Friday, December 3, 2010
Tears of the Giraffe by Alexander McCall Smith
Tears of the Giraffe charts the adventures of Precious Ramotswe, Botswana’s only and finest female private detective. It’s going to take all her intuition and eminent sensibility for Precious to crack her hardest case yet : the decade-old disappearance of an American on the edge of Kalahari. And if that wasn’t enough, there are plenty of matters closer to home to concern her: her highly talented secretary, Mma Makutsi, eager to be promoted to detective, the unscrupulous maid of her husband-to-be, the wonderful Mr J.L.B.Matakoni and the sudden and unexpected increase in her family by not one but two.
The book is slightly bigger than the normal paperback but smaller than trade paperback so I’m not sure what it’s called at this size. At only 230+ pages, it’s an excellent book to bring when travelling as it will not take up a lot of space and weight.
I quite like Tears of the Giraffe. I don’t love it but finds it very refreshing to read about another culture other than then normal western based culture. I am not sure if generally the good people of Botswana address each other in practically full name or it’s just this book. I can’t get over the fact that Mr J.L.B. Matakoni is being address as Mr J.L.B. Matakoni throughout the book even by Precious Ramotswe and he was her future husband!
I also like the culture implications of having hired help is to ensure that those who are not so well off are taken care of by society by being employed. And if you can afford it but still do not employ hired helps, you are perceived as being not socially responsible. Let me quote from the book : ‘It was inconsiderate not to have a gardener if you were in a well-paid white-collar job. It was a social duty to employ domestic staff, who were readily available and desperate for work. Wages were low, but at least the system created jobs. If everyone with a job had a maid, then that was food going into the mouths of the maids and their children. If everybody did their own housework and tended their own gardens, then what were the people who were maids and gardeners to do?’ Wow! I never thought of the honourable aspect of employing hired help.
But one thing will never change in any part of the world and in any circumstance are that diamonds will always, let me emphasise, always be a girl’s best friend! Mr J.L.B. Matakoni seems to think that just because Precious Ramotswe is different as she is a detective, she would not think it’s necessary to have a diamond ring. Well, he’s wrong. Even though he might think that it’s a waste of money even though the ring it’s for a special occasion, she, like every other female thinks that they are essential when one gets engaged! Haha...I really enjoy reading the conversation they had on buying her an engagement diamond ring. But she does show her true value when she requested for a non showy small modest diamond ring. What a woman!
Anyway, Tears of the Giraffe wasn’t exceptionally exciting but it was an enjoyable read. Next up is The Kalahari Typing School for Men.