Friday, January 6, 2012

Literary Friday: Major Pettigrew's Last Stand

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On the plane ride home, I read Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson.  It is a clever comedy of manners novel, and I enjoyed it very much.  I hate flying, so it made the flight (and layover) much more tolerable.

Major Ernest Pettigrew (retired) is the main character of the novel.  He lives in the small English village of Edgecombe St. Mary in Sussex.  He is a widower, and very honorable and chivalrous: He is the epitome of an English gentleman.  He befriends Jasmina Ali,  a widowed Pakistani shop owner. They become better acquainted as Jasmina gives Major Pettigrew a ride to his brother's funeral.  While in her car, Major Pettigrew discovers Mrs. Ali's love for literature, and they soon find that they have much more in common other than their marital status. The two decide to meet at a later date to discuss Kipling.  The major is thrilled-- he is developing quite a crush on her!

The backdrop for most of the comedic scenes is the planning and execution of a hideously-themed country club dance.  The major and Mrs. Ali are asked to help with the preparations, and he declares  Jasmina as his date in order to spare her feelings after a social-climbing doctor's wife attempts to embarrass her.  Things take an even worse turn at the dance, and it becomes clear what the village thinks of Major Pettigrew and his relationship with Mrs. Ali.  Complicating things further are Mrs. Ali's obligations to her extended family and Major Pettigrew's selfish and insipid son, Roger.  Religion, tradition, values, culture, and society all conspire to impede Major Pettigrew's relationship with Mrs. Ali.

I love both Major Pettigrew and Mrs. Ali.  They are smart, witty, kind, courageous, and honorable.   Major Pettigrew proves his heroism by preventing a tragedy, and Mrs. Ali proves her worthiness for his love in several instances in the book.  I admit that I laughed out loud a couple of times while reading Major Pettigrew's Last Stand, and I could not stop myself even on the airplane.

Until next time...

Happy reading!
Ricki Jill   

6 comments:

  1. what a lovely sounding story
    I also hate to fly but I get motion sick trying to read. The only thing that keeps me occupied is word search, I don't know why it doesn't cause the motion sickness, strange.
    Thanks for sharing this
    Amy

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  2. This sounds so good! I'm ready for a fun book to read! I hope you feel better soon, my friend! ♥♥♥

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  3. I've been wanting to read this book for awhile--just need to whittle down my backlog of books a bit first. Have I missed your list of what your book club is reading in 2012? I always like to see what's on the list. Glad you are feeling better.
    Carole (Stapes)

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  4. Hi Ricky Jill,
    I look forward to many more visits to your wonderful blog. I have subscribed to your blog and look forward to each visit.
    Hugs,
    Maryjane

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  5. Sounds like a story I would enjoy. I'll add this to my books to read at Pinterest. Thanks.

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  6. That's on my to-read list. I've heard such good things about it. Looking forward to reading it.
    Hope you are feeling better.

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