Fantasy, Reality, Reviews and Drama Lessons from Gordon A. Long
Products: fantasy books, social commentary, ebooks, humor, reviews, and short stories. 
Self-publishing services: editing, proof-reading, graphic art, formatting, and promoting e books or traditional books. 
Drama: for teachers of spoken language, drama, and second languages improving classroom skills and resources.
 

   Home      The Importance Of Being Seven
Are We Stupid? Blog admits "Why Canadians Fear Bernie Sanders"
Renaissance Writer reviews a whole genre, the "To Hell with Convention" Book.
Indies Unlimited Post "Find and Replace: the Writer's Best Friend”
YouTube Video "Out of Mischief Trailer"
YouTube Video "On the Road in Southeast Asia" the vibrant street life of the bustling cities of Cambodia and Vietnam.
YouTube Video  "The Rhyme of the Swiftsure Mariner"  For any sailor who ever had a race where the wind just wouldn't cooperate.
YouTube Video  "To The Ends of Argentina"   Travel to Iguassu Falls and Cape Horn

Books

Why Are People So Stupid?

 eBook $2.99

 amazon.com

A Sword Called…Kitten?

 eBook: $1.99

Smashwords.com 

Soft Cover: $14.95

Amazon.com

 


Drama Materials

Expressive Poetry Performance

   Student Handbook

   Teacher Guide

The Dramatic Classroom Blog

Latest post: Get the "Amateur" off the Board of Directors


Interesting Contacts

Cas Peace -  Novelist, Editor
 
Kaz Augustin  -  Sandalpress
 
Yvonne Hertzberger  - Fantasy Writer 

The Indie View - Indie Book Reviews from Around the Web
 

Anachronism Pictures

Including the award-winning mechanical squid,"Septopus"
 

Generations

The Surrey Intergenerational Theatre Troupe
 

The Vaudevillians

 B. C's. #1 Seniors Entertainment Troupe

 


 


Review

The Importance of Being Seven: A 44 Scotland Street Novel (6) 

 by

 Alexander McCall Smith

“Nothing really happened - and then everything happened.” This sentence, which begins Chapter 84, is the best descriptor I could find for the whole book. Of course, nothing ever happens in a 44 Scotland Street novel. That is, nothing in the eventful, exciting, murder/mayhem/fire/flood/havoc sense.

 

What really “happens” in a McCall Smith novel is that his characters, like pleasant but unobtrusive next-door neighbors, gradually merge into your life until you suddenly realize that you really care about them. It matters a great deal to the reader whether six-year-old Bertie gets to go fishing with his father or not. It is very important to us whether a supporting wall supports or does not. He even almost makes us care whether pygmies should be called “forest people,” for reasons of political correctness.

 

McCall Smith should write the textbook on how to reveal character. The greatest tribute to his skill is Bertie's mother, Irene. It is unbelievable, until you read this series, to think that anyone could be so completely unconscious of what kind of person she is. Or that a writer, without one direct statement about her, could reveal her true character so clearly.

 

And check out Ulysses, who forever redefines the concept, “out of the mouths of babes,” as character information.

 

And as far as description goes, who but McCall Smith could make us enjoy two pages of what Cyril the dog smelled on the way to the coffee shop?

 

However, in this book nothing happens for quite a bit longer than usual. The opening hundred pages consist of a series of vignettes of all the characters. In this McCall Smith is hampered by his former successes. This is Volume 6 of the 44 Scotland Street series, and he has such a large number of lovable (and some hateable) characters that he feels he must give us a taste of each one. While all of these separate tales are enjoyable, and many give him the opportunity to indulge in some of his beautiful descriptive writing, this rather shotgun-like approach leaves us unsure of the focus of the story.

 

Then, once we finally figure out which the important plotlines are, we have wasted a whole lot of time and empathy on people who faded out and disappeared. For example, the interlude with Bruce and Lizzie, while as entertaining as the rest, is basically a distraction. We wonder if it’s an incident that didn’t quite fit in the book where those characters were more important. However, the author liked it too much to just throw it away, so he used it here, because Bruce has a small but important scene later on in this book.

 

In spite of nothing happening for so long, things really do happen in the end, and we really care that they do. This is a great read for a warm summer evening, when we don't want to rouse ourselves from the hammock or from our feeling that, while all may not be right with the world, there are small victories going on all around us. 

 

Recommended for fans of great descriptive writing and of the portrayal of wonderful characters, especially those of the 44 Scotland Street series. 4 stars out of 5.


Return to Reviews

TOP




 


 
 


 
 


 
 


 
 


 
 


 
 


 
 


 
 


Novel 
and
Television series
 
 


 
 


 
 


 
 


 
 


 
 


 
 


Mind of the Beast

Brian and Juliet Freyermuth


As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust

Alan Bradley


Raven's Wing

Shawna Reppert


Hooligans

Chaz Fenwick


 
 


 
 


 
 


 
 


 
 


 
Erik Kort


 
(Short Story)

Aine Greaney


Mysteries of Shetland

Anne Cleeves


Ravensblood

Shawna Reppert


The Cold Forever

Dmitry Pavlovsky


Ava's Man

Rick Bragg


Ava's Man

Rick Bragg


The Best Laid Plans

Terry Fallis

 

 

Wordscapist: the Myth

Arpan Panicker


Murder and Mendelssohn
Kerry Greenwood

Drawing Conclusions
Donna Leon

The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon
Alexander McCall Smith

The Dead in their Vaulted Arches
Alan Bradley


The Commons Book 1

The Journeyman
Michael Alan Peck


At War With Satan
Steff Metal

Phobos: Mayan Fear
Steve Alten

Guystuff
Linton Robinson

The Great Gatsby
F. Scott Fitzgerald

You Can't Get There From Here
Gayle Forman

Psychic Warrior
T. D. McKinnon

Forager
Peter R. Stone

Butterman (Time Travel) Inc.
PK Hrezo

Winter Fire
Laurie Dubay 

Canadian Pie
Will Ferguson 

Bertie Plays the Blues
Alexander McCall Smith

Miss Timmins' School for Girls
Nayana Currimbhoy

Xenophobia
Peter Cawdron

The Twelve Rooms of the Nile
Enid Shomer

The Importance of Being Seven
Alexander McCall Smith

Cupcakes, Trinkets, and Other Deadly Magic
Meghan Ciana Doidge

Unnatural Habits
A Phryne Fisher Mystery

Kerry Greenwood

Strays
Book I of The Glaring Chronicles

Matthew Krause

The Hundred-Foot Journey
Richard C. Morais

The Crooked House
John Longeway

Eye Candy
by
Ryan Schneider

Season of the Harvest
Michael R. Hicks

Chronicles of Trellah Book I:
The Perpetual Rain

T. S. Graham


The Casual Vacancy
J. K. Rowling
Alexander McCall Smith
Charlotte Henley Babb

David Litwack 
G. T. Denny
John Patrick Gallagher
Cas Peace
Steve Umstead
L.M.Dewalt
J.W.Bacarro
Mark Everett Stone