So, I checked my email today at my internship to discover a wonderful message from my mom.
It was short, simple, little more than a copy-and-paste from a website.
This is generally what it said:
Subject: Alexander McCall Smith
October 25, 2010
6:00 pm, Boston Public Library (lecture),
700 Boylston Street, Copley Square, Boston, MA.
Being at work, my response was to simply grin widely. At school or at home, it would be more vocal, along the lines of “HURRAY!”
Alexander McCall Smith is my favorite living author. His stories make me so happy. I could be miserable, but to read a few pages of 44 Scotland Street and I’m instantly in a better mood.
I’m really, really excited. I’ve already marked it on my calendar. I’ve got my entire afternoon free. I’ll be camping out. Most camp out to meet rock stars. I camp out to meet my favorite writer.
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.