I guess I just don't have an appreciation for this book like most people do. I wanted to like it; I actually did like some parts of it. But I also found it a hard read, like slogging through quicksand.
Major Pettigrew is living a quiet life of a widower in
town. His son lives in a bigger city, making a name for himself as a
banker. And his brother, well he has just died and so the Major finds
himself very distraught when the nice shopkeeper, Mrs. Ali, a widow
herself, comes to the door to collect the newspaper money. Mrs. Ali
sets to help him and this starts the beginning of a friendship that is
only marred because Mrs. Ali is of Pakistani descent and therefore not
an "approved" companion for the Major in the eyes of most of society.
Throughout this growing relationship, there is a dance to plan, guns to
sell, and other rocky relationships that make things interesting.
Major is an ok character. But while I found him proper I also found
him a little selfish. Not intentionally of course, and not as bad as
his son, but he still was very concerned with appearances rather than
with other people's emotions. He improves somewhat, but it left a bad
taste in my mouth. His son, like I said, is worse. I couldn't stand
Roger. Wanted to give him a good kick in a sensitive place. Actually,
the only character I really did like was Mrs. Ali. She was a sensitive
person and put others first. Just very nice and understanding when
there was a lot of prejudice around her.
I liked the actual
storyline of the book. The mature relationships aren't something I read
about very often and I thought it was very sweet. The way Simonson
brought the two together and developed their relationship was adroitly
done. I did not however like all the stereotypes in the book. It would
seem that Simonson hasn't had good experience with Americans and they
were portrayed as very brash and self-centered. The one gets a little
better, but even so, it was kind of insulting since we're not all the
same. I also thought the other plots about the guns, etc. distracted
from the love story. I found myself wishing they'd be over as they kind
of made the book a bit boring. The romance part though was wonderful
and really the best part of this book.
I think it's a nice book
but not as outstanding as I was expecting it to be. Fans of British
literature and "drama" may enjoy it quite a bit better than I did.
Major Pettigrew's Last Stand