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The Forever Girl Hardcover – February 11, 2014


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Pantheon; First Edition edition (February 11, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307908259
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307908254
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (187 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #197,835 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Until roughly 15 years ago, with the breakaway success of his No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series, McCall Smith was a professor of medical law and ethics at the University of Edinburgh. His training in and fascination with ethics, especially concerning lying and deception, are much in evidence here. This stand-alone novel could almost be used as an extended case study on the staggering effects any lie or deception may have, no matter how seemingly justifiable. On the surface, the novel is a contemporary love story, actually two, or maybe one and a half, since unrequited love is a big question mark throughout. The two points of view are those of a tennis mom and her teen daughter, who live in the tax haven of Grand Cayman Island. Both mother and daughter confront the kind of passion that McCall Smith presents as just happening, like the weather. But then what happens? The fascinating core of the book tackles this question, with McCall Smith tracing choices, zeroing in especially on the mother’s choices and their unintended consequences. The fallout is heightened by being entirely believable. The novel moves from Grand Cayman to Scotland and then to Australia and Singapore without losing focus. What may seem like an ordinary love tangle is a very rich stew of contemporary mores and a great stage for both comedy and heartbreak. --Connie Fletcher

Review

“What may seem like an ordinary love tangle is a very rich stew of contemporary mores and a great stage for both comedy and heartbreak.” —Booklist (starred review)

“Touchingly conceived. . . . In the end we see that love unfulfilled still makes a difference.” —Library Journal

Praise for Alexander McCall Smith:

“McCall Smith’s generous writing and dry humor, his gentleness and humanity, and his ability to evoke a place and a set of characters without caricature or condescension have endeared his books to readers.” —The New York Times
 
“McCall Smith’s novels are beautifully precise and psychologically acute.” —The Independent (London)
 
“A vivid observer and an elegant writer.” —The Plain Dealer
 
“A virtuoso storyteller.” —The Scotsman
 
“A writer who charms many readers . . . McCall Smith’s characters are well-drawn and alive.”  —Providence Journal
 
“McCall Smith’s accomplished novels [are] dependent on small gestures redolent with meaning and main characters blessed with pleasing personalities . . . These novels are gentle probes into the mysteries of human nature.” —Newsday


More About the Author

Alexander McCall Smith was born in what is now Zimbabwe and taught law at the University of Botswana. He is now Professor of Medical Law at the University of Edinburgh. He has written more than fifty books, including a number of specialist titles, but is best known for The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, which has achieved bestseller status on four continents. In 2004 he was awarded British Book Awards Author of the Year and Booksellers Association Author of the Year. He lives in Scotland, where in his spare time he is a bassoonist in the RTO (Really Terrible Orchestra).

Customer Reviews

I thought the character was weak and the story line dragged on way too long.
Kathy
Alexander McCall Smith is one of my favorite authors so of course I eagerly look forward towards any book he puts out.
Deborah Verlen
While usually I like this sort of thing from this author, this book just did not do it for me.
Avid Mystery Reader

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Catherine Ventura Merkel on February 16, 2014
Format: Hardcover
As a big fan of Alexander McCall Smith, I really loved the majority of this book. However, without giving it away, the ending was unexpected but not in a good way. It just felt incomplete and abrupt, like he got tired of the dynamic tension throughout the book. As another review said, the behavior of James, the lifelong childhood friend and target of Clover's unrequited love, at the end is inconsistent with his previous behaviors. I was hoping to love the book and was hoping for a nice surprise at the end, but it fell flat. There are so many other more interesting ways the author could have ended.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Ginger on February 15, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Disappointing as Smith`s novels go...the behavior of James throughout the story is not warranted in the ending...I was expecting his hesitancy to be explained by his mother telling him that Clover`s mother had an affair with his father...loved all of Smith`s previous works but this one is flat.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Helen Adams on February 16, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I thought Clover's obsession with James was simply annoying. There was nothing in Jame's character that warranted such devotion and as a result the ending felt very flat to me. I did enjoy the discriptions of Cayman and Scotland and the juxtaposition of the two areas. Normally I am a fan of Mccall Smith but this book disappointed me.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Terri J. Rice TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 27, 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Alexander McCall Smith has been hit and miss with me. I loved The No. 1 Ladies' Detective series, but I thought the Professor Dr von Igelfeld books were just okay. I like Isabel Dalhousie series but found 44 Scotland Street insufferable.

The Forever Girl started out well and was intriguing. The Grand Cayman setting made the story exotic. McCall Smith has a way of getting to the truth of his characters.

But dang it, round about page 200 of 316 it just d-r-a-g-g-e-d. I didn't care about Clover, I didn't care about James, I didn't care about Amanda and her fling, no one. It grew trite, silly and insipid.

I really wanted to like another Alexander McCall Smith book.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By robertafh on March 9, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Alexander McCall Smith is one of my favorite authors but this book was disappointing. As always his own beautiful character and philosophy of life together with his elegant words are a delight but I found the story of Clover and James to be totally unrealistic. All of the characters, with the exception of Amanda, and possibly Ted, seem to be contrived. It is difficult, even for the most romantic reader to accept their behavior except as a complete fantasy. Perhaps I am alone in this opinion.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Anita Lienert on March 25, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I am a great fan of Alexander McCall Smith, but I was disappointed with The Forever Girl. It suffers from too much repetition, with the same points being made over and over again. The ending was syrupy sweet and not at all realistic. I had the terrible feeling that the author went on a trip to the Caribbean and had to justify the expense by writing a short novel about the place. Talk about phoning it in.
You would be better served by rereading some Jane Austen.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Jina on May 8, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
A young girl falls in love with her neighbor when they are both 12 years old. He never treats her as anything but a friend in return.They go to boarding schools in different countries at age 14, then attend college in different counties as well. Over the years between ages 14-22, she sees him only 4 or 5 times. They rarely correspond, and he never treats her in any way other than as a brother treats a sister. He even tells her that she is like the sister he never had. Despite this, she spends a huge amount of her time obsessing about how much she loves this guy. If someone has had only 4 or 5 short public contacts with someone over 8 years of time, they can't possibly know the person anymore, especially enough to love the person more than anyone in the world. She makes makes no effort to get close to anyone else, or follow any personal dreams. She just obsesses about how much she loves this guy, and how much she wishes he loved her. When the ending come, what happens is totally implausible. Then, after the implausible thing occurs, the book ends with all the details left up in the air. This is one of the most irritating books ever.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By D. O'Connor on April 10, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Have loved this author for years but was unimpressed by this offering. I felt the plot was lost in the middle and the outcome was very predictable. In truth I was a bit bored by the book but stayed with it hoping it would improve .......pity
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