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The Full Cupboard of Life (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency Series #5)

Average Rating 4
( 57 )
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(23)

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(6)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

To anonymous on july 14 2004

HOW DARE YOU SAY SUCH THINGS! According to you all men in this book are either simple, stupid or criminal. What about Mr. JLB Matekoni? And what of Obed Ramotswe? And what of the man who repents his crimes in the Kalahari Typing School for Men? Might I remind you that ...
HOW DARE YOU SAY SUCH THINGS! According to you all men in this book are either simple, stupid or criminal. What about Mr. JLB Matekoni? And what of Obed Ramotswe? And what of the man who repents his crimes in the Kalahari Typing School for Men? Might I remind you that in Morality for Beautiful Girls 2 of the women copeteting in the beauty contest were self centered. The plot line? Part of why this series is so charming is the repetitiin of phrases such as " traditionally built" and " the tiny white van". The slow moving and consistent plot line. As a fellow writer, I can assure you that McCall Smith's writing style is lovely. Why don't you reread the books and consider these truths.

posted by Anonymous on March 12, 2012

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

I read this book (the fifth in a series) somewhat out of sequenc

I read this book (the fifth in a series) somewhat out of sequence, having already read later novels in the series. This meant I already knew the answer to the question posed by Mma Ramotswe at the beginning of the novel. This didn't spoil the enjoyment for me, in fact q...
I read this book (the fifth in a series) somewhat out of sequence, having already read later novels in the series. This meant I already knew the answer to the question posed by Mma Ramotswe at the beginning of the novel. This didn't spoil the enjoyment for me, in fact quite the contrary, as I was quite intrigued to know whether it would be answered in this instalment (and how). I wasn't disappointed.
As with the others in the series, I thought the book a gentle, evocative read, with one case for our detective to get her teeth into, whilst allowing us, the readers, to share more of the lives of the characters created by Alexander McCall Smith.

posted by NinaJon on December 5, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 12, 2012

    To anonymous on july 14 2004

    HOW DARE YOU SAY SUCH THINGS! According to you all men in this book are either simple, stupid or criminal. What about Mr. JLB Matekoni? And what of Obed Ramotswe? And what of the man who repents his crimes in the Kalahari Typing School for Men? Might I remind you that in Morality for Beautiful Girls 2 of the women copeteting in the beauty contest were self centered. The plot line? Part of why this series is so charming is the repetitiin of phrases such as " traditionally built" and " the tiny white van". The slow moving and consistent plot line. As a fellow writer, I can assure you that McCall Smith's writing style is lovely. Why don't you reread the books and consider these truths.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 2, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Such fun to read

    The characters in The #1 Ladies' Detective Agency capture me and the worries of our world disappear. The goodness of Mma Romatswe, Mr J.L.B.Matekoni, Mma Makutsi and others in Gaborone makes me wish for simpler times when people have time to care about and for others. I eagerly await each new volume.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2006

    Lovely Book - But Feminists Beware

    This was our book club's selection for the month of April 2006. Most of us had already read at least a couple of the books in this series, and we decided to read yet another. We chose the fifth book because most of us hadn't already read this one, and with the new installment just published some of us wanted to catch up. Plus, this series embodies what we, as a group, collectively like (fast, engaging reads that aren't burdened with psychosis, brutality, or evil). For anyone who isn't familiar with the series - and I can't imagine there are too many such people! - the books revolve around the life and low-key adventures of Mma Precious Ramotswe, owner of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency in Botswana. Precious and her able assistant, Mma Grace Makutsi (she of the 97% passing grade and extremely large-lensed spectacles), take on a series of cases while Precious also deals with the various goings-on in her life, including her frustratingly long engagement to Mr. J.L.B. Maketoni, who seems unwilling to take the final plunge into the state of marital happiness. Six of our nine members simply adore these books, and THE FULL CUPBOARD OF LIFE was no exception. The other three find the books enjoyable but don't count them among their favorites. We found that all the elements that we so enjoy were equally present in this installment of the series. Smith is simply an elegant writer the simplicity of his prose rivals Hemingway's, but many of us actually expressed a preference for Smith's style. The repetition of key phrases like the 'tiny white van' add to the almost mythological element to the books. Most of all, as a group we tend to enjoy books that are very positive / life-affirming, as we feel that if we want to get depressed or spend time around perverted or evil beings, we can simply watch the evening news or read the newspaper. And you always feel good when you've turned the last page of a No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency book. A large part of our discussion centered around whether or not this book - and the others in the series - are a realistic or an idealized portrait of life in Botswana. In some ways, the books must surely be idealized, in that Mma Ramotswe is of the higher classes. She owns a comfortable home in a nice part of town, and was able to open the agency, as a result of the money her beloved father left her. So, what we see is really an upper-middle class woman's life in Botswana. While there are brief references to the challenges faced by the people, these are quite fleeting. For example, one of our members pointed out that the incidence of AIDS in Botswana is extremely high, one of the highest in the world - and yet there is no mention of this crisis. (Mma Makutsi's brother, who is living with AIDS, was featured in a previous book, but that theme was dropped.) We also felt that in Smith's world, the people tend to be drawn both subtly and in black and white. That sounds paradoxical, but it isn't. Smith does seem to divide his characters into two camps: basically quite good and moral, though perhaps suffering from an occasional peccadillo or quite bad, debauched, or dishonest. None of us feel that this a flaw in the book indeed, that sort of simplicity is what keeps us returning - the message of these books is always the same: It's better to choose to be a good human being than a bad one, and we all know the difference between good and bad. (The villains in these books are always willfully bad, which makes them all the more unsympathetic.) While the plots of the Smith books are never pulse-pounding or heart-racing, we felt the subplots in this installment were probably the weakest of the series so far. But this wasn't a problem, except for two of us, who like a little more suspense. (The majority of us felt that the subplot of Mr. Maketoni's parachute jump was very much a stretch, and required more suspension of disbelief that we are accustomed to from this series.)

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 5, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    I read this book (the fifth in a series) somewhat out of sequenc

    I read this book (the fifth in a series) somewhat out of sequence, having already read later novels in the series. This meant I already knew the answer to the question posed by Mma Ramotswe at the beginning of the novel. This didn't spoil the enjoyment for me, in fact quite the contrary, as I was quite intrigued to know whether it would be answered in this instalment (and how). I wasn't disappointed.
    As with the others in the series, I thought the book a gentle, evocative read, with one case for our detective to get her teeth into, whilst allowing us, the readers, to share more of the lives of the characters created by Alexander McCall Smith.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 23, 2012

    Good read

    This is my firstbok to read by Alexander McCall Smith and I am a fan. I appreciate being able to connect with the characters while reading this out of sequence. I love his writing style and voice. I cannot wait to read more.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 22, 2012

    Thoroughly enjoyable!

    I love the pace of the stories and have read most of the series. It takes one to a place where one has the time to appreciate the little things of life.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 7, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Great read! -wonderful series.

    The first book in this series was given to me and now I must read them all! I love the characters and Alexander McCalls ability to describe a scene so I feel that I'm in Africa with them. I'll be sad half way through the last book, but for now I look forward to every minute.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 22, 2012

    Very good.

    I enjoyed the whole series.

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  • Posted January 30, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    No. 1 Ladies is No. 1

    A friend recommended this series of books to me years ago. Last year I finally got around to reading them and love their quirky style. The stories are light hearted but there is an underlieing darkness to the stories as well. The characters are well written and so delightful I wish I lived in Africa, next door to the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency and could have tea with Mma Ramotswe and her friends. This is a series that really needs to be read in order, but the books do stand alone as well. HBO has done a TV series that is very faithful to the books. Alexander McCall Smith is a delightful writer with a warm and very human style.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2009

    Can't Stop Reading!

    The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency Series is very captivating. The descriptions of the environment make you feel like you're actually in Botswana. It's possible that I may never physically travel to Africa, but in my mind I've been there 9 times so far!

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  • Posted July 8, 2009

    One of my favorite series

    The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series is a very consistently written series of books. Only the first in the series concentrated more on personal background of the characters than the current story line. I love this series for its insight into another culture and a more pristine outlook on human nature than what is possible in our overly complicated way of life in the US. Each book presents another story of ethics meets reality. This book is no different. Precious does her best to do what is 'right' in order to correct the problem rather than punishing the wrongdoer. With each book, we get to know the characters, and the character of Botswana, better and better. I look forward to the next in the series.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 28, 2009

    Addictive Reading

    This book and the others in this series are addictive once you begin with the 1st one. The Full Cupboard of Life is full of charm set in the humble setting of an African Village where life's problems, enjoyments are often the same world wide. Day to day life, day to day problems, but experienced by delightful characters who turn day to day into fun for the reader. I recommend this and the previous 4 in the series, all of which I've read. I'm now on Book 6 which continues to be delighful reading.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 22, 2007

    Enjoyable

    I love these books, i don't care what anyone says!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 31, 2005

    A beautiful read

    An entertaining read though not as entertaining as the previous novels. Dwelling more on character building, it will certainly serve to build on further stories in the series. I particularly liked the gentle humor and wisdom in the novel. A recommended read though, along with titles like:

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 26, 2004

    Not enough going on... and way too short

    I LOVED all the previous books in this series. I think they were all intriguing and lovely. My parents read all of them just after me and agree completely. However, this one falls way short. It focuses too much on her personal life and there is barely any detective work going on. I still enjoy the way he writes and I hope his future books are more similar to his past books and not like this one. I give this one a big YAWN.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 13, 2004

    This Series is Going Downhill FAST!

    Unfortuntely, this is the first unfavorable review I have written for a book. The first book in the series, 'The Number 1 Ladies Detective Agency' was a true pleasure. Each book gets progressively worse. The author continuously repeats himself over and over again with very little story line. How many times can one read the same thing? The author makes SURE that if you didn't read the first four books in the series, that there is not one insignificant character or plot point that you have missed. I think my biggest complaint about this book is that ALL men are portrayed as either simple, stupid, or criminal. Only women are intelligent and delight in the ways that they can manipulate such simple and stupid men. What was once charming as the series began, is now downright frustrating.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 27, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 16, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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