This is book two of "The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency" and it is at a much speedier pace then the series. But, oh how I enjoyed it. Mma. Ramotswe and Mr. J.L.B. are engaged and taken in a brother and sister who are orphans. The girl is in a wheelchair and has a love for all things engine, which surprises, but please Mr. J.L.B. (even if he wished it was the boy who had the mechanical aptitude). This is just another example of how the author plays with gender roles, being both appreciative of the place for tradition but also the place for breaking the glass ceiling (so Mma. Makutsi!)
Page 63: Mma. Ramostwe is thinking about forgiveness, which leads her to Mandela: "But at last, when he had walked out of prison on that breathless, luminous day day, he had said nothing about revenge and retribution. He had said there were more important things to do than complain about in the past, and in time he had shown that he meant this by hundreds of acts of kindness towards those who had treated him badly. That was the real African way, the tradition that was closest to the heart of Africa. We are all children of Africa, and none of us is better or more important than the other."
Page 83, Mr. J.L.B. is thinking about becoming a foster parent and reflecting on the man who influenced him. "It was easy to make a difference to other people's lives, so easy to change the little room in which people lived their life."
Page 122 "If they could not understand how we are part of the natural world about us, then they are the ones who have their eyes closed, not us."
Page 156, Mr. J.L.B. is amazed to hear that his foster daughter, Motholeli never had her photograph taken. He reflects that she had nothing to look back at and say "That is me" and that nobody had wanted to take her picture; she was not special enough.
Page 198, Mr. J.L.B. and Motholeli are fixing a car. She says "The van is happier now." He realizes that she has "it", the thing that makes one a mechanic, for she understand the car and engine in terms of happiness/feelings.
Page 225, Mma Ramostwe is balancing the books and realizes there should be a column for happiness alongside expenses and receipts. "the figure in her accounts would be a very large one..."
Page 227 "We can all give something...a giraffe has nothing to give but tears."