06 June, 2014

Bertie's guide to life and mothers by Alexander McCall Smith [Suneeta, Highland Park library]

Image for BertieWhether you are familiar with the 44 Scotland Street series or not (I wasn’t), you will enjoy this 9th book, set in picturesque Edinburgh, that tells of  the latest goings-on in the lives of a wonderful bunch of characters, some you will love, some you will love to hate.

As the stories run
parallel through the book, we encounter around 18 or so main characters, connected with each other. Sweet, beleaguered Bertie will tug at your heart as he endures yoga and Italian classes and therapy sessions at the hands of his tiresome, amateur psychologist, but well-intentioned mother.

What Bertie really wants, as any 7 year old boy would, is a pen-knife and pizza. Mercifully, he gets temporary respite when mum takes off overseas for a few days and is unintentionally captured and taken to a Bedouin camp where she starts a book club for the wives. As Pat and Mathew are on the threshold to a new love, large- hearted Big Lou, owner of the neighbourhood café and always unlucky in love, gets a foster child. Mathew and Elspeth, the young parents of triplets take on an au pair for the au pair! Angus and Domenica have visitors from hell - one in the form of an Italian nun. The absurdities are hilarious, yet the humour is subtle. 
As always, AMS writes attentively and simply, as his whimsical observations of everyday life and philosophical asides add a thoughtful touch to each tale. Even Cyril, Angus’s good natured, gold-toothed hound with a fondness for beer, thinks.  Master of writing for art and entertainment, the author leaves you with the feeling that he would warmly welcome into his own home the assortment of residents he has so cleverly crafted. 
Title: Bertie's guide to life and mothers
Author: Alexander McCall Smith
ISBN: 978-1-84697-253-9
Published: 2013
Publisher: Polygon

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