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The World According to Bertie (44 Scotland Street, #4)
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The World According to Bertie (44 Scotland Street #4)

4.0 of 5 stars 4.00  ·  rating details  ·  5,249 ratings  ·  483 reviews
Poor put-upon Bertie is still struggling to escape his overbearing mother's influence, his yoga lessons and his pink bedroom while wondering why new baby brother Ulysses looks uncomfortably like his psychotherapist. The insufferably handsome Bruce has returned from London to land, on his feet and rent-free, in the arms of heiress Julia Donald. But all is not well among the ...more
Paperback, 329 pages
Published 2008 by Abacus (first published 2007)
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Jun 11, 2008 Heather rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Celtophiles
What can I say? I love this series. I love how Alexander McCall Smith captures Edinburgh. I love the characters. I want to say the books are sweet or heart-warming, but not in a cloying way at all. The author allows his characters to be human, yet rise above their petty cares some of the time. The books are smart and funny and make me want to gather round a table with friends and truly feel at home.

I really enjoyed this book. It was the best one in the series so far. The characters are so amusing, and it's just a fun look at life and all the craziness that goes along with it. Bertie is an awesome character!
The audio reader was too slow for my taste and I haven't read the first 3 books in this series, so I almost gave up on this book after the first couple disks. I'm glad I stuck with it, because in the end, I found myself liking the characters and enjoying the setting.

I don't think I've ever read a novel set in modern day Scotland (Edinburgh), and being a bit of an anglophile, that made the whole story more appealing to me. I also liked that the characters were generally good people living ordinar
The world according to 6 year old Bertie is one of the most entertaining aspects of the 44 Scotland Street series providing plenty of laugh-out-loud moments.
There are thoughtful moments also. I am including this excerpt because I wonder about McCall Smith's view of God. His characters seem to have faith in love, family, friendship, kindness, Scotland...anything but God.
This is a prayer of Angus Lordie whose dog is being detained because he was accused of biting and Angus misses him greatly (p.
Jeannie and Louis Rigod
This book is best enjoyed with snuggling down with your favorite drink, soft, but good, reading light, and plenty of time to devote to savoring the essays of daily life of the persons living in Edinburgh, Scotland, near 44 Scotland Street.

As the title of the book suggests, this volume is dedicated to Bertie, a six-year old project (Mother's viewpoint.) Bertie wants to be a boy. That's all. Mother sees the world differently. She has him playing the Saxophone, speaking Italian, and doing Yoga. Of
Beth Hall
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Another delightful tale in the 44 Scotland Street Series! There is joy and life lessons for all of the residence. In my mind Alexander McCall Smith is one of the masters of slice of life tales! Bertie Pollock is most certainly proving to be one of my favorite characters that I have had the pleasure of encountering between the pages of a book. His trials and tribulations with school, his family (in particular his mother Irene), and with his therapist Dr. Fairbairn are proving to be a challenge t ...more
BJ Rose
I like the precocious six-year-old Bertie, and was looking forward to having much of this book be about Bertie. In spite of the title, it was not to be. It was an entertaining book, but I wanted Bertie (little tantrum here!)
Ken Deshaies
This is the 4th in this series by Alexander McCall Smith, and it continues the sagas of a variety of characters in modern Edinburg, Scotland. To say that Smith has a keen insight to human frailties and comedic lapses is to put it mildly. He actually gets you to understand how so many things that we do, or behavior that we view in others, are hilarious, particularly when the full circumstances of that behavior are known. From pompous egotists to overbearing mothers to husbands and children who ar ...more
Hooray for Christmas! It was worth waiting to see if a copy would show up in my holiday stocking. I always enjoy a visit to Scotland Street and this was no exception.

All the old "friends" were back, with some shuffling around but Bertie was definitely more front-and-center this time struggling with his own set of imponderables (overbearing mother Isabel, new baby brother Ulysses of the strong resemblance to B's psychotherapist, Olive and her needles, etc). Some of it was really funny, other par
There’s a predictability in Alexander McCall Smith’s little escapist novels, with their episodic romps through modern Edinburgh. In this one, however, I think McCall Smith is starting to become instructive. There are many rambling musings about relationships. They are generally placed in the heads of characters who are trying to work through their own muddled affairs, but I think McCall Smith is using his bully pulpit. It’s wonderful, gentle, and humorous.

Since these books were written to be ser
Barbara Roden
The World According to Bertie is the fourth in Alexander McCall Smith's 'Scotland Street' series, and is a gentle, sometimes funny, sometimes thoughtful look at a by now firmly established cast of characters (although Smith skilfully mixes new faces into the crowd to keep things fresh). As the title implies, this volume focuses on precocious six-year-old Bertie, who just wants to be a normal boy, but who is frustrated at almost every turn by his mother, who sees Bertie more as an experiment than ...more
Superb in all ways--characters, plot(s), writing, emotional depth, humor...This is my favorite kind of book--simple, deep, and profound. I have always loved the author's compassionate acceptance of the human condition; this book was, therefore, very positive for me.

I later found out that the 44 Scotland Street series began as a serialized novel for a newspaper. That helped me understand the structure of this book better, and also to appreciate the author's light touch a bit more.

As one grows old
Jan Polep
Jumped into this series with book 4 (about quirky Edinburgh characters who live in and around 44 Scotland Street) only because Steve could fill me in on the first 3 books as we listened to this as an audiobook on the way to and from Omaha. I could never get into this series but now it makes sense since we hoofed it all over Edinburgh in September. Some of the chapters drag, but any chapter with wee Bertie (6 years old) in them simply shine. And there was a dog ...Cyril. Lot of back and forth wit ...more
The latest installment of Smith's 44 Scotland Street series is yet another voyeuristic visit to Edinburgh. Although all characters have their own individual stories, their stories commingle peripherally as they would in town environs. I enjoy that all the characters are flawed in their own way, making them quintessentially human. Love and comfort are mistaken for each other; friendship and neighbors don’t always mix, and one can never overstate the importance of a dog’s companionship.

This is a c
Sara Frost
I'm still just having a hard time with this series. I enjoyed the first one but then lost interest halfway through the second one. The only story line I care about is Bertie's and the only reason I read this book was I thought the focus would be more on his story line. Instead it started with Pat's story (who I really really don't like), followed by more pointless, uninteresting story lines. I feel like I hardly read any of Bertie's stories.

I think I'm done with this series, I just don't care en
Maria Thermann
I adore Alexander McCall Smith's style of light-as-a-feather writing, but wished he'd stop using German in his novels. Firstly, because it's rather pretentious and secondly, because the man hasn't the first notion of the German language and always gets it wrong...and to compound his error always neglects to ask a German speaker to correct the foreign language errors in his novels.

But that's really the only criticism I have of McCall Smith's 44 Scotland Street novels, which are utter gems. Locat
I love reading about the lives of the residents of Scotland Street and beyond. It makes me want to visit Edinburgh and have coffee in Big Lou's, to wander through the New Town and maybe have a stroll through the museum where Angus Lordie's paintings hang. Afterwards go to one of Domenica's dinner parties where they discuss books and art, music and politics and the food is always delicious. This series brings Edinburgh and its inhabitants to life for those of us who have never been. Bring on book ...more
The World According to Bertie by Alexander McCall Smith is book 4 of the 44 Scotland Street series set in contemporary Edinburgh. Bertie is 6 years old, very intelligent and observant. Poor Bertie is tyrannized by his mother Irene, who insists he play the saxophone, take yoga classes, and continue psychotherapy. He lives with his parents and new baby brother Ulysses in an apartment at 44 Scotland Street. Bertie notices his baby brother’s facial features resemble the psychotherapist’s. Bertie’s o ...more
This is another great bedtime book. It is well written, easy to read, has characters who I like, and a plot that isn't too challenging. It rather makes me want to go to live in Edinburgh to join in the fun. Of course, this is an artificial world created for fiction, but I can see aspects of Edinburgh in the characters and situations that I do recognise. Perhaps that is part of its appeal?

I have to admire the way in which the author produces these pieces. I think that they originally ran as a ser
Auntie Pam
Impossibile non amare Alexander McCall Smith, impossibile non amare il suo stile sempre elegante ed ironico e il suo inglese così fluido e corretto (autore ideale per chi volesse rispolverare il proprio inglese). Questo è il quarto libro della serie e stavolta Scotland Street e paraggi ha come protagonista Bertie, un bambino di sei anni. Bertie è un bambino un po' fuori dal comune, con una mamma che nessuno si augurerebbe per sè e con un'intelligenza e una perspicacia fuori dal comune. I protago ...more
Amy Paget
I am one of the few who DOES NOT LIKE Alexander MCCall Smith's #1 Ladies Detective Series, but who is a great fan of the 44 Scotland Street Series and the Isabel Dalhousie series. My fandom is partially due to having spent some time in Edinburgh so I am familiar with and appreciate the settings. McCall Smith is such a wry observer of human behavior and his comments on the art world, the Jacobites and not least of all, poor 6-year old Bertie doomed to psychotherapy, and yoga lessons make marvelou ...more
Lots of lovely tales intermingled in short little bites. Poor bewildered, clever Bertie is still my favourite inhabitant of Scotland Street and related places, although Big Lou has plenty of my sympathy too.
So it's been a year since I last visited Scotland Street, so it was time to grab a coffee, snuggle up in some PJs and get reading. It really is like catching up with friends, Bertie's mum is still just as controlling and I really wish his dad would just man up a bit. Bruce is back and is just as annoying as ever, although he may well have met his match. Antonio and Dominica were quite amusing too, assessing thier friendship now they are neighbours and working out the boundaries. At least this ti ...more
Nicole Marble
I'm hooked - I look forward to every chapter, every character, every detail.
3.75. Edinburgh itself seems to be the spine of the book, revealed in the characters' daily goings-on. McCall Smith brings a question of ethics to almost every vignette-chapter. The problem of how to find one's way to the right thing or the kind thing is the question of the piece, moving the reader gently toward the premise that love is the only thing after all. These characters bring up all kinds of everyday intrigue and pettiness, never failing to cleverly mirror essences we know in ourselves. ...more
Anne Hawn Smith
Bertie is just about my favorite character and in this book we see a lot of him. His biggest problem in this book is, of course, his mother and we have the addition of a baby brother, Ulysses, who looks suspiciously like Bertie's therapist. Bertie, who doesn't lie, mentions this a couple of times. His mother has decided that he should have his good "friend" Olive over to play with him weekly and he is in despair, not only can he not stand her, but his mother has painted his room pink again.

Pat i
Like the excellent Precious Ramotswe books these are subtle observations of 'interesting' characters. I say 'interesting' because the charm of the books is there is nothing interesting about them and their lives at all - yet some how you get drawn into their everyday'ness rather as you would a friend or neighbour. I listened to myself, my mother and my aunt talking about this book and anyone listening to the conversation would be mistaken in thinking we really were talking about friends and rela ...more
Feb 17, 2009 Andrea rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who love this series
Shelves: scotland
I love this series by Alexander McCall Smith. Plot is never paramount -- the series is made up of a number of interlocking character studies and it celebrates the small events that contribute to the search for fulfillment in life. The characters are lovely, some more endearing than others, with Bertie, the perpetual 6-year-old with a brilliant mind and an array of amazing talents, my personal favorite (though I'm also very fond of Pat and Matthew), and Irene, Bertie's nightmare of a mother the c ...more
As usual, I enjoyed the casual and comfortable atmosphere created by McCall Smith. I always finish his books feeling as if I've spent time with some old friends who impart simple wisdom to live by in day-to-day life.

And young Bertie's perspective gives sweet insights into the world of children. "You see, Mummy, there are two different worlds. There's the grown-up world, and then there's the world down below, where boys and girls live. I don't think grown-ups really know what's happening down in
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Alexander McCall Smith is the author of the international phenomenon The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, the Isabel Dalhousie Series, the Portuguese Irregular Verbs series, and the 44 Scotland Street series. He is professor emeritus of medical law at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and has served on many national and international bodies concerned with bioethics. He was born in what ...more
More about Alexander McCall Smith...

Other Books in the Series

44 Scotland Street (10 books)
  • 44 Scotland Street (44 Scotland Street #1)
  • Espresso Tales (44 Scotland Street, #2)
  • Love Over Scotland (44 Scotland Street, #3)
  • The Unbearable Lightness of Scones (44 Scotland Street #5)
  • The Importance of Being Seven (44 Scotland Street, #6)
  • Bertie Plays the Blues (44 Scotland Street #7)
  • Sunshine on Scotland Street
  • Bertie's Guide to Life and Mothers
  • The Revolving Door of Life: A 44 Scotland Street Novel
The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency  (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #1) Tears of the Giraffe (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, #2) Morality for Beautiful Girls (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #3) The Kalahari Typing School for Men (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #4) The Full Cupboard of Life (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #5)

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