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The Importance of Being Seven | [Alexander McCall Smith]

The Importance of Being Seven

Perhaps best known for his No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series, #1 New York Times best-selling author Alexander McCall Smith delights fans around the world with his warmhearted 44 Scotland Street novels. In the series’ sixth entry, the residents of 44 Scotland Street grapple with problems both trivial and severe, but none so great as when six-year-old Bertie Pollock - who longs to be seven - mislays his mum and learns a valuable lesson about wish fulfillment.
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Publisher's Summary

Perhaps best known for his No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series, #1 New York Times best-selling author Alexander McCall Smith delights fans around the world with his warmhearted 44 Scotland Street novels. In the series’ sixth entry, the residents of 44 Scotland Street grapple with problems both trivial and severe, but none so great as when six-year-old Bertie Pollock - who longs to be seven - mislays his mum and learns a valuable lesson about wish fulfillment.

©2010 Alexander McCall Smith  (P)2012 Recorded Books

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (293 )
5 star
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4.2 (253 )
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4.5 (251 )
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Benedict 08-31-12
    Benedict 08-31-12 Member Since 2003

    Benedict

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Beyond touching"

    Alexander McCall Smith is perhaps my favorite living author of fiction.

    This latest book is one of his most moving and touching, I think. Mr. Smith's sense of humanity is so uplifting it leaves me a little weepy by the end of the book.

    I highly recommend this book particularly for anyone who would like a little warmth and humanity, which is so hard to find in literature these days let alone the world.

    13 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sharon San Francisco, CA, United States 09-25-12
    Sharon San Francisco, CA, United States 09-25-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I want to move to 44 Scotland Street!"
    Where does The Importance of Being Seven rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Hard to place it--I love all the 44 Scotland Street books (and many others)


    What does Robert Ian Mackenzie bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    I love his intonations which change depending upon the character. And, of course, his accent helps make the story more Scottish.


    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Scott Moss Beach, CA, United States 10-30-12
    Scott Moss Beach, CA, United States 10-30-12 Member Since 2008

    Wine, food and travel writer, editor, and aspiring novelist.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Like visiting with old friends"
    Would you listen to The Importance of Being Seven again? Why?

    Yes, I actually have listened to parts of it again. I'm fascinated by the way in which McCall Smith effortlessly weaves philosophy into the story.


    What other book might you compare The Importance of Being Seven to and why?

    Since this is a series, it can be compared with any of the other books in the series. As in other series (take Ann B Ross's Miss Julia series, for instance) the characters are recurring, and half the fun is in finding out how they've progressed from the last book.


    What does Robert Ian Mackenzie bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    I have read some of the books, as opposed to listening to them. I find the audible versions tend to put me more convincingly in Edinburgh. Robert Ian Mackenzie can turn on a Scotch brogue in a way I can't. He's particularly effective as Angus Lordie.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Many laughs, many smiles. Maybe even a tear or two.


    Any additional comments?

    I love the way he sees the world through his characters' eyes, be it six-year-old Bertie, or Cyril the dog, or the twenty-something Matthew. These are well-delineated characters. Too many fictional characters are caricatures. McCall Smith's characters are wonderfully low key, each with his or her own limitations and self-perceptions, navigating a world filled with other human beings with their own foibles — people who are narcissistic, overbearing, dishonest, self-deluded, self-sacrificing, gullible, hopeful, sad, funny and sweet. They each come with the sort of mild eccentricities and self-doubt that you'll recognize in members of your own family. In other words, they're believable.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jennifer Ottawa, Ontario, Canada 04-15-13
    Jennifer Ottawa, Ontario, Canada 04-15-13 Member Since 2011

    Jennifer B.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Blissful Bertie"

    Just buy this book. Please. It is beyond wonderful, totally adorable in so many ways. I loved it.

    Bertie, a small boy about to turn 7 years old, is lumbered with one very strange, over-bearing mother, and a well-meaning, but ineffectual father. He's a bright boy, who is forced into fulfilling his mother's ambitions, but who longs to be a regular boy. In this book, he finally finds true happiness for a short period of time. This book will bring joy to your heart.

    This is a serial novel, and Bertie is only one of many interesting characters. Very highly recommended.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    E. Pearson Idaho 01-16-13
    E. Pearson Idaho 01-16-13 Member Since 2008

    Occasional Thinker

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I Never Get Tired of these Books!"

    The Scotland Street series just gets better with each new addition. The only very slight criticism I can come up with is that most issues get a little too easily addressed by the end; still, there is the unsolved--as yet--worry I carry about Bertie and his very odd mother, and the somewhat benign concern that Bruce will never truly reform, so the series never becomes tiresome. I am so spoiled by Alex. Smith's storytelling that--even though I have a fairly full library of as yet unread books--I keep coming back and checking to see if there's another Scotland Street sequel for me to try. I laughed out loud many times as I listened to this one, and could hardly wait for a new opportunity to keep going.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Maureen McDaniel 10-05-12
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    "Another McCall Smith winner"

    The only problem with any of books in the the 44 Scotland Series is that they end.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lynne 10-08-13
    Lynne 10-08-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Delicious"

    Oh how I revel in the daily lives of the folk who live in the vicinity of Scotland Street! Poor benighted Bertie dealing with his horrific mother and demonstrating great insight into baby Ulysses' allergic reaction to her, insecure Matthew (How will he and Elspeth ever cope? Hopefully AMS will tell us in another episode soon), Cyril - the wonder dog, Angus, Domenica, and of course the indomitable Big Lou - how I enjoy them all. Full of gentle wit and cutting humor both, this book is a delight so cleverly written, as are all in this series.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carol CHAPEL HILL, NC, United States 01-07-13
    Carol CHAPEL HILL, NC, United States 01-07-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Another great one from McCall Smith."
    What made the experience of listening to The Importance of Being Seven the most enjoyable?

    The narrarator did a great job of giving voice to all the characters.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Oh my, the trip to Italy! You won't want to miss this.


    Any additional comments?

    I can't wait to listen to more. It makes drives go by so quickly.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    K. C. King Los Angeles, CA USA 10-30-14
    K. C. King Los Angeles, CA USA 10-30-14 Member Since 2014
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    "where is the plot?"
    What disappointed you about The Importance of Being Seven?

    There is no plot to speak of, and it's a bit treacly.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    Jane Smiley's Some Luck


    What aspect of Robert Ian Mackenzie’s performance would you have changed?

    Faster pace


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    Good descriiptions, occasional good moments of dialogue.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    AudioAddict 10-18-14
    AudioAddict 10-18-14

    I can find a book to love in any genre -- a beautifully written classic, an interesting mystery or sci-fi, a trashy romance. Bring it!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Good book, but not what I expected"

    STORY (fiction) - This story takes place in Scotland, sometime near the present day. When I bought this book, I was expecting a heartwarming family-oriented story about a six-year-old child. There is that component to the story and it's very sweet (Bertie and his overbearing mother), but there's two other story lines of equal importance -- a story about some newlyweds and another about two women vying for the attention of one man. The stories are all basically about navigating through life's various ups and downs, and there's lots of character development. I almost returned this book after about an hour or so of listening to it because there wasn't enough going on to hold my interest, but I persevered. Soon I became involved with the characters and their various personal journeys.

    PERFORMANCE - Good job.

    OVERALL - Recommended for adults only. Even though there's no sex or profanity, children would find it boring. It's part of a series, but the story stands alone. This book is basically rambling around in the daily lives of richly developed characters. I prefer a little more "going on" in books so I won't be continuing with the series, but I enjoyed this book nonetheless.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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