Sonderbooks Book Reviews by Sondra Eklund

Buy from Amazon.com

Rate this Book

Sonderbooks 107
    Previous Book
    Next Book


Nonfiction
Fiction
    Mystery
        Previous Book
        Next Book

Young Adult Fiction
Children's Nonfiction
Children's Fiction
Picture Books

2005 Stand-outs
2004 Stand-outs
2003 Stand-outs
2002 Stand-outs
2001 Stand-outs

Five-Star Books
Four-Star Books
     Previous Book
     Next Book

Old Favorites
Back Issues
List of Reviews by Title
List of Reviews by Author

Why Read?
Children and Books
Links For Book Lovers
Book Discussion Forum

About Me
Contact Me
Subscribe
Make a Donation

I don't review books I don't like!

*****= An all-time favorite
****  = Outstanding
***    = Above average
**      = Enjoyable
*        = Good, with reservations

cover

****Blue Shoes and Happiness

by Alexander McCall Smith

Reviewed June 30, 2006.
Pantheon Books, New York, 2006.  227 pages.
Available at Sembach Library (MCN F MCC).

Reading another novel in the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series is like spending time with an old friend, a friend who likes to philosophize and drink bush tea.

This book is very much like the others, so it’s not tremendously suspenseful or gripping, but you do feel you’ve been, as another title says, In the Company of Cheerful Ladies.  What could be more pleasant?

I’m still putting these books in the mystery category, because Precious Ramotswe does solve more puzzles.  However, it’s a little more like reading a good story and watching the heroine solve a mystery than a more traditional mystery story where you can puzzle out the clues yourself.  The mysteries are more incidental to showing us the characters of Mma Ramotswe and Mma Makutsi.

In this book, there are some problems for Mma Makutsi and her fiancé.  Will she continue to have bad luck with men?  And will fancy blue shoes that are hard to walk in provide happiness in proportion to their price?  Should Mma Ramotswe try to change her traditionally built figure to be a little less traditional?

One thing I love about these books is the cheery philosophizing Mma Ramotswe engages in while dealing with the problems of life.  As in this passage:  “Nobody was perfect, she thought, and she herself had not handled the situation very well.  None of us knows how we will cope with snakes until the moment arises, and then most of us find out that we do not do it very well.  Snakes were one of the tests which life sent for us, and there was no telling how we might respond until the moment arrived.  Snakes and men.  These were the things sent to try women, and the outcome was not always what we might want it to be.”

Truly, “Happiness was an elusive thing.  It had something to do with having beautiful shoes, sometimes; but it was about so much else.  About a country.  About a people.  About having friends like this.”

Reviews of the other books in the series:
The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency (Book 1)
Tears of the Giraffe (Book 2)
Morality for Beautiful Girls (Book 3)
The Kalahari Typing School for Men (Book 4)
The Full Cupboard of Life (Book 5)
In the Company of Cheerful Ladies (Book 6)
The Good Husband of Zebra Drive (Book 8)
The Miracle at Speedy Motors (Book 9)
Tea Time for the Traditionally Built (Book 10)
The Double Comfort Safari Club (Book 11)
The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party (Book 12)
The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection (Book 13)
The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon (Book 14)
The Handsome Man's Deluxe Café (Book 15)

Reviews of other books by Alexander McCall Smith:
The Great Cake Mystery
The Mystery of Meerkat Hill
The Sunday Philosophy Club
The Right Attitude to Rain
The Careful Use of Compliments
The Comforts of a Muddy Saturday
La's Orchestra Saves the World
The Finer Points of Sausage Dogs
Emma
The Cowgirl Aunt of Harriet Bean


Copyright © 2006 Sondra Eklund. All rights reserved.

-top of page-