Book Review: The Lost Art of Gratitude by Alexander McCall Smith

January 28, 2014

The Lost Art of Gratitude by Alexander McCall Smith was my first Isabel Dalhousie novel (but the sixth in the series), a philosopher who pontificates about the mundane and lives in her own private hell where every word, gesture and movement has to be thought about, absorbed and dissected.

  • 272 pages
  • Publisher: Pantheon
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375425144
Book Review The Lost Art of Gratitude by Alexander McCall Smith
My rating for The Lost Art of Gratitude – 3
Buy this book in paper or electronic format
I am not one for starting to read a series of books in the middle, I simply heard of this book and when I saw it I picked it up. I should have done my homework better is this is book number six in the series.

The book, even though a quick read, is very slow to present itself. It takes about 60 pages before the plot starts and about 220 pages before anything remotely interesting (plot wise) is happening. That being said, I did not find the book boring. The characters and their interactions are interesting; Isabel’s pontifications are poignant, funny and thought provoking.

I could give you a rundown of the weak plot, but it’s not that interesting and is not the main point of the novel, or was it what grabbed me and made me finish the book. The story is about a 40 year old woman, a philosopher who struggles to be happy while trying not to whip herself too hard (figuratively speaking), has a soft heart and a habit of getting involved in matters which she knows she should avoid. The story takes place in the charming village of Edinburgh, Scotland which is just as much a character as any other person in the book and has many subplots which allows Ms. Dalhousie to enlighten herself about the human condition.

The world this book takes place is funny, gentle where trouble and suffering are there, but not take precedence over the race for happiness and the dodge ball one has to play from friends, family and adversaries alike.

I gave The Lost Art of Gratitude three stars, I’m sure that it would have been higher if I would have read the series from the start.

Zohar — Man of la Book
Dis­claimer:I got this book from the local library.
*Ama­zon links point to an affil­i­ate account

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One Comment

  • Alex BaughJanuary 28, 2014 at 10:23 am

    I like his original mystery series that takes place in Africa, but I could never get into this series and now, after your lukewarm feeling about this book, I don’t think I will even bother to try any more. Thanks for saving me some money and some reading time.

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