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

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  6,545 Ratings  ·  558 Reviews

The residents and neighbors of 44 Scotland Street and the city of Edinburgh come to vivid life in these gently satirical, wonderfully perceptive serial novels, featuring six-year-old Bertie, a remarkably precocious boy--just ask his mother.
There is never a quiet moment on 44 Scotland Street. In The World According to Bertie, Pat deals with the
Paperback, 343 pages
Published November 11th 2008 by Anchor Books (first published 2007)
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May 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  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.

Ken Deshaies
Sep 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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!)
Dec 20, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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!
Jeannie and Louis Rigod
Feb 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
From BBC Radio 4 - 15 minute drama:
44 Scotland Street: Series 4
written & dramatized by Alexander McCall Smith

Edinburgh's Georgian New Town is the setting for the quirky tales and 'goings on' of Alexander McCall Smith's much loved characters that feature in his bestselling series of books, 44 Scotland Street.

Bertie Pollok, Edinburgh's most hot housed seven year-old receives a rare respite from his weekly Italian, yoga and psychotherapy sessions. Could it be that his ambitious mother Irene is
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
Nov 14, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 13, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
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
I had been wanting to read something from this series for a while but I don't think I will persist. There are so many characters and although I loved the short chapters, as soon as I got settled into one character's story, off we went to another person. I liked Bertie, the little boy the best. As a side note I do think the author needs to rename some of his characters - calling a young woman Pat seems a bit weird.
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.
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
Feb 04, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Barbara Roden
Feb 14, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan Polep
Nov 20, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 30, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 24, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 21, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 05, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bookcrossing
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.
Nicole Marble
Jun 18, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm hooked - I look forward to every chapter, every character, every detail.
Doug Lewars
Aug 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
*** Possible Spoilers ***

Anyone who has ever heard me rattle on about writing - and my friends have learned to flee at the first sign of this - knows that my principle rant is that if you're going to tell a story then tell a story - which means you have to have a plot. It doesn't necessarily have to be a strong and compelling plot but there has to be one. Simply put, you need something that stretches between page 1 and wherever you wind up. Subplots are fine and, in my opinion, to be encouraged,
May 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Déjà presque six ans depuis ma dernière lecture des chroniques d’Édimbourg ! En commençant ce tome 4, Le monde selon Bertie, je me suis tout de suite retrouvée en terrain connu, avec l’impression de renouer avec de vieux amis ! Comment ai-je pu laisser passer tout ce temps !

Domenica est revenue de son expédition à Malacca et a repris possession de son appartement. À sa grande surprise, son amie Antonia, qu’elle avait hébergée pendant son absence, a acheté l’ancien appartement de Bruce, sur le mê
Maria Thermann
Jun 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Carly Kirk
Aug 03, 2017 rated it liked it
Hm... So in this 4th book in the series I started getting a little ticked off. In the past books there have been minor cliffhanger endings to some (if not most) of the little chapters, which makes total sense because they were each written for a daily newspaper and Mr. Smith wanted to get the readers to keep coming back for more. BUT in this book there are quite a few major cliffhangers which then were not resolved until much later in the book or even not really resolved at all, in that you didn ...more
May 30, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I have adored this series. Until now. Maybe I read them too closely together -- 'though I did so intentionally because the author wrote them as serial short stories for publication in the Scotsman newspaper. And I love the Bertie character, so the title of this installment made me happy (I listen to these on audiobook whilst driving, it's satisfying and diminishes my urges to road rage).

But the whimsical self-absorbed musings of each of the characters -- which is the approach taken in this book
Suzanne Skelly
There is never a dull moment on 44 Scotland Street.
Smith, once again, masterfully deals with everyday Scottish life thru the eyes of a six year old protagonist , Bertie.

Bertie is a prodigy, who happens to have an overbearing mother and mathmatical father and an infant brother Ulysess .
The book deals with the intertwining lives of the people Bertie's life, those in the neighborhood who influence his way of life- classmates, neighbors and even pets of neighbors.

Light Scottish humor throughout.
Tom N
May 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Another one of Alexander McCall Smith's literary gems. This book, #4 of the 44 Scotland Street series, continues the cute and charming story of Bertie. He now has a new little brother, Ulysses, who Bertie hopes will help to distract their pushy and over-protective mother, Irene. It also highlights the humorous events in the lives of Bertie's other friends in this classic novel series. Whether you've read this author's other stories or not, you will enjoy this one. Highly recommend. Loved it!
Wes F
Jun 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Another excellent read in McCall Smith's 44 Scotland Street series--this is Vol. 4. Lots happened to the various characters connect with the 44 Scotland Street apartment--and Bertie, the young & precocious boy who plays sax and speaks Italian, continues to struggle heroically under overbearing plans of his rather eccentric mother.
Jul 23, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
En flok lidt skæve eksistenser i Edinburgh kender hinanden på kryds og tværs. De er interesseret i hinanden - men mest af alt i sig selv. Kønsstereotyperne og fordommene florerer. Trættende i længden.
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Goodreads Librari...: Please add cover image 2 14 May 26, 2017 07:57PM  
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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 (1 - 10 of 12 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 (44 Scotland Street, #8)
  • Bertie's Guide to Life and Mothers (44 Scotland Street, #9)
  • The Revolving Door of Life (44 Scotland Street, #10)
  • The Bertie Project (44 Scotland Street #11)

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“Special things have a way of surviving.” 22 likes
“Do I shock you? I think I do. That’s the problem these days – nobody speaks their mind. No, don’t smile. They really don’t. We’ve been browbeaten into conformity by all sorts of people who tell us what we can and cannot say. Haven’t you noticed it? The tyranny of political correctness. Don’t pass any judgement on anything. Don’t open your trap in case you offend somebody or other.” 8 likes
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