It was John Lennon who once sang that, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans”. This quote is especially relevant to children’s illustrator, artist and businesswoman, Bambi Smyth. Just a few days before Christmas in 2010 she went to a specialist where they discovered she had a large brain tumour. This was just one of a series of catastrophic events that would follow over the course of one turbulent year.

Bad Hair Year is a memoir that focuses on this chapter in Smyth’s life as she deals with multiple illnesses. It is set out like a diary and often has daily entries written in the first person. This means the text feels very intimate, personal and honest. At times it actually feels like you are seated next to Smyth on this emotional roller-coaster, especially when she is diagnosed with breast cancer less than a year after her original diagnosis.

This book has a rather flippant title but it does offer up a lot of food for thought with respect to philosophy and the things that people should appreciate in life. Smyth goes into detail about the changes she made to her lifestyle with things like: exercising more, changing her diet, engaging in alternative therapies like meditation, visualisation techniques, positive thinking and hypnotherapy. These things may not work for everyone and for some readers it might get a little frustrating to read about such stuff in so much detail, but hopefully for every one of those there is another reader who is experiencing something similar to Smyth and who takes great comfort in reading about her journey and making the same adjustments.

Bad Hair Year is one brave tale from a colourful lady placed in a grave situation. It’s a book that could have been dreary and sorrowful but instead wants to celebrate life and tackle things head on. In all, Bad Hair Year is an important story because it is hopeful and candid, meaning it should resonate with people who are facing similar issues.


***Please note: a free copy of this book was given to the writer through a The Reading Room giveaway. To read the original review on that website please visit:


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