Friday, May 28, 2010
RED HATS BY DAMON WAYANS
Comedian-actor Wayans (Bootleg) makes his unlikely fiction debut with a morality tale about an embittered, sharp-tongued woman who, by novel's end, gets readers rooting for her. Facing her 65th birthday, Alma is noisily unhappy with her life, her children, and, especially, her husband, Harold. When Harold dies of a heart attack, however, she's so lonely and guilt-stricken that she turns to suicide. Luckily, her attempt is thwarted by a group of ladies belonging to the Red Hat Society, a (real-life) organization of women 50 years or more old, dedicated to living life to its fullest. Though the Red Hats, each with problems of her own, open their hearts to Alma, she remains a captive of her bitterness, turning the same fury she casts on her family at the society. When a second tragedy befalls Alma, and the Red Hats once again offer help, Alma begins to reciprocate their friendship, gradually softens to the world, and finally realizes the value of other people. Though entirely predictable, Wayan's story is propelled by engaging characters and snappy dialogue that keep his hard-on-her-luck, harder-to-like protagonist in check.