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The Hatwearer's Lesson.

by Yolanda Joe Dutton, March 2003 $23.95, ISBN 0-525-94716-7

For author Yolanda Joe, writing from the heart about the soul is what makes a good story great. The Chicago-based writer's latest book, The Hatwearer's Lesson, is a heartwarming and inspirational novel that tells the story of one woman's loving relationship with her maternal grandmother.

To Terri, Grandma Ollie Mae is a wise woman who was born with a sixth sense and an ever-present spirit, especially when it comes to her granddaughter. Despite the fact that Terri is a high-powered attorney in Chicago and is dating the man of her dreams--Lynnwood Conway--she is still unhappy. Even though she is miles and light years away from the modest confines of Collingswood, Arkansas, and has achieved her personal goals, Terri still calls on Grandma Ollie Mae regularly for emotional and spiritual support.

In addition to her spunky attitude and unassailable wisdom, Grandma Ollie Mae has a unique flair for fashion and regularly outdoes everyone at the local church in her fancy Sunday hats. She's also quick to tout the accomplishments of her granddaughter to anyone willing to listen.

For Joe, who has written four other novels, The Hatwearer's Lesson is perhaps her most compassionate book so far. Many readers can easily relate to the warm relationship that exists between Grandma Ollie and Terri. And though the book is touted as fiction, one cannot help but believe that the characters are indeed based on real people from the author's life. Joe wrote the book This Just In a few years ago and based much of the novel on her years working as a television news producer. Joe has developed an uncanny knack for weaving realism with slight exaggeration. The concept works well and ultimately makes for entertaining, yet thought-provoking reading. She dedicates the book to her own grandmothers with this amusing message: "For my grandmothers: "Bernice Barnett and Clara Joe. I'd like to imagine that when each got to heaven the angels said, "Like that hat, girl."

--Glenn Townes is a frequent contributor to BIBR.
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Author:Townes, Glenn
Publication:Black Issues Book Review
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Mar 1, 2003
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