back, highlight, straighten, curl, clip, cut, comb, tease, rat and . . . Have I forgotten any? Okay, okay, maybe a few! (Ha! Ha!)
My grandmother lost her hair during her treatment for lung cancer. It was almost like she lost herself. Grandma was vigilante to keep her head covered at all times.
One evening a former boyfriend and I popped in for an unexpected visit. As we were saying our good byes for the night, Grandma reached up and realized that she wasn't wearing her wig or one of her caps. The look of horror spread across her face followed by anguish.
"Why did you tell me?" Grandma demanded.
"It isn't important to me. I love YOU with or without hair." I replied.
We had a good healthy cry. Even twenty plus years later, I can remember the love, laughter and acceptance shared in those moments. Around the family, Grandma was able to be more confident and comfortable. I like to think I was a small part of that.
While this book doesn't deal with cancer, it does deal with loss in a realistic and yet positive way. Because of Anya is a great read for women of any age. It speaks to me as the mother of a teenage daughter trying to negotiate these unknown waters. I'm recommending the book to my daughter.
P.S. My daughter loved it, too!