23 Oct 2015

MAJOR PETTIGREW'S LAST STAND.


Major Pettigrew's Last StandMAJOR PETTIGREW'S LAST STAND by HELEN SIMONSON.

BACK COVER BLURB: Major Ernest Pettigrew is perfectly content to lead a quiet life in the sleepy village of Edgecombe St Mary, away from the meddling neighbours and his overbearing son. But when his brother dies, the Major finds his companionship deepening with the village shopkeeper, Mrs Ali. Drawn together by a love of books and the loss of their partners, they are soon forced to contend with irate relatives and gossiping villagers. The perfect gentleman, but the most unlikely hero, the Major must ask himself what matters most: family obligation, tradition or love?


FIRST SENTENCE {Chapter One}:Major Pettigrew was still upset about the phone call from his brother's wife and so he answered the doorbell without thinking.

MEMORABLE MOMENT {Page 358}: 'Where are you going? I thought you were dancing it up at a wedding.'

'Got to try and find the groom first,' said the major. 'Abdul Wahid may be trying to walk off a cliff.' As he hurried down the path, Roger's voice came faintly behind him.

'Pretty extreme way to call things off. Why doesn't he just send her a text message?'

- Contains a slight spoiler, please scroll over to hi-light text should you wish to view text.

SOURCE: A Reader's Group Read.

MY THOUGHTS: Hmm, what started out as a really good read but, sadly, by about a third of the way through fell a bit flat. The ending rushed and a bit, well, lame.

From Major Pettigrew, a terribly correct ex-military man, through to Mrs Ali, the local shop keeper, who, and I quote, 'is quintessentially Indian, or at least quintessentially Pakistani' despite being from Cambridge where born in 'the municipal hospital, ward three' she has 'never been further abroad than the Isle of Wight' via Major Pettigrew's horribly obnoxious son, Roger, and his equally horribly vulgar American girlfriend there are some interesting characters.

Interesting? Err, yes. BUT, a 'terribly correct, ex military man', a woman of Indian/Pakistani descent who happens to work in the local corner shop, and a 'vulgar American', there is also something horrendously stereotypical about many of them. Something which I can only compare to like watching an out-dated comedy of the 80's.

Essentially a sweet love story come (to a lesser extent) family saga. Gentle though arguably a tad twee. At times very humorous albeit arguably in an out-dated, 'British' sort of way. On the whole I found this a nice, light read, the creeping in of 'casual racism' as depicted by many of the characters something I felt the book could well do without if it were to maintain, warring families aside, what I felt was otherwise a quietly gentile read of a sixty something man's persual of a widow some ten years his junior.

A debut novel, I'd be interested to see what this authors future works might include.



10 comments:

Kelly said...

As I read the blurb, I was wavering on whether I thought this would be good or not. However, given your thoughts on it overall, I think I'll pass. Too many other good things on my list.

I hope your book group reads pick up soon. Perhaps you can suggest one.

Gingi Freeman said...

I like your reviews, I usually struggle to sum up my thoughts on a book.. I'm actually reading a book for review right now and I am trying to form my review as I go.. and I'm coming up blank! Anyhoo.. I like your style! <3 - www.domesticgeekgirl.com

Sherry Ellis said...

That's too bad it didn't end on a strong note. It sounds like the author was in a hurry to finish it.

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

Don't think this one is for me. I am an ending girl and since this one fell apart toward the end is not good for me. I also hate casual racism so I do think I'll pass. Brilly review though!

Mary (Bookfan) said...

Oh, I liked this novel. Sorry it didn't work for you.

Natasha Hill said...

This sounds really interesting, but it's a shame to hear it fell away towards the end of the story - I'll have to find it and read it for myself and funnily enough, usually I end up killing most of the plants I've had before so the peace lily is doing very well! - Tasha

Lily B said...

a debut novel thats a bit outdated in a sense? thats, quite unusual.

Brian Joseph said...

The Cliched characters would be a problem for me. I have a thing about lack of originality.


I laughed it your reference to 1980s films. I suppose it was such an era when fictional depictions of people were so stereotypical.

Gina R said...

Hmm...it does sound like a bare bones of it were good just a few of the fleshed additions mucked it up. Cie la vie..enjoyed your review just the same.

Literary Feline said...

I read this one a few years ago and can't say I remember it much. I think I liked it, but that's about all I can tell you. Says a lot though doesn't it? Not very memorable.