Wednesday, May 3, 2017

My Italian Bulldozer

Change. Frequent readers of any books by Alexander McCall Smith will find some common elements in his stand alone novel titled, My Italian Bulldozer. There’s great optimism, a philosophy rooted in goodness and kindness, and joy in living. Protagonist Paul Stewart is a food writer whose girlfriend dumped him for a relationship with her personal trainer. Bummed by this change, he accepts his editor’s advice that he should finish his Tuscany book onsite. After his rental car experience becomes entangled in Italian bureaucracy, he accepts the kindness of a new acquaintance who secures him the last available vehicle to rent: a bulldozer. Paul accepts the change with a spirit of adventure, and the novel continues to riff on the ways in which change transforms us. A dose of Smith’s philosophy appears in a reflection on p.229: “Sometimes, you know, good things have to be done – they just have to be done. And most of us – myself included – are too timid to do them. Fortunately, there are brave people who are prepared to take the risk, who do those things, often in such a way that nobody can see them. They say, The world doesn’t have to be the way it is, we can change it. That’s what they say – and then they do it.” As always, I finished a Smith novel feeling wonderful about human nature and all that is good in the world. Rating: Four-star (I like it) Click here to purchase My Italian Bulldozer from

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