Wash Day Diaries by Jamila Rowser & Robyn Smith

From writer Jamila Rowser and artist Robyn Smith comes Wash Day Diaries. This graphic novel follows Kim, Nisha, Davene, and Cookie, four friends in the throes of their twenties, complete with group chat drama, toxic exes, and dance parties. 

The four narratives are woven together, independent until the novel’s finale. Each character’s storyline has a different color palette and drawing style, conveying a distinct sense of mood and establishing the characters’ different personalities. 

The otherwise light-hearted and ordinary narratives profoundly rest on the ritual of Black women’s hair care. We see each of the main characters wash, comb, and style their hair, delicately depicting the intimacy that accompanies braiding one’s own hair and the hair of loved ones. 

So much of Wash Day Diaries is playful, both in its story and illustrations. Still, there is a tenderness to each woman’s story that undercuts its light-heartedness. Our main characters struggle with depression, self-esteem, relationships; their trials and tribulations are distinctly their own, but there’s an undeniable sense of comradery amongst the group of women that is easily enviable. 

Rowser and Smith’s graphic novel is whimsical, gorgeously crafted, and toe-curlingly sweet. A love letter to Black women and sisterhood, Wash Day Diaries deserves as much adoration as it gives the women on its pages.

 

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