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The Importance of Being Seven (44 Scotland Street Book 6)

The Importance of Being Seven (44 Scotland Street Book 6) [Kindle Edition]

Alexander Mccall Smith
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Book Description

* The sixth volume of Alexander McCall Smith's wonderful serial novels set in Edinburgh's New Town

Product Description

Despite inhabiting a great city renowned for its impeccable restraint, the extended family of 44 Scotland Street is trembling on the brink of reckless self-indulgence. Matthew and Elspeth receive startling - and expensive - news on a visit to the Infirmary, Angus and Domenica are contemplating an Italian ménage a trois, and even Big Lou is overheard discussing cosmetic surgery. But when Bertie Pollock - six years old and impatient to be seven - mislays his meddling mother Irene one afternoon, a valuable lesson is learned: that wish-fulfilment is a dangerous business.

Warm-hearted, wise and very funny, The Importance of Being Seven brings us a fresh and delightful set of insights into philosophy and fraternity among Edinburgh’s most loveable residents.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1011 KB
  • Print Length: 287 pages
  • Publisher: Abacus (2 Jun 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004ZKVG86
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #10,197 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Following a distinguished career as a Professor of Medical Law, Alexander McCall Smith has turned to writing full-time. He is the author of over sixty books on a wide array of subjects, and his books have been translated into forty-two languages. He lives in Edinburgh with his wife.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another triumph for Scotland Street 12 Aug 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The latest volume in the ongoing Scotland Street saga. Bertie continues to charm, his Mother to infuriate the reader and all the other characters continue to delight and surprise. Will the reformed Bruce Anderson continue to be a good boy? As always, McCall Smith's prosaic style is excellent, mixed with Edinburgh slang. When I have finished, I will wait number 7 with some patience.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A heartwarming literary soap opera 2 Sep 2010
By R. King
While the 44 Scotland Street series is a gentle and witty soap opera on the surface, McCall Smith's ability to explore the underbelly of society that surrounds us all gives it depth and purpose. Originally published as a serial in The Scotsman it is provided in quick soundbites that merge all too easily to keep you reading section after section.

This serial style of writing will inevitably bring comparisons to Dickens, yet the difference is that the writing is incredibly succinct. Dickens' beautiful prose and outlandish characters will always charm but McCall Smith gets straight to the point. Other authors such as Gabriel Garcia Marquez or John Irving provide similar levels of detail about their characters, but with McCall Smith you scarcely know you are absorbing the information.

The importance of being seven features a number of key characters, the most heart-warming of which is six year old genius Bertie who longs to be seven and to be given freedom from Irene, his overbearing mother. It is simply impossible not to side with Bertie, even his baby brother Ulysses is sick whenever he sees his mother.

Bertie also has to deal with caustic school `friends' and the fact that cub scouts not only let girls in, but ban their members from carrying a knife. His mother doesn't want him to go anyway, and there is not much time for such boyish activities with his Italian lessons, yoga and totally unnecessary psychotherapy sessions.

Artist Angus Lordie and his ever present dog Cyril are travelling to Italy to look for inspiration for a master painting. He is currently painting portraits of bank managers who have since left the bank with golden handshakes after playing their part in the recent financial crisis.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More joy from McCall Smith 8 Oct 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Once more we are reunited with the denizens of Scotland Street. Poor Bertie continues to suffer under his ghastly mother's regime but some joy comes into his life in this book so one feels a little less apprehensive on his behalf. All our old friends appear; what is more comforting or delightful than a new Alexander McCall Smith novel, full of wisdom and gentleness?
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27 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A delightful book 25 Jun 2010
By Bluebell TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Reading this book is like a reunion with old friends and hearing about their exploits over the last year or so. They're all there from the previous books and still inhabit the nicer parts of Edinburgh. The title of the book refers to Bertie Pollock, who longs to be seven. He is one of my favourite characters in the series. I feel such sympathy for his world-weary acceptance of his over-bearing mother who pushes him to learn Italian, go to yoga classes and who takes him against his will to psychotherapy when what he longs for is to be a normal boy. There are some heart-warming chapters in which Bertie and his father, Stuart, have boyish fun together. Bertie's new baby brother, Ulysses, makes his mark and there's a running joke from the previous book (The Unbearable Lightness of Being over Ulysses paternity.

Without any preamble, the book launches straight into a scene from the life of the newly wed gallery-owner, Mathew, and his beloved, Elspeth, the erstwhile teacher of Bertie. I felt that it would be more difficult to get into this book if one had not read the previous books in the series for, although there are some hints as to the back-stories of the characters, I felt I got a lot more pleasure from being familiar with their pasts.

As with previous books in the series the stories first appeared as a daily dose of Edinburgh middle-class life in the The Scotsman newspaper and so the chapters are roughly the same length. Each chapter tends to be a self-contained episode or a "cliff-hanger" that is resolved in the following chapter. As with the previous books, there are pleasing and humorous little line drawings apposite to the particular story of a chapter.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars another easy read 2 July 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The Bertie series is one of my favourites of AMS; Bertie is just so endearing. His mother is becoming more and more deranged and his father tries to stand his ground with a lovely description of a trip away from home. Ulysess is coming along well as a wonderful little brother to Bertie. you can't go wrong with this one.
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28 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Like a conversation between two old friends ... 25 Jun 2010
This books reads like a conversation between two old friends. There's little need for introduction (the characters and contexts are all familiar to us) and there is also little in the way of development or movement. Things remain much as they have been, what movement there is, is almost glacial in its speed. This is not a criticism, rather it is one of the joys of the 44 Scotland Street series. One can enjoy the lives of its upper-middle class residents without the need for undue crisis.

The inter-linked stories continue to develop the lives of the residents (and associates) of 44 Scotland Street. Irene and Bruce remain as awful and insufferable as ever. Bertie aims for, but never quite reaches 7. The men (Stuart, Angus and Matthew) remain somewhat vague, subject to the wills of the more powerful women who surround them, though Angus is much more his own man than the other two. And all this is watched over by the inscrutable Big Lou, Domenica, and Cyril (Angus Lordie's dog.) Angus remains, of course, the recording angel, finishing off the novel with one of his interminable poems - something I am at pains to avoid when finishing off the book.

My main criticisms are these. As ever Alexander McCall Smith concentrates on one or two characters for extended periods, meaning that, at times the narrative can become somewhat disjointed. It can also mean that favourite characters stay out of the limelight for too long (I certainly would like to hear more of the awful Bruce!) Linked in with this are a couple of 'cliff-hanger' moments which are never satisfactorily resolved, merely ignored, with the characters in question appearing later in the text, unscathed and none the worse for their ordeal. (Indeed the 'ordeal' is usually never mentioned again.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Great characters
I love the characters and it's an easy read but really enjoyable, really humorous
Published 17 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent, thanks
Published 1 month ago by Mrs L. L. Noel
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Its a gift.
Published 1 month ago by April Nyeo
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
fabulous as always Mr Mccall smith
Published 2 months ago by pammywoo
5.0 out of 5 stars Love the Author
I read all The detective agency books, and while at an airport waiting for a flight bought the first 44 Scotland Street book, now I have one left in the series to read and that is... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Jocelet Collins
5.0 out of 5 stars Great service all round
Another great book in the series
Published 3 months ago by Suey
5.0 out of 5 stars good product
This was delivered promptly by the seller. It is a good story and I would recommend it to other people
Published 4 months ago by Simon Richardson
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
I normally love reading A McCall Smith's philosophies but this book has too much 'going off on tangents and not getting anywhere'.
It won't stop my reading him.
Published 5 months ago by Molly Moynan
5.0 out of 5 stars 44 Scotland Street
I adore Bertie. I am sure I would fall in love with Alexander McCall Smith if ever I should run into him. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Jackie Hillary
5.0 out of 5 stars Importane of Being Seven
Poor little Bertie copes well with being six with an insufferable mother and weak father. Hisclashes with Olive, Tofu and Patsy are just so well written. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Pyogenes Gruffer
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