Monday, September 04, 2017

Espresso Tales

Espresso Tales (44 Scotland Street #2) Alexander McCall Smith. 2005. 345 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: It was summer. The forward movement of the year, so tentative in the early months of spring, now seemed quite relentless.

Premise/plot: Espresso Tales is the sequel to 44 Scotland Street. This novel was originally published serially in The Scotsman. One chapter per day. Imagine a soap opera in print with more wit than skin. I really enjoyed revisiting the characters. Most of the characters--though not all--were first introduced in 44 Scotland Street. There are some new characters introduced in this one.

My thoughts: One of the highlights for me is the character of Bertie. Bertie is being forced by his mother to do many things: saxophone lessons, Italian lessons, therapy sessions, etc. His mother has painted his room pink and insisted that he like it. She also makes him wear "crushed strawberry" colored dungarees. One of the funniest incidences in the book is when Tofu (a boy with vegan parents) offers to trade with Bertie. He really, really, really wants a hot dog. He's really to exchange his jeans for Bertie's awful dungarees. Of course, Bertie accepts that deal. But OH THE SCENE when Irene (his mother) finds out. Readers see a lot more of Bertie's father, Stuart, in this one. In another great scene, we see him put into practice his assertiveness training.

But there are so many characters in this one. I also love Domenica. Here's one of my favorite quotes.

"And what is wrong with being judgmental?" Domenica asked indignantly. "It drives me mad to hear people say: 'Don't be judgmental.' That's moral philosophy at the level of an Australian soap opera. If people weren't judgmental, how could we possibly have a moral viewpoint in society? We wouldn't have the first clue where we were. All rational discourse about what we should do would grind to a halt. No, whatever you do, don't fall for that weak-minded nonsense about not being judgmental. Don't be excessively judgmental, if you like, but always--always--be prepared to make a judgment. Otherwise you'll go through life not really knowing what you mean.

© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

1 comment:

Joy Weese Moll said...

Glad you enjoyed the sequel!