Friday, April 29, 2011

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand

by Helen Simonson

This book started off a bit slow. About 50-75 pages in, I wasn't sure if I wanted to continue. I just wasn't feeling anything for the old guy who wanted to reunite his father's guns after his brother's death. Boring, I thought. But I soldiered on, and am I glad I did!

The story gained momentum and became more interesting as plans for the golf club's dance progressed. The reader could really see how biased the people of the village really were, and this made the characters more interesting to read about. Major P went from a crotchety old man to a true gentleman who sticks to politeness and friendliness instead of reverting to prejudice and selfishness like many of the other characters, including his own son.

The tale branched out and became less about the guns and more about what's right and wrong. In fact, the guns are forgotten about toward the end when things are really getting exciting. Just because Mrs. Ali is from Pakistani and a shopkeeper, that does not mean Major P cannot have her as a friend, much less anything more. The other characters' feelings about this became more and more clear as the story continued. So it became more about Major P's and Mrs. Ali's happiness and less about what other people thought.

I loved the visual images of the book. Ms Simonson definitely has a way with words and is excellent at creating a scene for the reader. Her writing style fit in perfectly with Major P and his world and his way of thinking. I loved the clever humor and sarcasm as well as the profound thoughts and realizations.

In the end, it turned out to be a great novel. And I may pick it up again in the future and possibly pick up on more details and more witty humor that I may have missed this time around. This seems like one of those books that may get better the more you read it.

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