Title – The Girl With The Green Tinted Hair
Author – Gavin Whyte
Genre – Fiction, Fantasy
A simplistic tale that revolves around the four seasons, but holds a lot more meaning than just changing weather. There are only two characters at any given point in the book – unnamed and referred to as “boy” and “girl”. The story begins in spring, with a lonely boy who finds solace in a tree that he visits frequently. “Just being heard made all the difference to him, because not a week went by when he didn’t pay the tree a visit.” On one such trip to meet his only “friend”, the boy hears a song being sung from a distance. Approaching his tree he notices the girl, with shoulder length green tinted hair, singing and dancing near the tree.
What are you celebrating?
What do you mean by “this”?
What can you see? What can you hear? What can you smell? What can you feel?
He looked at the long grass which covered the hill, the birds in the giant tree twittering, and the white fluffy clouds against the backdrop of the ocean.”
The girl teaches the boy to be more aware and observant of what is around him. They become good friends by the end of the day, and decide to meet under the tree often. On the first day of summer, when the boy reaches their meeting spot, he sees a grown up woman and wonders where his young friend went without telling him. The boy has been brooding lately about what to do with his life, and needs some advice on how to go about choosing a career. “The head and the heart are sometimes in conflict with one another. And the only time the heart’s desires seem stupid is when the head chooses to doubt their potential.” He misses his friend, but the lady in front of him is friendly and offers good advice that pacifies him. He notices her hair, grown to mid-back length, with green tints, and wonders how could that be. He becomes good friends with the woman and keeps returning to the tree for friendly advice. As autumn draws near, the boy looks around at the elderly people surrounding him, and is scared about ageing – he wants to retain his youth forever and does not see himself growing old and wrinkled. He walks towards his favorite spot by the tree, hoping to meet the young woman, but is stunned to notice a much older, middle-aged woman singing beneath the tree. Her hair is waist-length and tinted in green. He realizes it is his friend, but why has she aged so quickly? The woman gently tells him there’s nothing to fear about ageing; everything has its own season. Leaves fall off trees in autumn because their time has come. No matter how much a tree wishes to cling on to its leaves, it cannot. Autumn makes way for winter. The boy realizes the child who he befriended in spring, the young woman of summer, and the older woman of autumn are the same person. He worries what will happen of her in winter and rushes to the tree on the first day at the turn of the season. There is no singing and dancing; just a very old lady lying near the tree. For the first time, the boy notices her clothes. She has been wearing the same attire since their first meeting – the outfit had buds in spring, blooming flowers in summer, wilting flowers in autumn, and pictures of brown soil in winter. The girl with the green tinted hair was always the same person, but he met different versions of her as the seasons changed. It dawns on him what his friend has been telling him all along. All good things come to an end, to make way for better things.
Nothing lasts forever; we must learn to appreciate the present and live in the moment, not hold on to things too tightly, since every moment is fleeting. This little gem of a book philosophizes on situations we encounter on a regular basis – people we meet everyday, things we see and hear frequently but don’t pay much attention to, something seemingly mundane that we take for granted. We look but do not actually see, hear but do not really listen. The blurb mentions Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s “Le Petit Prince“, and this book is as uplifting and enlightening as The Little Prince. A simple story in a fantasy world, with very real world issues touched upon – both poignant and thought provoking. The metaphors are beautiful and the writing transports you to a magical land. All of us could learn a thing or two from the girl with the green-tinted hair. The analogy of the four forms of the same woman with the four seasons forms the highlight of the book. And of course, the cover is fabulous – a simple backdrop with the branches of the tree forming an outline of a boy and a girl, the swaying leaves as the girl’s hair, is very creative indeed. A must-read book that unintentionally turned out to be an apt choice for Valentine’s Day – a day of love. Why does love need to be celebrated on one day? Or with one person? It is the moments we spend with our loved ones all through the year that are more significant. Love for partners, parents, children, colleagues, pets, friends – being in the moment with everyone you encounter and creating memories to cherish. A very impactful read.