kw: book reviews, nonfiction, women's society, human relations
I find it interesting on occasion to read a woman-oriented book. I grew up in a house full of boys. Mom complained that even the cats and goldfish were male. I had little chance to learn anything about women.
Sue Ellen Cooper, with the poem "Warning" (When I am old, I shall wear purple/And a red hat that doesn't go...) ringing in her memory, saw a red hat in a thrift store some seven years ago, and bought it. Later she got red hats for a few close friends, gave them the hats when they met for tea, and, somewhat whimsically, declared themselves the Red Hat Society, with Sue Ellen as the Queen. Mostly, they declare, "No Rules!", other than wearing red hats and purple clothes when they are together...at least. The RHS is a way for women over 50 (and younger Pink Hatters) to get together, drop all seriousness, and have fun together, especially if it is a bit silly.
It has grown to become a phenomenon. There are 18 Red Hat chapters in Rapid City, SD, and 23 in one Philadelphia suburb. Sue Ellen's book The Red Hat Society: Fun and Friendship After Fifty, is warm and welcoming (like a good tea party), and very well written. Its contents confirmed my understanding that women relate to one another in a way men simply cannot, and shouldn't try. Girl thing - Guy thing: we really do think differently.
So, I enjoyed the book, very much the outsider. Beyond that, I think it the better part of valor to avoid further comment.