Laura's Reviews > 44 Scotland Street

44 Scotland Street by Alexander McCall Smith
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's review
Sep 20, 10

Read in September, 2010

This was a really different book to read. It was originally published as a newspaper column so each chapter is only about 2 pages long. In the preface, the author describes the challenges of writing a story in this method which I thought was interesting. He could't go back and rewrite anything and each "column" had to be interesting, move the story forward and leave the reader wanting more. Very different from a regular novel.

The story is about Pat, a twenty year old living in Edinburgh. Pat's life includes her flatmate Bruce, her boss Matthew, her neighbor Domenica, her neighbor Irene and Irene's son Bertie. The book begins with Pat moving in with Bruce and getting a job with Matthew, but there really isn't a middle or end to the book. There is no closure or climax to the story. Another reviewer called it "Seinfeld style" meaning that the book was about nothing. Very astute observation. Just the goings on of normal people. Several interesting story lines really went no where while some boring story lines were revisited several times. Just like in real life I suppose.

At the end of the book I felt a slight disappointment that the whole thing wasn't wrapped together in a nice bow with all story lines addressed and with full closure. Upon pondering it however, the ending matches the style of the story.

The original column appeared in a Scotland newspaper so many of the political references went by me as well as the name/place references. This didn't hinder the character development at all and I just skimmed those paragraphs and kept reading.

Overall, I liked the characters enough to check out the next in the series. 3.5 stars.
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