My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Time taken to read - 2 days
Pages - 325
Publisher - Abacus
Source - Bought after seeing Smith at Edinburgh Book Festival
Blurb from Goodreads
44 SCOTLAND STREET - Book 1
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.
Welcome to 44 Scotland Street, home to some of Edinburgh's most colorful characters. There's Pat, a twenty-year-old who has recently moved into a flat with Bruce, an athletic young man with a keen awareness of his own appearance. Their neighbor, Domenica, is an eccentric and insightful widow. In the flat below are Irene and her appealing son Bertie, who is the victim of his mother’s desire for him to learn the saxophone and italian–all at the tender age of five.
Love triangles, a lost painting, intriguing new friends, and an encounter with a famous Scottish crime writer are just a few of the ingredients that add to this delightful and witty portrait of Edinburgh society, which was first published as a serial in The Scotsman newspaper.
For reasons unknown I thought this was going to be a crime book lmao, I know I know I am a riot. Anyways welcome to 44 Scotland Street, Edinburgh. Flats where we meet Irene, an overbearing mother who is intent on getting the best/most for her five year old genius Bertie and nothing will get in her way. Pat has just moved into the flat and Bruce shows her about, attractive Bruce and by lord does he know it! Domenica is her neighbour across the way, widow, flashy, down to earth and fabulous. We also meet Matthew, owner of and art gallery and knows hee haw about anything really, his father uses his wealth to acquire jobs for him to keep him "busy" and Pat is now working with him but she actually knows a thing or two about art.
It is really a voyeurs book, you get to nosey into these characters mundane lives, who they are as people and how they judge others and themselves. Smith pokes fun at the hoity toity Edinburgh attitudes and self importance. By God that Irene is a nightmare, Bruce is so vain and shallow, I thought Domenica was fab and a well known author pops up in the book too.
There are wee drawn pictures in the book which I quite liked, you don't see that in a lot of books so it is nice when it pops up.
The stories themselves, it is a bit like watching the Royal Family (comedy tv show with Ralph Little) about "normal" people and their everyday lives. Nothing huge happens yet you are compelled to keep reading especially when they get themselves into a bit of a pickle. Daft decisions or actions you easily read thinking oh dear lord why did they do that or what will happen next. A good introduction to these characters and I want to see what happens next so book two was ordered just as I finished this one! 3.5/5 for me this time, witty, funny, silly a book type version of friends but instead of a group of boy/girl friends we have very different people in neighbouring flats and following their lives as they judge/interact with each other.