Verdict: CROWNING GLORY is a refreshingly unique memoir celebrating beauty and sensuality as being much more than skin deep; and it is a love story where the heroine falls in love for the first time with the person she is on the inside.
A spunky twenty-something New Yorker, transplanted from Chicago, has her curiosity piqued by the male attention she receives while wearing a red wig she bought on eBay on a whim. Intrigued, she launches a full scale, carefully plotted experiment to observe the type of reaction she gets while wearing a red, raven-black, brown and blond wig in turn, with surprising results.
Stacy has a history of being treated for manic episodes and is bored with a physically lukewarm boyfriend, both of which cause her to doubt her desirability where men are concerned. She begins her great wig experiment with a fair amount of trepidation and uncertainty about her attractiveness, but at the same time is fascinated by how much attention her long, sexy locks seem to draw. As she dutifully completes a week’s worth of social observations wearing each of her four wigs with her assistant Bonnie by her side, Stacy learns a great deal about her own sexuality, what men want from her and what she wants from a relationship. Stacy discovers an unexpected ally and confident in Bonnie, who in many ways helps Stacy heal from some of the past traumas in her life. Throughout her experiment and interactions with new men in her enlivened dating life, Stacy continually searches for the answer to whether the attraction she experiences from men is to her hair, or to her.
CROWNING GLORY is an engaging, fast-paced, unique memoir chronicling an experiment in beauty. Reminiscent of the saucy charm of Sex and the City, CROWNING GLORY unfolds from the perspective of Stacy’s outings in New York City amidst Wall Street lunches and a hopping night life, all while wearing different wigs. While the story primarily follows her experiment, going so far as to provide data on the glances, looks, and notice she receives wearing different wigs and outfits, there are two additional story threads telling the story of her past experiences struggling with bipolar disorder and sorting through her feelings attached to her current relationship with a man who has supported her as a friend and lover throughout much of her adult life.
All angles of this story are interwoven beautifully, and threaded together with a lively mixture of dialogue, balanced descriptions of New York’s social setting, and salty prose and internal musings which are, in many spots, hilarious and witty. The data provided on the experiment grows tiresome in some areas when a breakdown of numerical observations becomes suggestive of a scientific academic article and less a fun memoir, but these are easy areas to skirt past in pursuit of the next installment in the story and the full-color photos, which contribute to the memoir’s lively, fun feel.
CROWNING GLORY is a refreshingly unique memoir celebrating beauty and sensuality as being much more than skin deep; and it is a love story where the heroine falls in love for the first time with the person she is on the inside.