Book Reviews: Major Pettigrew's Last Stand

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand
by Helen Simonson

Major Pettigrew is an elderly British widower. When his brother dies his path unexpectedly crosses with the widowed local grocer, Jasmina Ali. He finds himself falling for her despite the social class system which frowns upon their interaction.

Mrs. Ali was the kind of person who I would love to sit and chat with over a cup of coffee. She was kind, thoughtful, clever and a lover of books.

I was fascinated by Pettigrew's relationship with his self-absorbed son Roger. The Major seems shocked by his son's frequent selfish and rude behavior, yet Roger is very much a product of his upbringing. I think Roger represents everything the Major dislikes about his own personality.

The story is really about well-mannered people's underlying prejudices. They will go to great lengths to say things in a politically correct way, but their actions and comments reek of bigotry.

I loved the irony in the fact that Mrs. Ali is treated like a foreigner, even though she has never left the UK, while Major Pettigrew is the one who was actually born in India.

All-in-all the book was a slow, but sweet read. I loved the dry sense of humor and stiff social interactions.

"Passion is all very well, but it wouldn't do to spill the tea."


Jeanne said...

This sounds like it will be made into a movie soon, if it hasn't already!

Alex (The Sleepless Reader) said...

I've been hearing a lot about this one lately. All good stuff (love the cover and title). isn't there a sequel?

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

I haven't heard anything about a sequel or a movie, but both would be interesting.