MAJOR PETTIGREW’S LAST STAND by Helen Simonson

Major pettigrewMajor Pettigrew, a 68 year old retired military man, a widower of 6 years, lives in a small village in not too far from London.  His only child, a successful young man in his young thirties, lives in London.  They rarely see each other.

Major Pettigrew receives word that his only sibling, a brother, has died.  He goes to the local shop to pick up a few things, a shop run by the Pakistani widow, Mrs. Ali.  He has a dizzy spell, she rushes to support him, and thus ensues a careful, polite, and sweet friendship.

But this friendship carries a lot of problems.  Major Pettigrew is a member of the local country club where he plays golf with his friends.  And he begins to realize just how much bias there is in his community and in his set of friends and the people in the country club.

In addition, he has a rare and valuable shooting gun, one of a pair,left to him and his brother by his father, with the intention that when one brother died, the gun in his possession would go to the surviving brother.  But the deceased brother’s wife, whom Major Pettigrew never really cared for, has other plans, and wants to sell the pair because at this point in time they will fetch a rather large sum.   Major Pettigrew’s son is all in favor of this because he wants the money against his inheritance, too.

This is the gentle, lovely story of struggling against greed, against prejudice, and struggling for the things that bring joy to your heart.  It is about class differences, and race differences.   It is about possessions, nostalgia and Doing the Right Thing.   Doing the right thing always sounds easy, but in reality, it is often pretty darn difficult.

Great book.  Does make you aware of the biases we call carry around with us, much as we wish to ignore them.

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4 comments on “MAJOR PETTIGREW’S LAST STAND by Helen Simonson

  1. Deb Atwood says:

    I’m so glad you liked this one! I love the spots of humor–much of it gently mocking–that the author interjects to lighten the message from time to time.

  2. Mary Smith says:

    It sounds really good.

  3. Marti says:

    I usually like British authors. Something about that more formal style that sizzles my enchiladas.

  4. […] of the British Pettigrews, sure do get around.  It wasn’t so long ago that I read about a Major Pettigrew, and now Miss Pettigrew pops up, having been born in a 1938 novel.  and wouldn’t you know […]

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