Sonderbooks Book Reviews by Sondra Eklund

Sonderbooks Stand-out 2005
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****In the Company of Cheerful Ladies

by Alexander McCall Smith

Reviewed April 22, 2005.
Polygon, Edinburgh, 2004.  231 pages.
Coming soon to Sembach Library (MCN F MCC).
Sonderbooks Stand-out 2005 (#5, Light-hearted Fiction)

I do so love the cheerful ladies of the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency.  I’ve been listing the books as mysteries, but there are only a few incidental mysteries along the way.  In this sixth book of the series, we wonder who is the man who fled from under Mma Ramotswe’s bed.  Why was there a pumpkin on her verandah?  Why is the apprentice acting so foolishly?

The bulk of the book is the simple day-to-day lives of Mma Ramotswe, her husband Mr J. L. B. Matekoni, and her assistant Mma Makutsi.  I love the bits of wisdom scattered throughout the story.  Here are some examples:

“There are many temptations in life, but cake is probably one of the biggest of them.”

“It was good to be able to share such things with someone else; the little jokes of life, the little absurdities.”

“A life without stories would be no life at all.  And stories bound us, did they not, one to another, the living to the dead, people to animals, people to the land?”

“This is what redeems us, that is what makes our pain and sorrow bearable—this giving of love to others, this sharing of the heart.”

Truly to read this book is to spend time in the company of cheerful ladies.

Good news!  A reader named Christian Gunnerup found the answer to my question about the pronunciation of “Mma” and “Rra”:  “Mma is pronounced ‘ma’ (with a long ‘a’).  Rra is pronounced ‘rar,’ but with a slight rolling of the second ‘r.’  Thanks so much, Christian!

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Copyright © 2005 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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