I made you a redhead. You threw it all away!
Red is set in Scarletville, a city in which redheads are celebrated, brunettes and blondes are a sort of lower class, and strawberry blondes feel almost criminal. How dare they be so close to the elite race, yet so far! This far: it has potential to satirically deal with the ideas of judging one for their colour, but it falls flat very quickly.
Felicity is a generally dislikeable character. Not only does she buy into the whole ideology of the town, with her redhead jock “perfect” boyfriend and her creative talents, as well as being a “celebrity” of sorts in her school halls, but she treats everyone outside the redhead scene like crap. She views them as less, and more so – the big twist – she is a fraud! She dyes her hair.
And someone finds out.
Her being taken down a few pegs is not something to sympathise with. Her pushy pageant mother is supposed to be leverage on her as a character (a generally boring person), but when you factor her general personality into it, you don’t feel for her.
More so, her friends are… eh. It felt like characters weren’t given time to develop. Haylie is very into the pageant scene, Ivy would rather wear a potato sack. It’s very sweeping.
Gabby is the only one given any form of depth, and you can’t help but feel the satirical intentions would have been pulled off more successfully if they’d been portrayed through her eyes. Conducting a social experiment surrounding the potential status a brunette can get for a solid reason, she is the driving force of the limited plot, and the one whose insight seemed most desired.
But, the tone is all off; instead of laughing at the clever wit of Cherry in looking at the nature of judging someone for their character, this feels like a dead pan, serious narrative, and in turn reads awkwardly.
Scarletville. A mayor named Redding. A contestant called Ariel. An area in town called Rouge-O-Rama. These things only work when the satire is clear, but instead read as ridiculous attempts to rope in red at any given opportunity to a book not able to sustain the joke.
It’s a shame, because the intention was there, and had it been pulled off this would have been a clever piece of writing that raises a smile or two. Instead, the culminating moments weren’t worth it, and it just fell a little flat.