I loved this book. Along with an amazing amount of research, Kreamer draws on her personal experience with the subject matter to present this book. She lays out and examines her own decision to go gray and the reactions she receives. From working with her stylist for the transformation to restyling her wardrobe for her new "colours", Kreamer shares her personal struggles and triumphs. She also spends a fair amount of time examining how others perceive gray haired individuals (through online dating websites, attractiveness surveys, job hunting experiments) and the challenges they face. Some of the results were surprising, even to the author. In addition, Kreamer also looks at gray hair in the entertainment, political and other public arenas. While most of the book focuses on women, the author briefly touches on men and their issues with their own gray hair.
I really haven't given much thought to my gray hair. I started going gray in my late twenties and used those semi-permanent colours for awhile. I gave up on that after a few years and have been going "au natural" ever since. It was never a struggle for me. I have gray hair. At my age (45), I should have gray hair. I've earned every one of them. Even if I dyed it, it would still be there; just disguised. Kreamer showed me how and why it could be hard for others. I was so surprised that there are support groups and websites for those people deciding to stop colouring their hair and to let it go gray. I had no idea. I also had no idea how passionate women are on this subject, from both sides of the "battle". Kreamer brings all of that to light.
Both of the following quotes sum up my thoughts on gray hair quite nicely. The first one (page 42 and 43) is from Daniel Gilbert, author of "Stumbling on Happiness. What he says about bald men can be applied to women and gray hair. The second (page 157) is from Anne's husband, Kurt Andersen:
As bald men with cheap hairpieces always seem to forget acting as though you have something and actually having it are not the same thing, and anyone who looks closely can tell the difference.
To me, coloring gray hair is like painting over the brick or stone or cedar shingles on a nice old house--it's not necessarily awful, but part of the beautiful essence of the real thing is how it looks as it ages. It's why we love old cities like Paris and Rome.
Highly recommended for those who dye and those who don't; for those who've embraced their gray hair and those who fear it; for those who are not afraid to show their authentic self and those who are still undercover. Know that where ever you stand on the issue, you are not alone.
For more information about this book, visit Anne Kreamer's website.