Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Major Pettigrew's Last Stand: Book Review
Major Pettigrew's Last Stand
By Helen Simonson
Major Pettigrew's Last Stand, Meet Major Pettigrew, 68 year old British gentleman. He was born during the colonial era, in India. He lives in Britain at Edgecombe St. Mary, in Rose Cottage. He is a staunch, uptight, obligated to his family, and opinionated gentleman, and clings to the old staunchly ways of the British.
At first he seems to be a proper gentleman. Think of PBS Masterpiece Theatre. You do, get the picture. Then as the story develops, you see the Major's character peel away like a onion. As you get deeper, layer by layer.
There is also Roger, Major Pettigrew's adult son. A selfish, a young gent. He has a American girlfriend.
Then you meet Mrs. Ali. A Pakistani woman, born in England. She owns a tea shop. A bit younger than Mr. Pettigrew. Their friendship savours over time. Also, in her shop is her nephew. Very traditional and observant in his traditions. This causes friction with them, and also Major Pettigrew, and Mrs. Ali's relationship as it grows.
In the meantime, you meet the villagers. They treat Mrs. Ali, as a outsider, but she is British born. But in reality who is the outsider? I think we are all at times we feel like outsiders. I think that is the point of the story.
At times, probably because I am a American, I did feel offended by what the character's thought of Roger's girlfriends behavior. I can't believe the author lives in the United States now.
The novel, was in the beginning starts with the death of his brother Bertie. After the funeral Major Pettigrew has a meeting with the lawyer to talk about the situation of Bertie, and Major Pettigrew's guns. He's father before his death told Major Pettigrew his wishes. He does not want the guns separated. If one brother dies, he wanted to keep the guns in the family.
My Thoughts: I read this for my book club. I usually don't pick up a story that is character driven. I enjoyed reading the novel. I cared about what happened to all the characters. You must savour this with a cup of hot tea and a scone. The story just peels away, like the characters like a onion. I loved how the author did this. There was a comedy of manners written in to the story that made it a nice read.
At first I did not care for Major Pettigrew, but he grew on you by the end of the story you started to care for and root for this gentleman to win over Mrs. Ali. You will have to find out that part by reading it yourself. The characters grow on you. I am still thinking about this after the story ended.
The story had romance, class status, gossip, culture differences, and a character study. I recommend this book, but you can't read this as a fast read, but savour it, s-l-o-w-l-y.
I loved how the author described Rose Cottage, and was very descriptive in explaining the house and the garden. Mrs. Simonson, gave me a "take me away Colgon moment". ( sorry if you don't know what Calgon is)
Major Pettigrew's Last Stand was purchased by me.
If you read Major Pettigrew I would love to hear what you thought of it.