The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party Audio CD
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Top Customer Reviews
In this delightful series, the best books are filled with examples of love and kindness in which there is no self-seeking. Over time, the stories gradually drifted into lots of satire into the foolishness of those who chase after modern ways and material success. This book brings the series back to its roots as Mma Precious Ramotswe deals with love from many different angles: loving a neighbor, the love of men and women for one another, love between parents and children, the dangers of lusting after the opposite sex and beautiful things, and the joys of being contented with the simple things in life. As each aspect of the story unfolds, there's a heartwarming grace to the development that will leave you feeling a gentle kindness enveloping you.
Still, there are many humorous moments to bring a smile to your face and an occasional chuckle: Mma Makutsi trying to hide a foolish mistake, seeking to blunt Violet Sephotho's ambition from taking on a new dimension, "ghost" appearances of a white van, and Mma Ramotswe finding it difficult to sort out the truth in a situation where several people are lying.
I felt uplifted by and grateful for having the opportunity to read this gentle book.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
When I first heard about the series, it was on book 6. It worked out well, because I had so many books to read without having to wait. Now, I am all caught up, so the year between books seems like a very long time. It is like having to wait before getting to see an old friend again - well, the old friend in this case has come back for a visit!
Besides the more obvious things like the great characters in the series - after a while they seem like you actually know them as you would real people - what I really liked about the series is the detail about Botswana and life there. And so much of it is positive, unlike so much of what you hear about Africa these days. The books also teach many lessons useful to people everywhere, but from a Botswana/African perspective that can really shine a light where it needs to shine sometimes.
The first book was especially good in portraying the Botswana background and viewpoint - I assume accuracy here as the author lived there a long time. The author seemed to move away from this as the series progressed; a disappointment for me, even though the books were still interesting. The good news is that I think the author is headed back in the right direction here with the last few books.
As an aside, the TV series is great too; last time I looked into the matter, it does not look like the series with continue into a second season, but there is talk of a movie which is better than nothing. Most of the characters in the TV series were about as I had pictured them from the book - the main exception being Mma Makutsi. The actress that played her did a great job though; she just looked a little different from how I had pictured her from the book.
Now on to the new book itself. I am happy to see that this new book stays closer to the series roots in many respects showing us some more about the real Botswana. The overall plot seems very vigorous too. I won't go into that too much as readers usually like a surprise, but here's a look at main story lines in the new book without giving things away.
Remember the tiny white van that Mma Precious Ramotswe has been so attached to in the series? It is gone, but she is seeing visions of it. Hmm, that sounds like an interesting phenomenon. Where will this go? You'll have to read the book to find out.
At a cattle post, two cows have been killed, and Mma Ramotswe is asked to investigate. Lots of suspects as it turns out, making it a challenge for our favorite Botswanan lady detective. Does she solve the mystery? No spoilers here, you'll have to read the book to find out.
One of Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni's apprentices may have gotten a girl pregnant; he runs away when pressure builds to marry her. Will those young men ever finish their apprenticeships and stay out of trouble?
The "villianess", Violet Sephotho, is back. Remember her? She did horribly at the secretarial college when Mma Makutsi was there and shows up now and then to make poor Grace miserable. Anyway, Violet is running for the Botswana Parliament. They'd have to be desperate to elect her. What is up with this? Well, you'll have to open up the book to find out.
And a perfect pair of wedding shoes - series fans will be pretty sure that the "shoephile" Mma Makutsi must be involved with those. Will Phuti Radiphuti finally marry Grace? The title of the book seems to refer to a wedding happening, but will it be Grace's or for the run away apprentice? Again, I won't tell here - you'll have to read the book.
Lots of interesting things are in store for readers here. I hope that series fans will come back and read this latest book, meet favorite characters again, be entertained, and learn something about Botswana and life in general as well.
Meanwhile, Mma Ramotswe has never quite gotten over the loss of her beloved little white van. Although she is now driving a new blue van, she cannot help but remember that her original vehicle was a treasured companion with its own unique personality. One day, she is shocked to see someone else driving her little white van. Surely she is imagining things, since no less a mechanic than her husband had declared that to restore the white van would require a "miracle-worker." Another matter preoccupying Mma Ramotswe is a case involving the destruction of cattle belonging to her new client, Mr. Botsalo Moeti. In Botswana, where cattle are greatly valued, this is a serious crime. Who could hate Mr. Moeti enough to commit such a foul deed? In addition, Charlie, the ne'er-do-well perpetual apprentice who works for Mr. Matekoni, has always had a way with the ladies. However, is he man enough to live up to his personal responsibilities? Grace and Precious are determined to make him do so.
McCall Smith enthralls us with this tender and often humorous tale in which the gentle spirit of his characters shines through. With his delicate and beautifully etched prose, perfectly pitched dialogue, and understanding of the need we all have for love, respect, and acceptance, the author casts his usual spell. We can almost feel the strong rays of the sun and see the brilliant stars twinkling in the Botswana sky. Furthermore, we cannot help but appreciate Mma Ramotswe's unerring tact, common sense, and adherence to the old ways; Mr. Matekoni's kindness and integrity; and Grace's pride in a job well done. "The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party" is a delightful slice of life, with heroes, villains, and people who are a bit of both, all trying to get along in a difficult and sometimes bewildering world. It is charmingly whimsical and as satisfying as a cup of freshly brewed red bush tea.
It is a bad sign and discouraging to a reader when an author forgets previous details in a series. In this novel, he has Mr. Matekoni express doubt that women can or would want to be mechanics. And yet his own daughter showed herself very much interested and promising in this area when she was first introduced to us. AMS has never followed up on this. The children do not even make an appearance in this novel.