Between yesterday and today, I managed to down Alexander McCall Smith’s The World According to Bertie, the fourth book in his 44 Scotland Street series. Previously, I reviewed Espresso Tales, the second book in the series. And no, I haven’t read the third.
That’s part of the charm of the series. You don’t have to read them in order. If you wanted to, you could even start with the fourth book.
My favorite story line follows Bertie, the perpetual six year old forced to go to saxophone lessons, yoga, and a psychotherapist. In this book, he has a new baby brother named Ulysses. His parents always lose their red Volvo, but this time, they manage to outdo the leaving-it-in-Glasgow situation from Espresso Tales.
Bertie is so charming and fun to read about because of his youth, and he’s precocious without being obnoxious as hell. The poor kid just wants to be like everyone else. He wants to wear jeans, have a white bedroom and play with trains rather than wearing “crushed-strawberry dungarees,” live in a pink room (his mother wants to desensitize him to color prejudices) and being forced to play house with the obnoxious Olive. There’s a little bit of Bertie in us all, I think, and that’s what makes him so endearing.