Author: Helen Simonson Edition: Paperback, 384 pages ISBN: 0812981227 Source: Husband bought on recommendation from Barnes & Noble employee
Summary from Amazon.com Review: In her witty and wise debut novel, newcomer Helen Simonson introduces the unforgettable character of the widower Major Ernest Pettigrew. The Major epitomizes the Englishman with the "stiff upper lip," who clings to traditional values and has tried (in vain) to pass these along to his yuppie son, Roger. The story centers around Pettigrew's fight to keep his greedy relatives (including his son) from selling a valuable family heirloom--a pair of hunting rifles that symbolizes much of what he stands for, or at least what he thinks he does. The embattled hero discovers an unexpected ally and source of consolation in his neighbor, the Pakistani shopkeeper Jasmina Ali. On the surface, Pettigrew and Ali's backgrounds and life experiences couldn't be more different, but they discover that they have the most important things in common. This wry, yet optimistic comedy of manners with a romantic twist will appeal to grown-up readers of both sexes. Kudos to Helen Simonson, who distinguishes herself with Major Pettigrew's Last Stand as a writer with the narrative range, stylistic chops, and poise of a veteran. --Lauren Nemroff My take on it: I loved this book. No really, loved it! And I don't often love the books I read. This book had great characters, both to love and to want to give a good shake. The struggles the characters faced for both generational and cultural differences were believable, as were their reactions to those challenges. It was so fun to ride along with the esteemed Major Pettigrew as his previously predictable life was thrown out the window.
The story was surprising at the right times and had good closure with just enough imperfections. Don't you hate those books that either end abruptly for no reason or wrap everything up so nicely you know it couldn't ever be real.
This book goes on my list to read again in the future and the author is definitely one for me to watch for her next novel.
If you read this or have read it before, let me know what you think!