Book Review: Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson
August 25, 2011 35 Comments
So many people have read and recommended this book! When I saw it in the library recently, I just couldn’t let it be: it was time to finally read it.
And I enjoyed it immensely. It’s not often when you hear good stories about books, that your expectations are met. In this case: yes. It’s a really good read.
Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand: What it is about
Major Pettigrew is a widower, retired from the army and still very correct and precise in his manners. He takes really good care of himself and of his property, like his hunting rifle, which he got from his father. His brother has the identical second rifle, a set that was to be brought together again when one of the brothers died.
But then his brother dies, and his widow isn’t just going to hand him the antique priceless rifle. This is a major point of anguish for Major Pettigrew as there is nothing in his brother’s testament about it.
His son has little time for him, busy as he is making money in London. Major Pettigrew is looked upon as a relic from the old days. But Mrs. Ali, a widow from the corner shop, is always friendly to him and appreciates his good manners.
Major Pettigrew feels more and more attracted to Mrs. Ali. But with her muslim background, and her family in charge of her life, will they be able to become more than friends?
Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand: What I thought
This was a wonderful book that reminded me a bit of Mr. Rosenblum’s List by Natasha Solomons, although I liked Major Pettigrew more (both the book and the character).
I loved it how Major Pettigrew believes that any mishap can be solved by behaving in his old-fashioned English polite and correct manner. He’s not aware of the modern ways of interacting with people, or if he is, he ignores it.
I felt sorry for Mrs. Ali, who was a strong woman having lead her corner shop for a long time on her own, then being pushed aside by her up and coming nephew, who as a man, has a certain authority over her and her shop. She is a well-read woman and enjoys literary discussions with Major Pettigrew.
There are many occasions when people’s bad manners, ignorance and flippant speech lead to curled-toe reading. But the story is predominantly an uplifting one, that touches on uneasy subjects every now and then.
I read the book with a smile on my face!
Rating: 5/5 stars
I got this book: from the library
I read this in: Dutch (De majoor en mevrouw Ali), the original language is English
Number of pages: 384
First published: 2010
Genre: contemporary fiction