Friday, April 20, 2012

Welcome back, Precious!

The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection is the 13th book in Alexander McCall Smith's No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series.  This makes me very happy.  I love this series, and I ADORE the main character and first ever lady detective in Botswana, Precious Ramotswe.

In this latest installment injustices abound, and Mma Ramotswe must prove the innocence of Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors' best apprentice, (wrongfully accused of dealing in stolen cars), tackle corruption at the local orphan farm, and solve the mystery of too many bricks ordered for Grace and Phuti's dream house. In the midst of all this turmoil arrives an uninvited but much welcome guest, who proves to be a timely blessing to all.

It is a talented writer who can take you back to the same place multiple times and leave you with the same feelings of regret when the story comes to an end.  I never tire of visiting Precious Ramotswe's beloved Botswana, a place I now feel at home, even though I have never actually been. Thank goodness for Smith's beautiful and charming writing. I know I won't have to wait long for the next one!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Descendants

If I was handed an open-ended plane ticket to any destination in the world, I would choose Hawaii every time.  I've been to the Caribbean and the Mediterranean, and I know there are many more beautiful places to visit, but there is something special about Hawaii.  The comparatively easy 5 hour direct flight from San Diego to Maui may be part of its appeal, but the soft tropical air, gorgeous scenery, beautiful music, delectable dishes and the lovely Hawaiian people speak to my soul.  (I'm NOT being over-dramatic. I really do love it!!) In fact, unlike most vacations when I'm anxious to get back home at the end, it's the one place I am never ready to leave. But that's the thing about vacations: they are not reality, and if I lived in Hawaii I might feel a little differently.

The Descendants by Kaui Hart Hemmings is the story of regular and not-so-regular people making difficult decisions in the middle of this paradise. The King family has had the good luck to be the descendants of Hawaiian royalty, and the heirs to the last large parcel of undeveloped land on the island of Kauai. Matt King has been given sole control in deciding how the land will be used and who the buyer will be, and his large extended family is anxiously awaiting his decision.  The problem is Matt is just a little distracted.  His wife is in a coma caused by a speed boat accident, his ten-year-old daughter is cyber-bullying her friends, and his 18-year-old daughter is at boarding school in lieu of detox. Not to mention he suspects his wife was having an affair. Obviously he is not feeling the "Aloha Spirit"...

"Shut this off,"  I tell Scottie.  She finishes pasting the picture into her book then turns off the television with the remote.  "No, I mean this."  I point to the stuff in the window-the sun and trees, the birds on the  grass hopping from crumb to crumb thrown by tourists and crazy ladies.  "Turn this off.  It's horrible."  The tropics make it difficult to mope.  I bet in big cities you can walk down the street scowling and  no one will ask you what's wrong or encourage you to smile, but everyone here has the attitude that we're lucky to live in Hawaii; paradise reigns supreme.  I think paradise can go #@$% itself.

But life goes on for Matt and his girls, and big and little tasks must be tackled amongst the flotsam and jetsam of their lives.

I LOVED The Descendants, both the book AND the movie.  It very deservedly won the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, and it should have won Best Picture.  Oh, and George Clooney got robbed.  That's all I have to say about that, Forrest Gump.

Aloha for now...
Mary Kay