Sunday, January 29, 2006

50BC06#3: The Full Cupboard of Life

BOOK REVIEW: Alexander McCall Smith The Full Cupboard of Life (No. 5 in The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series)
50 Book Challenge #3

One of the best parts of Alexander McCall Smith’s series is that each book improves in terms of character definition and advancing the plot. Book 5 integrates Precious Ramotswe with the other characters in a more realistic and intriguing way. The author hints at the distinctions we must draw between manipulation and persuasion (in the character of Mma Potokwane), fear and caution (with Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni’s never-ending engagement to Mma Ramotswe), and speaking one’s mind and biting one’s tongue (aptly expressed in the character of Mma Makutsi.)
Fans of the series who may by this time be frustrated with a lack of resolution to certain issues, will be slightly pacified in this book. McCall Smith highlights some of the more minor, yet regular, characters, filing out the world of Mma Ramotswe’s Botswana. This book manages to be endearing without the sense of condescension that some complain about with the first book. By Book 3, the author seems to have pulled up his proverbial chair and can now dialogue comfortably with his characters. The Full Cupboard of Life continues this trend and promises to bring the story to an enriching and delightful end in the final two books of the series.

Posted here on 9/8/08, original post from 1/29/06

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