A spicy sequel offers an engaging ode to the lasting bonds of southern sisterhood and life-begins-at-50 optimism that will melt the most cynical of Yankee hearts.
What is it about the water down south that makes women bond for life as solidly as Fixodent to gums? This follow-up to the Red Hat Club (2003), with its references to adult toy stores, booze, 12-step programs, and Dr. Atkins, proves that even if Smith’s is a well-explored genre, her adventurous tale of six middle-aged Atlanta women remains a welcome ride. The Red Hats, dressed accordingly, are still meeting for their monthly ladies’ luncheons, but, thanks to the disposable income of millionaire member Teeny, they’re soon off on a series of wacky, husbandless sojourns—to Las Vegas, to Florida, even a monthlong Bahamian plastic-surgery cruise for extreme makeovers. Each exploit is threaded with earnest sentimentality as the women tout their 12 sacred traditions (though tradition 5, “Mind Your Own Business,” is rarely observed). When the gang heads to Sin City to kidnap wayward and substance-abusing sister Pru and steal her away to a Rocky Mountain rehab, the trip culminates in a laugh-out-loud episode as morally fixated narrator Georgia, unprepared for the sound of sirens when she hits the jackpot, flees her winning slot machine. Nostalgic flashbacks to the women’s sorority-sister youth illuminate each character’s past and hopefully render the story more relevant to those unfamiliar with AARP guidelines and More magazine. Smith’s lilting twang and kitchen-sink wisdom permeate every paragraph, making the suspension of disbelief surprisingly easy. Even a late-in-the-game Elton John cameo can be dismissed as well-intentioned overzealousness before you turn the page to see what will happen next.
Potty humor worthy of the Golden Girls, plus musings on friendship and the metaphysical as true religion—all rolled into one.